Jan 31, 2012
Jan 26, 2012
It’s very, very Winter for me.
Not in the temperatures or the winter weather department, for it’s mild so far this year (and somewhat creepily so.) But in my body and spirit, it’s definitely Winter. If Winter means:
My looms are as bare as the branches.
I’m okay with this, although it’s taken me some time to be okay and not feel guilty. I planned this season for retreat and restoration. I decline outside commitments. But I forgot to decline inside commitments.
Last week I realized I had saddled myself with a huge number of goals and deadlines, and creative plans.
I let them go.
In the spirit of retreat, rest, restoration, in the spirit of Intention (my word this year), I let them go.
And I breathed a breath that came easily and felt a great pressure fall away from my spirit.
I've also realized I may well be suffering from the lack of Light--one of those d'oh, slap-your-forehead realizations. In years past I have spent my winter mornings at the computer bathed in the glow of a Verilux "happy light."
I don't know why it didn't occur to me this year, except that I've been working mostly from my Big Chair in the living room (which gets little natural light until late in the day) and the room I used to write in where the lamp sits was beginning to look like a hoarder's lair.
So I waded in and
I will end this post with a Winter Tip.
Carry a spoon around in your pocket or keep one handy. You can use it to discharge the build-up without having that awful anticipatory dance of fingers against things you know will give you a jolt, those moments of steeling yourself for the zap. Because there is NO zap to your tender skin when discharging the build-up through the spoon.
As I'm writing this, I'm thinking you're thinking, why does it have to be a spoon? And I don't think it does. But the spoon works for me and I love it, so I'm sticking with it.
I suspect I'm going to name it soon.
Jan 22, 2012
Occupy Terre Haute - Tiny Tent Event
It was a pleasure to host a Tiny Tent making event for Occupy Terre Haute at First UU Congregation.
This is probably my favorite picture from the day, with the industrious hands of people who are speaking truth to power.
Everyone left with a bunch of tents, hopefully to start placing them in nooks and crannies where they will surprise and cause folks to pause for a moment to think about the issues of economic justice, corporate domination and democracy.
We had a template for tents, but the night before, I saw some tiny tents online that were simply rectangles of colored card folded in half. So I brought some index cards along with the templates. Someone went one better and folded and taped a floor, which makes the tent tinier and sturdier. This is now my favorite way of making Tiny Tents.
I have a box of the tents in my car, but I haven't been anywhere yet to place them. When I do, I'll document and send in pictures to the Tiny Tent Task Force.
Terre Haute's a small city and OTH is a small group with no encampment, but they have been dedicated in creating a standing occupation several times a week. Rain, shine, snow, freezing temps - they are on the street representing the 99%.
I admire the dedication greatly. That is more than I can do right now, but I give my support in ways that I can, like this event.
Peace & justice!
Jan 17, 2012
Jan 16, 2012
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr today.
One of my favorite MLK quotes, one which has served me well in my small efforts for social justice over the years:
"...we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured..."
---from the Letter from Birmingham Jail
Sweet Honey in the Rock - Ella's Song
"We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes..."
Anne Feeney - Have You Been to Jail for Justice?
"Have you sung a song of freedom
or marched that picket line?
If you've been to jail for justice
oh, you're a friend of mine..."
peace, love & solidarity...
Jan 14, 2012
Saori Worcester Puppets Project
|Yasmin and Jasmin|
Nat and Mihoko at Saori Worcester are so inspiring!
Their most recent project , Puppets of Glory, involved 4th-graders weaving, storytelling, puppetry and performance.
Worcester is a fortunate community.
For this project, elementary school students wove the fabric and, as they wove, imagined their puppet characters and their stories. Mihoko was charged with the task of sewing the puppets and imbuing each “…with the spirit intended by its young creator.”
Nat's task was to weave ".....all the wildly varying hopes, fears, fantasies, and insatiable desires of these puppets into a single narrative." I'm certain he did so with great skill & respect for the children's imagined storylines.
More pictures here.
Nat’s essay about the Puppets of Glory project.
Labels: saori weaving
Jan 13, 2012
my life notes this week
I think I'm going to start a weekly writing here that's more personal, to write about events in my life and some of the things I generally put in my other blog. It has been feeling like time to let that blog go. Still, I want to share the kinds of the things I shared there and perhaps I can find a way to do so here without taking from the integrity of this blog's purpose of sharing art and my creative journey.
A difficult week.
On Tuesday my brother-in-law passed away. It was sudden and mostly a shock, though he was having some health issues. And, as always, everyone is reminded how life can dramatically and irreversibly change in an instant.
We have to live with that in mind...and yet we must put it from our minds to live. Or we'll all be sitting around saying, what's the use...?
Death can make everything seem irrelevant.
Or it can make each moment exquisitely precious.
I'll go with the latter!
On Sunday night, our Lily slipped from her collar on a late-night walk and fled. It's a long story and we were out driving slowly through the neighborhood until 4 a.m., squeaking one of her toys at every alley beginning. Little did we know that about half an hour after her escape, someone had picked her up and taken her to the Humane Society, which is where we had adopted her.
Luckily, they microchip all their dogs and they were able to connect the collarless Lily with us. We got the call at 8 a.m., but were out posting flyers and looking and talking to people, so didn't get the message until about 9.
It was a terrible, terrible time - and for some reason evoked old trauma for me. So it has taken me some days to recover my equilibrium.
I'm working on:
my hopes for the year and the way I want to be in it.
I'm looking forward to:
tonight's small writing group get-together.
the opening of registration for the IU Writer's Conference (this year's step in dealing with travel phobia.)
participating in Pixie Campbell's Winter SouLodge.
the Tiny Tent -making event for Occupy Terre Haute tomorrow.
Jan 11, 2012
Improvisational Knitting - Scarf No. 2
I’ve started another Improv Scarf.
Yarn: Araucania Liwen
Colorway: #5 & #9
Needle size: 13
CO: 27 stitches
I am really mixing it up in this one:
short rows (varying increments, sometimes I do whole wedges, sometimes just a random short row)
random drops of yarnovers
garter, stockinette, reverse stockinette
It's liberating to give myself permission to knit or purl or yarnover or drop or short row or change colors randomly. My only constraint on this one is keeping with 27 stitches (on most rows) and maintaining a (more or less) scarfish shape.
Jan 10, 2012
I love Hundertwasser.
His paintings and architecture make me happy, sometimes fill me with a kind of wild joy.
I wish there were more buildings created based on his aesthetic.
But as a I watched this video, I wondered if I could live in Hundertwasser World.
(leaving the music out of the wondering, it's fine for 4 minutes, and rather suits the images, but not as life accompaniment!)
Imagine what that would be like, Hundertwasser World.
Who would we be if we lived in a world like this?
How would we behave?
How would we treat each other?
How would we treat Earth?
Would we behave as humans have always behaved if we lived in buildings that were "...a joyful mess of stacked color and shape..", buildings that "....laugh out loud"?*
Or would we change, surrounded by such saturated color and undulation of line?
If Hundertwasser was the everyday all-the-time, what would our art look like?
Our cookies and cakes? What games would we play? What music would we make?
All I can say right now is that I feel a little bit happier imagining the answers to these questions.
Imagining brushing my teeth with a Hundertwasser toothbrush in a Hundertwasser bathroom....
*Pam Mandel, 70s Pothead Aesthestics, Meet Austrian Art
Jan 8, 2012
Spinning-Rock Day/St. Distaff Day
I did indeed spin yesterday.
Thought it would be most appropriate to spin with my spindle instead of the wheel. (Poor neglected wheel, I'll get back to you yet!)
As I spun, I thought about how I first started to spin, a story I may have told here before, but very long ago.
I started to spin as a homeschooling activity. I liked all those books that showed children the origins of things. We had books like From Flower to Honey, Pelle's New Suit, Anna's Coat.
I also liked experiential, hands-on learning experiences. (For "egg to butterfly" we opened The Butterfly Birthing Center, with a cardboard box and egg & caterpillar-laden dill from a friend's garden. There's a story here that mentions this but is more about my mother's experience of our homeschooling journey)
So, I ordered a spinning kit from a woman named Lucy in Wisconsin. What arrived was some combed top, small batts and two unusual Turkish spindles. At the time, I didn't know they were Turkish spindles or unusual.
There was also a 2-page handwritten letter, with spinning instructions and a most generous spirit of encouragement. I just looked for that letter but alas couldn't find it. (I know it's tucked in my copy of Lee Raven's Hands On Spinning.)
My kids were politely interested in the process, but I was besotted with it. I ordered lots of plant-dyed roving from Textile Reproductions and spun and spun and spun the last year I lived in Miami.
It's a good memory.
Here's one of the spindles:
I have other spindles, including the Ashford Turkish spindle, but I don't enjoy spinning on any of them as much as I enjoy spinning on these. I'm not sure if it's because I learned on these and spun only on these for years and years, or if it's because these are indeed The Most Wonderful Spindles in the World.
They aren't particularly pretty as spindles go, but they are beautiful.
So I spun, thinking of how much I love these spindles, glad I have two of them, thinking about Lucy from Wisconsin and how grateful I am to her. Her handwritten letter, these two homemade spindles...created a very human connection. Not long after I received the spinning kit, she sent me a surprise - a package with another batt and some raw wool.
That's when I discovered just how far back in the process of sheep to yarn I wanted to go, and it wasn't as far back as the raw fleece!
Spinning on Rock Day was a nice way to 'get back to work' after the holidays.
Jan 6, 2012
Back in September, I cleaned up and organized my spinning area (this is in my living room) which looked like this:
and then looked like this:
But I haven’t made the time to sit and spin ever since. I’m not sure why - perhaps it’s because I am no longer happy with just spinning to spin. I think I want to think a bit more about spinning to have yarn to use, though I doubt I’ll ever be a project spinner.
I admire the work of project spinners, the efficiency with which they go about planning a project, and spin to an exactitude which will never be mine, spin lots and lots of the same yarn, then spend another zillion hours with that yarn on the needles, or maybe quite a bit less than a zillion with that yarn on a loom.
I’m not sure if I could spend that much time and intimacy with the same yarn and then go around wearing it. In any case, I’ll never know because I won’t be doing A Project.
What I do want to do is have yarn for Saori weaving and, okay, a tiny Project. But I must get back my spinning mojo.
I can’t think of a better way to get my spinning mojo back than to get a little ceremonial and observe St. Distaff's Day, also called Rock Day. Go here for a nice historical explanation.
The short version is that Rock Day is the day after Epiphany & the Twelfth Night of Christmas and traditionally it's the day for spinners to get back to work. Nowadays, spinning & weaving guilds plan Rock Day spinning events to honor that tradition.
Our guild did not plan anything, but I hope we will next year. I totally forgot about this day until I read Jill's blog post about sewing her group's Saori banner, which included mention of St. Distaff's Day and also a very sweet story about her sewing machine.
My plans: spin on my drop spindle, maybe downtown at RiverWools. And also, to crack open Jacey Boggs' new book, Spin Art.
So, do spin tomorrow if you can and take a moment to think about a time when spinning was work that put clothes on your loved ones' backs or maybe some bread on the table.
Turn, turn, turn.
Jan 5, 2012
Winter = Retreat
This is my third year of calling Winter by another name: Retreat.
I realize it's a luxury to be able to do this, but I'm not going to feel guilty about it anymore.
I clear my calendar as much as I possibly can, and focus on inner work and artistic expression. I try to make no commitments, but if I do they have to be fun and serve me well.
This year I have a created an inner guardian to whom all requests for my time & energy must be presented. Her name is Mama Lion & she ferociously guards my time! I may assign her some other duties as well...
My word for 2012: INTENTION
My mantra: Transform, Align, Shine
Have you chosen your word for the year? See Ali Edwards' blog post One Little Word 2012.
Picture found here.
Labels: Wheel of the Year
Jan 2, 2012
Poetry Ahead: Liminal
I just shouldn't care. I should just share my poetry whenever I want, wherever I want and not care about that elusive, unlikely future of getting published. That's what I'm feeling like today. And, since I'm doing more writing than making visual art lately, if I don't post poems, I won't have much to post here. And now that perennial rant is done & I won't do it again. Ever.
Labels: Poetry Ahead
Jan 1, 2012
Rise and Root-A Gift from Rima Staines
Read her whole blog post here.
Rise & Root!