As I drove out of my street yesterday I passed our mailboxes and nearly drove off the road when I spotted this:
Her mysterious arrival cracked me up. I was out all day but when I drove home at dusk, there she was to greet me. She had survived a couple of torrential downpours and looked fine.
Two of my neighbors were sitting on their porches and a quick survey revealed that while everyone has noticed her, no one would take responsibility for putting her there.
I love it.
We're all wondering how long she will last, as we have heavy bicycle, scooter, dog-walking, running, and leisure strolling that goes past this mailbox every day.
Some mysteries are just fun, and don't need to be solved.
Ayup. Did the mandala (from which this photo was created) three years ago today. This particular photo was created by manipulating the original mandala in one of my iPhone apps. [The app has changed over the last 3 years and now isn't anywhere near as much fun. Phooey.]
I always did love this one.
Three long-distance friends are in town from today thru mid-week next week, so I'm not sure how much tangle time I will have. Thus I'm just posting an oldie for today and we'll see what the next several days bring.
Last night around midnight we had a ferocious thunder-and-lightning storm with heavy rains. So much for peaceful sleep...yawning...
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I bought three t-shirts, each with a different design I absolutely adored. Each one was like a mandala to me.
[Ok, so it was actually only 2 1/2 hours' drive from here and only about 20 years ago. But I do love these t-shirts.]
Slowly but surely they are all starting to wear out. I got the idea to use the designs for a series of 3 punchneedle embroidery pieces (see the other two designs below), and have just completed the last of the trio. The designer, Rob McLellan, gave his t-shirt designs titles, and the title of this one is "Elksong." Many thanks to the folks at University Silkscreen for giving me permission to interpret these designs in my needlework. I'm really happy to finally be able to share what I've been working on all summer.
Below are the two previous works in my series, Midnight Pony and Redwing Blackbird. Rob McClellan was an artist who lived in Ohio in the late 20th century. He died in a car accident around 2005. A fascinating man, he was adopted by the Cheyenne Tribe and much of his art reflects that.
We've had some stellar weather for the past two days, now about to come to an end as the humidity moves back in tonight and for the rest of the week. Summer is about to put in another appearance...and yet, I can also strongly feel that the wheel of the year is turning. Some type of shift is underway, and it's dramatically affected me.
I'm thinking about Lammas, the old holiday celebrated around this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere) to salute the grain harvest. Even though summer is still here, the beginning of the harvest means that a change has occurred and we are now moving towards autumn. I could feel that shift this morning as an internal presence, and all day I've been restless.
The countryside here is full of outrageously tall corn; the crop is up so high that, driving by, I'm already thinking about the increasingly common "corn mazes" that allow Hallow's Eve revelers to scare the daylights out of themselves in late September and October, once the harvest has passed. Our roadside farm stands are bulging with corn, squash, and other bounty. Days are growing irrevocably shorter.
Lammas is all about change. For many of us--the lucky ones who have "enough" in our lives--it is a time of gratitude for the harvest. Yet it brings an unsettling sensation as well.
Change is the one constant in life. Some of us handle it better than others.
Nature’s first green is gold,
My friend Susie from Thailand and I were discussing images of Buddha and agreeing that one doesn't have to be religious or have any belief in Buddhism to enjoy the wonderful art inspired by his history. The art on its own is peaceful. She commented on this after seeing the white-clay Buddha in my previous post (July 20th).
I drew the picture above several years ago, probably around the time I bought that small white ceramic tile. It represents the "old" in the title of this post.
It's true--just looking at images of Buddha always makes me feel calmer, and I remember feeling that way when I drew this. As a long-time meditation practitioner, I'm interested in Buddhism for its psychological value--it is a truly wonderful way to challenge our own thoughts, and to learn kindness. I'm happy the West has finally discovered the wisdom of Buddhist thought, and at the same time, I never think of Buddhism as a religion and do not believe that the Buddha ever intended it would become a "religion" with all the attendant dogma.
Far from it.
After digging out that drawing today, I thought I'd spend some time tangling, trying out a tangle called Zonked, by Barbara Finwall. Susie had just done her version of Zonked (see the 3rd tile down in her post) which I loved, and she inspired me. While testing it out, I added Hanny Waldburger's tangle Namaste, in honor of of Buddha. This represents the "new" in today's post title. Here is the result.
If you are also a fan of Buddha-heads, you may want to check out Virginia Peck's lovely art here.
And now, it's time for me to go meditate.
...during which, I promptly fell completely asleep. Which suggested to me I needed to wake up and keep tangling. First I finished the meditation, then I did this. While not my greatest result, I like it on several levels.
I admit I am somewhat mixing my religions and cultures here. Hanuman is the Hindu monkey-god known for his strength and devotion (and much loved by Ram Dass, the longtime meditation teacher, author, and speaker). Hanuman is normally depicted with a human body, but I hope we can cut him a little slack here. And then of course, there's Buddha. Actually, Hanuman is also found in some Buddhist teachings as well, but not as commonly as in Hinduism.
I put Buddha in Hanuman's lap because I thought this "alternative version of Hanuman" might need a dose of equanimity before he got crammed into a box and mailed off to a friend as a gift to her 8 month old son. So, Hindu and Buddhist figures are playing together in this photo.
[NOTE: Hanuman is now on his way to his next adventure - he's in the mail - and I've no doubt he is fully up to it.]
This is another wonderful toy made by my next-door neighbor. She has a large assortment of hand-knitted toys--penguins, ducks, dogs, kitties, dinosaurs, you name it. All beautifully made. And then there is all her other lovely knitting, but since I don't have pictures, I won't go into that. But you can imagine how kids react to these toys! It's pandemonium when she sells them at fairs. She is so clever.
Tangling away during thunder and lightning storms today, and feeling lucky to be safe indoors. Our hideously muggy weather is being altered, one storm at a time. I'll be delighted to see it replaced by drier air.
This one really surprised me. I think I threw in everything but the kitchen sink, but it seemed to work.
I finally finished my "Red & Black" rug today. This piece feels as though it's been underway for years.
It's not a big rug, either; it's probably about 2'x3' at most.
After I finished the binding and then the final steaming, I laid it down on my tile floor to dry and went into my journal to search for the starting date of this rug. I couldn't find it, but it has to be either 2016 or 2017, early in the year*.
So in actuality, I don't know how long it did take me. But certainly over a year. Things got incredibly complicated when I bought the house, packed up after 40 years in one place, moved, started unpacking, and broke my wrist.
There were a lot of lessons in this rug, and good memories too.
I thought when I designed it (yes, it's my design) that I could use up all of my red and black wool. Well, that didn't work out! The wool apparently multiplied itself secretly overnight and I am left with what looks like the same amount of red and black wool as I finish the rug as I had when I began. So one lesson is that wool you want to use up never fully goes away, while wool you are worried about not having enough of will ALWAYS run out in a crucial spot. Guaranteed.
I thought hooking in straight lines would be a cinch. Surprise! Not so easy for me. I learned I am not good at hooking in straight lines at all. But...I kept on truckin'.
I started it while living in one place, and finished it in another. I miss my Woolies so much...and at the same time am forging new friendships out here. I feel fortunate to be making some new friends. (But still wish my other peeps weren't so far away...)
I had to put it down and pick it up about a zillion times, with long delays in between due to packing, moving, unpacking, and my damaged wrist and hand. There was a major lesson in patience and persistence to get it done.
But I got it done. That's the biggest lesson.
"Nevertheless, she persisted."
*Addendum: Checking my photos of this rug, I see that I started it in January of 2016, so over two years from start to finish. Yikes. (I may have put it aside to complete at least one other rug in the meantime, however.)
I'm not blue, I just worked a bit with blue today. Two tangles totally new to me.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class will be for a private group in October. That class is full.
I'll be teaching another beginning class at the Greenfield Community Center in the spring of 2019, date to be determined. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.)
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society