...This is the third post in the continuing saga of my remarkable week in Cornwall, VT at the Oxford Rug Hooking School last week, with fellow students Bob, Chris, Jude, Kathleen, Patty, and Phyllis. (That's Chris's mug on the right.) In the last post I featured some pieces that Jude, Bob, and Kathleen brought along for show-and-tell. I will pick up today with Chris and Phyllis.
But first, Chris posted these lovely photos on his Facebook page, and he was kind enough to give me permission to show them here. The first two show the sign for the school and the building:
And now let's resume the show-and-tell, starting with Phyllis:
In the next post, I will finish up with additional photos and a short description of the experience. There is just no way to do it justice. A good teacher is a powerful and precious thing--as are good companions on the way. We were very lucky.
The Oxford Teacher Certification Workshop lasted seven days this month, and was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
It was also one of the most challenging things I've ever done.
For the first three days I wasn't sure I would survive it.
We tucked 60 hours of learning into 6.5 days, working from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, and often later.
When I hit the bed after class ended each day, I would try to read, but was soon fast asleep. It wasn't until Wednesday that I knew I could actually keep up the pace. (And in fact, it was easier after Wednesday. I got used to it.)
Am I making it sound bad? Far from it! It was rigorous--even tough--but it was superbly presented--I and my fellow 6 students were having the time of our lives and learning so much.
Amy Oxford is one of the kindest, most generous, smart, and funny teachers I've ever been fortunate to have. You cannot imagine a more gracious and supportive person. At the same time, she knows exactly how to get the job done and how to keep students motivated and working hard. But somehow, the way she does it, you never feel driven. You just want to produce.
It's a form of magic, I swear.
Here are additional photos from the week--enjoy! There will be more.
(Click on photos to biggify and to see captions)
I will stop here for the day. But consider: this was only the show-and-tell. Much more show-and-tell and much more of the workshop to come.
Yes, I am now an Oxford graduate.
Oxford Rug Hooking School, that is.
I'm pretty chuffed about having made it through the extraordinary week along with my wonderful classmates Kathleen, Patty, Bob, Jude, Phyllis, and Chris. But the fact that we've graduated from the certification training doesn't mean that we are certified...yet. Oh no! We still have a load of homework to do, and all of it will be very good training.
I'll be posting a bit more over the next few days about the experience, which was intense. Vermont was at its most beautiful while we were there--perfect weather with long sunny days, no humidity, not too hot. Great for working hard. We did. Here are some shots of the environment:
Through my very dirty car windshield, here's the view of the road over one of the passes through the Green Mountains on the way to Cornwall, VT. I think Vermont put on one of her best shows this past week. What a gorgeous place.
View from bedroom window. The road is Route 30. That tree appeared to be reaching out to give us a hug all week.
A partial view of the side yard, taken from the kitchen. On the left you can see the patio table and chairs; on the middle-right you can see the picnic tables. There were three gardens to view and lovely landscapes of the mountains. We ate a lot of meals out here while watching rabbits and chipmunks galore. Oh, and the birds...
I'll be posting more about the event...however, since coming home I've been dealing with:
"It's always something."
Now things seem to be calming down, so no more excuses; time to get back to work.
To be continued...
Beginning a new creative venture can be messy. Very messy. The photo above is my preliminary collection of some of the materials needed for a teacher certification workshop I'll be taking soon at Amy O's Oxford Rug Hooking School. I'm going to try to capture some of what I experience there, and the first part of the experience is this getting-ready-part.
Definitely messy! And this is even before I pack a suitcase with all the regular things I'll need, like clothing and toiletries, for a week away.
Frames, bags of tools, bags of yarn and wools, plus Amy's book and a few rugs for show and tell...and there's more to come. Packing the car for this event will be epic. I am very excited and more than a bit daunted. But I know Amy and I know her thorough, funny, and patient teaching, so I know I'll come out the other side very happy and creatively raring to go. Did I mention how excited I am?
I expect the messy pile above to spread, as I continue gathering all that's required.
"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order."
--Carl Gustav Jung
Even just looking at that tile encourages me to take a deep breath and relax.
This next one is busier but was equally fun to create.
This morning I stumbled across an excellent post on meditation and people's misconceptions about it. It's quite short and is by Arnie Kozak, a guest blogger on the wonderful Susan Cain's site; you can read it here. He really touches on the most common assumption about meditation--that it's about "stopping the mind." It isn't.
But drawing frequently does stop my mind and pulls me into total absorption on the one line that I am drawing in this moment. Thus, meditation and drawing serve the same purpose in different ways for me.
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
This was the last tile I created on my peaceful day of tangling (see Part 1 for more info about that). I loved the way this came out. Once again I was in a room with over 100 people and deeply appreciated the total silence while we all focused on our tiles.
You may recognize elements of the photo above in the photo below. That's because I took the photo above and ran it through an iPhone app and created this mandala:
"Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life."
- Pema Chodron
And then I used another app and came up with this:
While I'm drawing or tangling, time seems totally irrelevant. In that moment, there is no time, just breath. Just focus. Just being.
This is the essence of meditation, surely.
“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.”
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:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in Western Massachusetts. 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
Skillful Meditation Project