We've all heard of Sylvia Plath, famous for her extraordinary poetry, fascinating life, and tragic suicide. But who knew she was also a visual artist? I certainly didn't.
Check out this fascinating article from one of my favorite websites called Brain Pickings. Plath was a visual artist as well as a phenomenal poet. I wish I could post some of those photographs here, but I haven't asked permission, so instead I will direct you to the site of the article where you can see them in all their glory.
Meanwhile, my damaged hand is continuing to respond to intense exercise. It hurts like hell most of the time but it's finally beginning to act like a hand again. (At least it isn't my dominant hand--and for that piece of luck, I am eternally grateful.)
I've been able to tangle a bit more. Here's a recent piece and how it evolved.
The first stage, lines in progress:
Next, here is the piece with the line work done, but without any shading:
And below is the finished piece on the actual journal page, after shading:
This was so much fun to draw, as it was simply line after line after line, each one drawn slowly and deliberately. A meditation in motion.
This weekend is the annual Franklin County Fair, a local tradition that's been going strong since 1843. (HERE is a great article from 2013 about the fair. Lots of photos.)
So off I went to the Fair, early this morning.
Easy to park. Tons of kids with parents, and everyone looking really happy.
I took photos:
Some rather wonderful quilts:
And of course, since it's an agricultural fair, there were plenty of fruit and vegetable exhibits:
It was somewhat ironic to see all the amazing winning fruit and vegetable displays, and then to walk outside and look at the food vendors and realize every item of food being offered to fair-goers was a heart-attack-on-a-plate item like fried dough, french fries, caramel apples, cotton candy, etc. But that too is traditional at county fairs. I passed on the food! I would have loved some of the apples from the photo above, but alas, it was a prize-winning display-only, and none were for sale.
I bought two lovely things:
This stuff felt just luscious on my hands, and was faintly scented in the most subtle way. I have a hunch I will want more, once the cold weather sets in. And a little did a lot.
I thought I would try this stuff for my poor sore damaged hand (from the broken wrist). When I bought it I was thinking, "What a sucker I am. Waste of good money. This will never make a difference." But ya know...I think it does. I am kind of amazed. Time will tell. It's formulated for arthritis. Note the name: "Hot & Flexy."
I was warned to be sure to wash my hands before touching my eyes after using it, because of the ingredients.
Next came ogling some of the many critters on display: the cows, bunnies, goats, butterflies, sheep, turtles, fish, donkeys and a few of these guys:
S/he (?) had just woken up and gotten up off the floor from a comfy night's sleep, hence the wood shavings all over the torso.
I could relate, given how disheveled I often look in the mornings. Ok, maybe I don't wake up covered in wood shavings but you get the idea.
I mentally congratulated all the winners and left, after first walking the midway with all its rides; that must be spectacular when it's lit up at night, and great fun.
Coming home, I made sure to finish doing my hand exercises. Recovering from this injury has been a much bigger challenge than I thought. But in the last 4 days I'm noticing some major improvements.
Two things that made me feel like a winner today: 1) I unpacked three boxes, something I haven't been able to do since I broke my wrist in June. I am beyond thrilled to see some of my favorite authors once more: David Grayson, May Sarton, Henry Beston and an assortment of others. Rumi and Kabir are at the far right. I feel surrounded by friends again, when I look at this shelf in my living room.
And 2), the final major accomplishment: three months after the wrist injury, I was able to hook my bra for the first time with both hands. (I'm putting this at the very end because I figure no one will read this far) For three months I've had to hook it using one hand only, placing it flat on the bed, and then wrestling it on over my head. Awful! A few days ago I tried putting it on normally--and couldn't. I just didn't have the hand flexibility still. I tried every day this week. And then today--SUCCESS!
And that's how I know that things really are improving.
Another insomniac night produced this in my Zentangle® Pre-Strung Journal that's near the bed. I was too lazy to get up and find my colored pencils so used only the Rainbow Lead Pencil. Many of the pre-drawn strings in this journal slide right off the page, as this one does. I love the way Zentangle regularly breaks all the rules.
I am currently reading Tara Brach's extraordinary book, Radical Acceptance, and have been thinking about acceptance in relationships. Note that "acceptance" does not necessarily indicate "agreement with," but rather is an acknowledgement of exactly what is happening--before any action is chosen. In other words, not blindly reacting, but instead seeing the situation clearly and then perhaps being able to choose a wise action rather than going with the first impulse.
I've been bringing these ideas into meditation and learning from them. In a world gone mad with angry, hostile relationships, full of trolls and bullies, there has never been more need for being able to see clearly and choose one's reaction wisely.
This carried over into my tangling, as I found myself starting with the tangle Betweed and then thinking about similarities between Betweed and Mooka, which is what I was playing with here.
...after which I slept quite well, even if not long!
Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change.
Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
Yesterday I made a 5-minute stop at one of my favorite rug hooking shops, just to gather inspiration. Even though I cannot hook at the moment (the broken wrist), I just wanted to connect with color, wool, and creativity. I needed to ogle some rugs. As it turns out, I was so glad I stopped by. I found this beauty on their floor:
I'm guessing it's about 3-4 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. The colors! Oh, the colors. Just wonderful. So vibrant.
About 2/3 of the rug is done, but as you can see there are two major central areas on each side that are still unhooked. The backing looked to be in great shape. When the shop acquired the rug, no wool came with it (no unhooked matching wool). They've had it for some time now. Here is a close-up of one of the to-be-finished areas, which includes the unusual finishing on one side; the original artist just folded over the backing and hooked through 2 layers to finish it.
I couldn't help wondering what happened to the original rug hooker--why did this get set aside when it was so nearly done? I'm tempted to try to finish it myself!
BUT...Cheryl the Rug Rescuer, are you reading this? This has your name all over it! Are you interested in maybe finishing this rug? If so, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the current owners.
Someone needs to finish this; it's on their floor and it's absolutely gorgeous. I don't know how much they would charge for it.
This is Day 3 of decreased swelling and less pain in my hand from the broken wrist. I am daring to feel encouraged. I am even typing with two hands, which I've been unable to do for over two months.
Here is a tile I began last evening and finished this morning. Both tangles are new to me:
i heard the sound of crickets last evening for the first time since last year.
to be more specific, i heard one lone cricket, and then about a block or so later, a second lone cricket. there is something about their sound that makes me so happy.
today i experimented with drawing a cricket (thus, the "hope" part of the title, as it was only the second day since i broke my wrist (mid-june) that i began to feel i was getting better. more about that later...
here is the very silly result--the first sketch is a cartoon cricket (from the jiminy cricket species), and the second one only a tad more realistic. both were done from youtube videos that i found when i typed in "how to draw a cricket."
below is my contribution to IAST 209 (the "it's a string thing" challenge). i was so happy to feel well enough to try this tonight. this makes two days of less swelling and pain, i'm almost afraid to feel hopeful, but i'm going with it tonight!
my last post was about in-somnia, but last night before bed i did a pre-somnia tangle and, for the first time, didn't wake up in the middle of the night.
i'd been wanting to try the tangle "kandysnake," which was new to me. once i put that one on the tile, it cried out to be joined by "footlites," (one of my favorite tangles) and then i connected them with "beadlines."
THE HAND UPDATE:
a page from my journal. i still have to wear the splint at least 80% time, but last week it was 100%. it's still incredibly painful but it's less painful than last week when i was beside-myself-uncomfortable.
i think things are heading in the right direction, even though it could still be weeks before i am fully functional again. two months ago today was the break.
after an evening and night of bad wrist pain, i woke at 3.45 a.m. today and did this for the next hour. -->
on reflection, i'm amused at how perfectly it captures what was going on with me and why i couldn't sleep.
sometimes tangling is almost too revealing!
and yes, that was it for total sleep last night.
i'm suddenly seeing slow progress in the wrist/arm/hand, with less pain. i was able to tangle a bit longer today. hurrah!
at first, i did a monotangle:
i did this in a pre-strung zentangle journal so i was following their string, which ran off the upper left-hand corner of the journal page.
after finishing--i thought--i headed out to a yoga class.
when i got home i looked again and wanted to fill in the rest of the string lines, which can be seen faintly on the page above.
so i did, with this result:
I like this better. it's not great, but it IS great to be able to tangle again. in fact, I am thrilled. I just hope not to "overdo," and set myself back.
in a word: NO. the last ten days, since the cast came off, have been outrageously painful as i work hard to get my hand/wrist/arm back in shape. i've been too discouraged and too tired to draw.
but today i managed a few minutes and produced this "half-assed" result. it's from a journal with some pre-strung tiles in it. this was literally all i could manage today.
i am keeping this short because, let's face it, i'm whining. and no one wants to read a post by a whiner.
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 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