No pictures today, alas, since I cannot show this rug (Why not? See the "Rug in Hiding" entry here). But it is not lost on me that this project, which started out as an annoyance, is now bringing me nothing but gifts. It doesn't even matter if it turns out to be a rug I like (though I hope it will), because I am learning so much from making it.
Like a lot of life, something that makes me stretch ends up developing a raft of new skills and showing me things I never knew about myself.
Why did I not want to do this? Let me count the reasons:
But I said I would do it, and dammit, I do what I say.
So I started out last August on a walk with my best friend basically doing a 45 minute rant on how pissed off I was at myself for having said yes, and how I was going to hate every moment of this and would regret it forever. She listened patiently until I got to the point where I could no longer stand listening to myself rant, and shut up. (But then I repeated the rant to everyone else who would listen, for weeks afterwards.)
So what happened to change this attitude? At first, nothing. The design process was agonizing. Really agonizing. I came up with several designs, none of which I was really into. The design I'm currently hooking popped up early on, but I thought it would be hideous and rejected it immediately. Weeks went by with my going in very different directions.
It was really in meditation that things came together. I began to notice in meditation that my mind was turning over and over to the rug. So, I let it happen and watched. Gradually the original design came back. I still wasn't crazy about it, but I thought it would be the simplest way to proceed, given the deadline.
Next, I began to notice in meditation that I was thinking seriously about punching the rug, not just traditionally hooking it. I went back and forth on that one for weeks, and will spare you the details. Gradually it seemed more feasible to punch it as well as hook.
Then I remembered, in meditation, that I had a frame that could possibly be converted to be suitable for punch needle. And next, in meditation, I planned how to do that. And I actually did it. And it works! It works great.
I had signed up for the variegated yarn dyeing workshop at Amy Oxford's in Vermont in November...I didn't know why. As the time got closer, I thought it would just be a nice weekend. I even considered not going. The first evening I was there--before the class began--I was alone at the building, in the lovely quiet surroundings, and began meditating. After which I looked at all the yarns and realized one was perfect for the background. Within 30 minutes, I had the entire rug color planned. I had never thought to use yarn for the background, but suddenly, I knew I was there for a reason--to dye the yarn for the background. So, that is what I spent the weekend doing. I've already written about that. It was just an amazing experience.
Lastly, I started punching. Last Tuesday. I've taken about 3 days off since then...but despite that, the rug is about half done! I am shocked. Me, the world's slowest maker of rugs, with a large rug half-done in that time. It's just stunning. And, dare I say this, I even like it!
As if that weren't surprising enough, in meditation about a month ago I had an inspiration about how to take the rug to the next level, and how to use the design to bring together all the other rugs that are being made for this project. I cannot wait to try this out. It might not work, but if it does, it will be fabulous. It involves another level of work--adding something else to the rug after it's completely hooked. We'll see if can do it...
Since then, that idea has been refined in meditation, with several small useful additions. Fingers crossed that it does work.
Finally, each day in meditation, since I began punching, I've had more ideas.
Given the topic of the project, it is appropriate that meditation has been a prime source of the design and further ideas. I am just loving this process.
So the "burden," the "annoyance" of the project, has turned into a major gift. Here's what I've been given so far:
This has been one long fabulous experience in seeing all the gifts, rather than the negative thoughts I first had about the project.
As usual, I am learning not just about the art process, but about myself. This is one major purpose of art, and certainly one major purpose of the creative life.
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