Hello, all...we are the fourteen year old Wooly Bullies. Yes, the WOOLY Bullies...do not trust any of us around your 100% wool jackets, skirts, coats, or blankets. If, that is, you even own 100% wool anything anymore. But I'll get to that later.
Today we met at Elizabeth's lovely, gracious, and comfortable home--her own hand-hooked rugs all over the house, all of them unique and beautiful--and we celebrated the start of our 14th year together as a creative and supportive group.
Actually, the topic of our anniversary never came up today! Instead, we spent the time talking about everything else: our summer journeys, our relationships, meditation and Buddhism, technology, what to do if a bat gets in your house, health (all good for once!), and other general updates since most of us haven't seen each other since our last meeting in May or June.
[We take summers off because seriously, would you want to work on a hooked rug if it meant having wool next to your skin in 90 degree humid weather?]
Some glimpses of today's projects are below. They all have captions--to see the captions, just hover over a photo with your mouse. You should also be able to biggify a photo by double-clicking it to see it better.
Kathleen, I realized when putting up the photos that I did not see you hooking anything! I know you had to leave early so maybe you just came for our fabulous company?
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 UNTIL NOW...
Elizabeth, myself, Cynthia, Cheryl, Kathleen and Maria all made it today.
Of today's attendees, Elizabeth, myself, and Maria were at the original meeting of our group at my house on September 20, 2001. Lenore was also there at the start. Nine days after the tragedy, we were all still dazed and shocked. I remember thinking that hooking together that evening, telling our creative, art-related histories to each other, and sharing our work, was such a comfort and temporary rest from the news coverage in which we had all been immersed non-stop. We acknowledged the attack and the horror, but we then made an effort to create a little space for respite and for beauty for the next two hours, and we all went home feeling a tiny bit better that night.
In the years that followed, we outgrew my house pretty quickly and have met in a variety of venues--from community rooms in a now-defunct organic market, to the Somerville Arts at the Armory space, to each others' larger homes--we always meet in each others' homes now. The conversation continues to be a comfort to me, and more than that, we share a group that gets our creative juices flowing.
I love it when one of us throws a partially-completed rug down on the floor for advice and each woman there just lets her true opinions fly: "Too dark, not enough contrast..." or, "I want to learn how you dyed that orange," or, "Take out the front part of that and re-do it--it's standing out too much," or whatever else we think. The recipient of the advice never has to take any of it, but we all know each other well enough to say exactly what we think, and no one takes offense. It's great. I've been helped numerous times by these critiques.
I've also noticed the continuing decline in the availability of 100% wool, which started farther back than fourteen years ago, but I wonder how many of us would have begun hooking now, if wool had been as hard to get back then as it is to find now. It has gone from a frugal and affordable art to a fairly expensive art. Sad.
But remember, everyone: There is always ANN'S ATTIC! Since we are The Wooly Bullies, we can go down to CT and bully our way into that attic whenever we need a huge stash of wool. Having seen it, we all know Ann could supply all of us for our next 6 lifetimes. To Ann: Be afraid, be very afraid.
Discussions today: oh my! Maria went to Tehran (yes, Iran) in August. What a tale! She had to wear a hijab while out of doors there. She was in Iran for two weeks and glad to come home, although she clearly had a fascinating time. She went to visit her daughter-in-law's family and really enjoyed them. A genuine travel adventure. Wow.
Cynthia was gone ten weeks, to a large number of countries & cities--Turkey for quite a while, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Paris, London, Budapest and I think a couple of others. Wow again...
Some of the rest of us went to Maine, the Cape, or to a silent retreat in central Massachusetts (that last would be me).
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY WONDERFUL RUG HOOKING FRIENDS. I am honored to have been working with you for the last 14 years. How does it feel to be 14 years old again?
Will be at Cheryl's in October; she'll email us with dates & info.
Elizabeth, thank you for hosting and thank you for that fabulous fabulous soup. I know I wanted to lick my bowl, but managed to restrain myself. Barely.
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