(or should i say "UN-well" ?)
I broke my wrist five days ago and am reduced to typing one-handed. Phooey! Looks as though I'll be on a 6-week blog vacation.
UPDATE: It's true I can't type (much) but I can't seem to stop 1-handed drawing. Scroll down to see the series of "broken wrist tangles." Oldest ones are at the top, newer are farther down.
waiting to heal. still can't type but doing some 1-handed tangles anyway.
this was the first, called "broken," done on june 26, partly inspired by my vision of what's going on at the site of the break
--playing with iphone app on "broken"--
iphone fun with that one-->
a page from my journal on july 3rd
Can't really type but don't want to stop drawing!
UPDATE, JULY 11th:
Let me check...oh wait...still broken.
Here's the next in the series of "broken wrist" tiles...
Here is the same tangle below, run thru an iphone app:
UPDATE, July 12th:
Love that quote by H.G. Bohn. It sums up exactly what I've been feeling about not-doing art.
If ya don't do it, it just doesn't get done. (Bohn said it better)
Why haven't I been doing art...and for so long? Because I moved house. And naively, I had no idea that it would take me much longer to UN-pack than it ever did to pack. and move.
I'm still not done, but I just can't wait any longer to start doing at least a tiny bit of art. So today I managed to produce one Zentangle®:
Wow, it has been so long since I've done any of this work on my own that a blank tile was really intimidating. All I knew was I wanted "something round." And I've been saving tangles I liked when I've seen them on the net. I started off with Banana Braid, which was new to me, and then went to a "mac and cheese" (comfort) tangle by Carole Ohl, and then tried another new one.
Of course, I couldn't resist fiddling with these on my iPhone.
I tried out 2 different colorways above, on the iPhone.
Ahem. So, in conclusion, what I've learned is:
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
I meant to tell you that yesterday, but...
It's been so long since I've done anything creative or artistic that I've almost forgotten how. Since there is a vast and growing list of "new-house chores" to do here, I rarely allow myself to do much besides basic knitting. This can't continue, but at the moment, it's what's happening.
However a friend recently persuaded me to go with her to Kripalu for a weekend workshop on Zentangle®, focused on working with strings. It was fabulous and here are some of my tangles (plus a few photos of the class "mosaics," (mosaics = other people's tangles put together on a table, revealing how people who hear the same instructions produce such different art--great fun!).
Here were the two "warm-up" tiles I did:
And then we really began to play in earnest.
Here was the class "mosaic" of our Courant Tangle tile. If you study these, you'll note how everyone does Courant differently. And yet look at the result when these tiles are combined into a mosaic. And of course, they can be turned in different ways for different effects. Mine is in there somewhere, but I've no idea where.
We took a walk on the grounds.
and then we headed back to tangling
When I got home, I played with my own tile using an iPhone app, and here's what I did with the Dutch Button Mandala, using just my own tile:
Meanwhile, back at Kripalu, we were all still tangling. We used some of the triangular tiles next, using colored Microns.
and on and on we went...
Getting away from my new house for a weekend was a much-needed respite. Left to my own devices, I have an "I gotta get the next item on the punch list done and checked off NOW" mentality that I'm all-too-aware is preventing me from getting to do anything artistic. It was wonderful to go to Kripalu and spend an entire weekend tangling.
This is my third Kripalu Zentangle workshop, and each of them has been extraordinarily good. Quiet, quality time with Rick, Maria, Molly & Martha...lots of time to tangle, silence, a gorgeous place for walks, excellent food, and of course, all that original and inventive, compassionate, humorous teaching. If you ever have a chance to attend, DO.
Definition of the word "Respite": a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.
What a gift.
Oh my gawd. Who knew that I would be taking a five-month sabbatical from blogging? I knew I would have to stop for awhile, but never thought it would be this long.
Little did I know that UN-packing on the other side of the move would take so much longer than the packing ever did. I moved in late March, and I am still nowhere near ready to call myself settled.
In fact, I can declare myself un-settled. Very unsettled indeed, on a number of levels.
I am confident that it will all come right in the end, but in this transition things have often felt very broken. The absence of time to make art has been a major contributor to that. I still do not have either the space or the time to draw, tangle, or hook/punch rugs.
I've had down days for sure--but I am making progress and once I sort out some of the remaining unpacking challenges, I'll be in good shape.
In all of the boxes I've unpacked, I've only noticed three broken items. All of them were much-loved pottery, and two are broken beyond repair. Last night I set about to try to fix this one:
It's one of my favorite bowls by Nancy Shotola, whose pottery I've been collecting for years now. When I finished my clumsy repair, it looked like this:
Yup. Bloody awful.
But you know, it made me think of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing ceramics with gold-infused resin, transforming them into objects even lovelier than they were before. (It's also referred to as "kintsukuroi.") hope you'll take a moment to view the photos on that site.
And here is an extraordinarily beautiful song by Peter Mayer about this tradition, called Japanese Bowl.
My own clumsy, non-Kintsugi repair of that bowl meant that when I tested it by filling it with water after the glue had "set" overnight, all the water ran out of the bottom immediately. Alas. Unless I can figure out a way to repair-my-repair, I will no longer be able to use the bowl for storing liquids. But that doesn't mean it can no longer be used, right?
There are life metaphors aplenty here. Such as, learning to let go. Or the famous Leonard Cohen quote, "There is crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Or the Hemingway quote from A Farewell to Arms about being strong at the broken places.
(Although I think the Hemingway quote is usually taken out of context; I'm not sure that, in its original context, it has the meaning we would like to attribute to it!)
Fortunately I have continued to meditate day after day, and that has undoubtedly kept me on a more even keel. But even with the support of meditation, things have been rocky.
There is simply no hastening the process of transition.
I have truly wonderful friends nearby. And much-loved friends from my previous location have also been coming to visit. I'm thinking of joining a chorus which rehearses only two blocks from here. And I have found a great studio space that's only a twenty-minute walk, if I can ever find the time to begin doing art again.
Here's a relevant quote from Thomas Wolfe's book, You Can't Go Home Again, which encapsulates much of what I've been pondering:
"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."
I've been thinking about the function of nostalgia in our lives. When is nostalgia useful? When is nostalgia an obstacle?
Here is just one reason I most certainly cannot go back, even if I wished to. It's a photograph of what's underway in my old apartment.
Renovation is well underway in just about every room.
And that is true for me as well--renovation is definitely underway within my psyche. It's turning up a lot of grime as I break through old psychological walls and floors. There are days when I hardly recognize myself. There are days when almost every single thing I do is a "first time adventure." (Exhausting) There are days, hours, minutes, that are dark. There are storms moving through. But, there are these days as well (below):
Whatever the weather, I needed to do this.
To return to my original analogy about the broken bowls: I needed to shatter the container of my life and re-form it.
I'm at the stage now where things are in pieces and I am just beginning to put them back together.
It's disorienting, exciting, upsetting, hard, and comical. This is a stage requiring a lot of patience.
I am not patient.
In fact, I am highly proficient at impatience, heavily laced with whining.
However, I am committed to seeing this through.
As with the art of Kintsugi, If i can mix the gold with the resin here and apply it carefully, then what comes out of this should be even more lovely than what went before. Perhaps that is the one "art" that I am focusing on right now.
Wish me luck.
Here is a poem by Mollie Grant which says it all:
Kintsugi: the Japanese Art of Golden Repair
(I have not been able to reach her to get permission to print it here so I'm just directing you to her page and you can read the poem there.)
And check out this short post for a wonderful poem by Lisa Cohen on Kintsugi.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society