We've had some stellar weather for the past two days, now about to come to an end as the humidity moves back in tonight and for the rest of the week. Summer is about to put in another appearance...and yet, I can also strongly feel that the wheel of the year is turning. Some type of shift is underway, and it's dramatically affected me.
I'm thinking about Lammas, the old holiday celebrated around this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere) to salute the grain harvest. Even though summer is still here, the beginning of the harvest means that a change has occurred and we are now moving towards autumn. I could feel that shift this morning as an internal presence, and all day I've been restless.
The countryside here is full of outrageously tall corn; the crop is up so high that, driving by, I'm already thinking about the increasingly common "corn mazes" that allow Hallow's Eve revelers to scare the daylights out of themselves in late September and October, once the harvest has passed. Our roadside farm stands are bulging with corn, squash, and other bounty. Days are growing irrevocably shorter.
Lammas is all about change. For many of us--the lucky ones who have "enough" in our lives--it is a time of gratitude for the harvest. Yet it brings an unsettling sensation as well.
Change is the one constant in life. Some of us handle it better than others.
Nature’s first green is gold,
My friend Susie from Thailand and I were discussing images of Buddha and agreeing that one doesn't have to be religious or have any belief in Buddhism to enjoy the wonderful art inspired by his history. The art on its own is peaceful. She commented on this after seeing the white-clay Buddha in my previous post (July 20th).
I drew the picture above several years ago, probably around the time I bought that small white ceramic tile. It represents the "old" in the title of this post.
It's true--just looking at images of Buddha always makes me feel calmer, and I remember feeling that way when I drew this. As a long-time meditation practitioner, I'm interested in Buddhism for its psychological value--it is a truly wonderful way to challenge our own thoughts, and to learn kindness. I'm happy the West has finally discovered the wisdom of Buddhist thought, and at the same time, I never think of Buddhism as a religion and do not believe that the Buddha ever intended it would become a "religion" with all the attendant dogma.
Far from it.
After digging out that drawing today, I thought I'd spend some time tangling, trying out a tangle called Zonked, by Barbara Finwall. Susie had just done her version of Zonked (see the 3rd tile down in her post) which I loved, and she inspired me. While testing it out, I added Hanny Waldburger's tangle Namaste, in honor of of Buddha. This represents the "new" in today's post title. Here is the result.
If you are also a fan of Buddha-heads, you may want to check out Virginia Peck's lovely art here.
And now, it's time for me to go meditate.
...during which, I promptly fell completely asleep. Which suggested to me I needed to wake up and keep tangling. First I finished the meditation, then I did this. While not my greatest result, I like it on several levels.
I admit I am somewhat mixing my religions and cultures here. Hanuman is the Hindu monkey-god known for his strength and devotion (and much loved by Ram Dass, the longtime meditation teacher, author, and speaker). Hanuman is normally depicted with a human body, but I hope we can cut him a little slack here. And then of course, there's Buddha. Actually, Hanuman is also found in some Buddhist teachings as well, but not as commonly as in Hinduism.
I put Buddha in Hanuman's lap because I thought this "alternative version of Hanuman" might need a dose of equanimity before he got crammed into a box and mailed off to a friend as a gift to her 8 month old son. So, Hindu and Buddhist figures are playing together in this photo.
[NOTE: Hanuman is now on his way to his next adventure - he's in the mail - and I've no doubt he is fully up to it.]
This is another wonderful toy made by my next-door neighbor. She has a large assortment of hand-knitted toys--penguins, ducks, dogs, kitties, dinosaurs, you name it. All beautifully made. And then there is all her other lovely knitting, but since I don't have pictures, I won't go into that. But you can imagine how kids react to these toys! It's pandemonium when she sells them at fairs. She is so clever.
Tangling away during thunder and lightning storms today, and feeling lucky to be safe indoors. Our hideously muggy weather is being altered, one storm at a time. I'll be delighted to see it replaced by drier air.
This one really surprised me. I think I threw in everything but the kitchen sink, but it seemed to work.
I finally finished my "Red & Black" rug today. This piece feels as though it's been underway for years.
It's not a big rug, either; it's probably about 2'x3' at most.
After I finished the binding and then the final steaming, I laid it down on my tile floor to dry and went into my journal to search for the starting date of this rug. I couldn't find it, but it has to be either 2016 or 2017, early in the year*.
So in actuality, I don't know how long it did take me. But certainly over a year. Things got incredibly complicated when I bought the house, packed up after 40 years in one place, moved, started unpacking, and broke my wrist.
There were a lot of lessons in this rug, and good memories too.
I thought when I designed it (yes, it's my design) that I could use up all of my red and black wool. Well, that didn't work out! The wool apparently multiplied itself secretly overnight and I am left with what looks like the same amount of red and black wool as I finish the rug as I had when I began. So one lesson is that wool you want to use up never fully goes away, while wool you are worried about not having enough of will ALWAYS run out in a crucial spot. Guaranteed.
I thought hooking in straight lines would be a cinch. Surprise! Not so easy for me. I learned I am not good at hooking in straight lines at all. But...I kept on truckin'.
I started it while living in one place, and finished it in another. I miss my Woolies so much...and at the same time am forging new friendships out here. I feel fortunate to be making some new friends. (But still wish my other peeps weren't so far away...)
I had to put it down and pick it up about a zillion times, with long delays in between due to packing, moving, unpacking, and my damaged wrist and hand. There was a major lesson in patience and persistence to get it done.
But I got it done. That's the biggest lesson.
"Nevertheless, she persisted."
*Addendum: Checking my photos of this rug, I see that I started it in January of 2016, so over two years from start to finish. Yikes. (I may have put it aside to complete at least one other rug in the meantime, however.)
This CRAZY-CUTE lion toy was made by my next-door neighbor. It's an honor to be living next to someone who can produce something as wonderful as this.
A closer view:
OMG, that mane!!! Is that not just fabulous and hilarious. I love him. I bought him for a friend's baby boy, but honestly, how can I give him up? My covetous evil twin has taken over and I want to keep him.
This was so adorable that I thought it was worth two posts today.
One of the very kind Quabbin Rughookers invited us all to her lake house in Spencer on Sunday. What a house! And it has a wonderful history (too long to go into here but I delighted in hearing it). Anyway, we sat in a lovely room overlooking a gorgeous lake in beautiful weather--every moment was enjoyable. It was such a fun day. Here are the rugs people were working on (photos by permission, of course). With thanks to Diana for hosting us.
Indeed, I took another whack at the same tile I did yesterday in order to practice.
I like both yesterday's and today's versions. This is the same tangle, Wisket, with yet another small variation, and more dewdrops.
Full confession: I did this partially to recover from an entire day full of wrangling with a new computer. Nothing would go right--and Mercury isn't even retrograde yet. Let's just say it was a nightmare and things still aren't working as they should, but eventually I'll get it straightened out.
I did one more tile today to continue the #summertangles2018 challenge. Believe me, I needed the relaxation desperately.
This tangle is Abundies, with a few water drops and some Indy-rella thrown in. Just a black 01 Micron and graphite. The odd coloring is due to the poor light in which I took the photo.
And now I"m up way too late, due to all the computer issues. Time to retire for the night and try again tomorrow...
I only had time for a quick tile today. I'm still working on the "#summertangles2018" challenge, though I'm not planning to knock myself out to keep up with it.
But so far I am keeping up if I stick to a monotangle a day.
Honestly I wasn't sure I'd like Wisket (the main tangle here) but once I got started I really got into it. And totally zenned out while doing it So much so that I couldn't resist doing an experiment (the rounding on just a few of the fragments).
After I was done it occurred to me that the rounding made my "Wisket" resemble yesterday's "Lokomotive" (see yesterday's post). I must have lozenge-shapes on the brain! This isn't my best-ever tile, but because it was so calming to do I have affection for it anyway. I rarely get to experiment with Dewdrops--and it shows--so I look forward to practicing more with them soon. No fail, no learn!
This is part of my work for the #summertangles2018 challenge (as were the previous two posts). The day's tangle was Z-Trick. I had recently run across the tangle Lokomotive, and it struck me that these two would make friends very easily, so I tried them together and frankly, was surprised and pleased with the result. Both tangles are new to me.
This particular tangle is a big challenge for me, but hopefully I got it this time. It reminds me of shells at the beach...
...which inspired the title, "Beachy But Not Peachy," as the weather here is still unbearably hot and humid. It's like walking into a bowl of soup when I go outside. My least favorite weather.
You know that old and trite saying, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
Right. Well, it's hotter than HADES here, and humid to the max, and it's been that way for five full days and won't stop until it gets to seven. We are all miserable; everyone's complaining. We all want to be sitting around drinking cold sweet lemonade. I am fortunate to have air conditioning, and I do mean fortunate.
So today I decided to participate--at least sporadically--in a summer tangle challenge sponsored by the Yankee Tangler. Her tangle challenge for today is Footlites, by CZT Carole Ohl. It's a real favorite of mine, and I thought I would try something different. Some version of it as a monotangle.
Instead of being pleased, I created a big lemon. Here it is:
The only pencil I had to hand happened to be this huge Grumbacher Sketching Pencil with a very wide, flat point. Look at that point! Yowza!
Thus, this was a big experiment, and it didn't work at all. There's a wonderful technique of creating images using only soft pencil and then smudging it so that the patterns look like beautiful soft fog. I thought I'd give it a try but instead of the cool gentle fog, I produced a hot mess.
Even while I was working on this, I wasn't enjoying myself. But I'll never learn if I don't try, or so I tried to console myself. I told myself maybe I'd like it better tomorrow, after a good night's sleep.
But later I walked into the room where it was sitting and I liked it even less.
Yup, I had created a lemon indeed.
Face pucker time.
Having created this monstrosity, and knowing there are "No mistakes" in Zentangle® (I have the t-shirt with the saying on it to prove that), I knew I had to try again.
I grabbed the same tile and for reasons I don't fully understand, I went with a black Micron 08 (thick), not the usual delicate Micron 01. Perhaps this was a subconscious attempt to murder the earlier image?
I more-or-less-kinda-sorta followed what I had previously done. Contrary to my previous experience, I actually enjoyed doing this. It felt much more meditative...always a good sign. I'm much happier with the result. No fail, no learn, right?
A friend who just got her CZT said they experimented with the graphite-only method during the training, so I'm hoping she can help me figure out how to get better results. I left a little of the graphite-only part on the finished tangle.
And now to go drink some cold lemonade. Ahhhhhhhhh...
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:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class is not yet scheduled--stay tuned.
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