Some lessons I need to learn:
"Inspiration is for amateurs--the rest of us just show up and get to work." --Chuck Close
"Show up, show up, show up." -- Isabelle Allende
These two fabulous quotes are from an article here. Well worth reading. Now, can I apply them?
Wooly Bullies, September 2015
Get ready for lots of pictures. Lots of laughter and fun today, not to mention rug hooking and fabulous eats, at Cheryl's gorgeous Victorian house. And a lovely perfect-weather day to boot. We could probably have hooked on the porch, but as it was, we gathered around the dining room table. I noticed that Cheryl referred quite a bit to the fact that she has been hooking on her porch in the spring and summer; it's so comfortably set up out there that I can only imagine it's the perfect environment to foster creativity in good weather.
It felt like a long time since we had met, and we missed Elizabeth, who was at the Cape House having her lawn trimmed by ever-hungry goats. Seriously. Great idea. I bet you will start a trend, Elizabeth...but we missed you.
Now, how adorable is this? Apologies for the overexposure. Lenore is doing this as a prototype experiment for her next rug, and I can't imagine it looking any sweeter, and frankly, I cannot wait to see the rug itself started.
Of course, I plan to abscond with the rug when she gets it done. Fair warning, Lenore.
Maria's "Forbidden Fruit," a Jane McGown Flynn pattern she started years ago and abandoned for awhile (WHY?) is coming along. Maria, we are all in love with this rug so you have got to keep working on it and finish it. She says that if she were starting it today she would do the background differently, but I think the background is perfect.
I plan to abscond with this rug also.
Kathleen came for color advice for the background of the new fish rug. K, did you actually get the level of color advice that you wanted? Somehow I feel like I got distracted at one point and I missed the end of that conversation. I love your design...did you get enough from the group in terms of ideas?
A closer look. The current background is experimental until she settles on the color scheme.
Another rug I plan to steal.
A few months back, I mentioned that Cheryl is a Rug Rescuer. You can compare her progress from that date to this date by comparing the picture here with that post. As of today, the entire center panel, the scrolls, and a lot of the background is done. She has been busy (when you go to the old post, scroll down to see where she was with this rug as of last May.
She has really gotten a huge amount done. The colors in my pic aren't quite true, but close enough. This is a lovely old pattern called "Three Rose Scroll" (not hard to see where that title came from). And yes, I want this one too...where am I going to put all these?
Cynthia brought the Kokopelli rug with her. She is so close to finished that she could practically sneeze with a hook in her hand and accidentally complete it. She's even planned out what yarn to use for whipping it. I took lots of pictures because the Kokos (my nickname for them) are so creative and wonderful. Here's a gallery. You can also see one of her corners partially completed, with wonderful color. This is a very large and just stunning rug.
I won the dunce award today for having nothing to show, as I am in the process of designing the tarot rug and thinking about the design, the colors, and the construction. So I had the mostly-blank backing with me, and did some pencil sketches. I also tried punching on my Snapdragon Frame, to see if I could actually punch the rug using that frame. I think I could. But am not sure I like the results, even though it didn't pull out the work when I took it off the frame. My big debate is whether to punch the rug or traditionally hook it.
At least I've gotten going on it!
Oh, did I mention the amazing food? We started with Cheryl's coffee and some homemade banana bread. Later we had lunch...a marvelous soup with veggies, beans, some beef; it went down really well and we all had seconds. Along with hot biscuits, oh my. But after that, the real "Oh my!" started when she trotted out the handmade cannolis, which she actually stuffed in front of all of us, using a pastry bag as we sat mesmerized and drooling. Whipped cream and almond filling. O.M.G. Beyond fabulous. But wait--there was another dessert, a pear bread pudding with whipped cream. Can this woman cook? She's nothing short of phenomenal. Cheryl, I just hope you realize you do NOT have to do this for us every time. But talk about heavenly.
Next meeting @ Kathleen's on October 24th. I hope to have something to show for my efforts by then. Thank you all, as usual, for the hooking inspiration and the great company and the creativity.
The Equinox and Tarot
"Corn and grain, corn and grain,
All that falls shall rise again."
- Wiccan Harvest Chant
Carolyn Cushing from Easthampton, MA, owner of The Art of Change Tarot, poet, and all around sweetie-pie, ran a lovely Equinox Circle Teleseminar last evening. I was honored to be invited.
There is something so magical about the Autumn Equinox...I notice I often cannot tell when spring turns to summer or when fall turns to winter (the Summer and Winter Solstices), as solstice seasonal-turnings always tend to blur into each other in my view.
But the Equinoxes...they are both unmistakable. After the starkness and silence of winter, spring bursts forth. And after the brilliance and lushness of summer, all of nature suddenly pauses, cools, and turns inward in the autumn. The Equinoxes are far more dramatic to me. And for that reason, far more magical.
Here is an autumn poem to savor, from Annie Finch:
A Crown of Autumn Leaves By Annie Finch
For Mabon (fall equinox), Sept. 21
Our voices press from us
and twine around the year's fermenting wine
Yellow fall roars
Over the ground. Loud, in the leafy sun that pours
Liquid through doors,
Yellow, the leaves twist down
as the winding of the vine
pulls our curling voices--
Glowing in wind and change,
The orange leaf tells
How one more season will alter and range,
Working the strange
Colors of clamor and bells
In the winding of the vine
our voices press out from us to twine
When autumn gathers, the tree
That the leaves sang
Reddens dark slowly, then, suddenly free,
Turns like a key,
Opening air where they hang
and the winding of the vine
makes our voices turn
and wind with the year’s fermented wine
One of the hanging leaves,
Tightens its final hold, receives,
Through, and is covered soon
in the winding of the vine--
Holding past summer's hold,
Open and strong,
One of the leaves in the crown is gold,
Set in the cold
Where the old seasons belong.
Here is my crown
Of winding vine,
Of leaves that dropped,
That fingers twined,
to yield and shine
with a year’s
So what is the connection between the Equinox and tarot, the title of this post? Any dramatic time of change always inspires me to pull out my tarot deck. Tarot does not interest me as a fortune-telling device, nor do I think it's particularly helpful to use as a predictive tool. Instead, I use it to mirror what is going on around and inside me--more as a psychological tool. I find it extremely helpful to deepen my connection to my inner self, and also to point out what is happening around me or within me that I may simply not have noticed. Those little painted cardboard pictures have a way of going straight to the heart of things.
While I would have done an Equinox reading anyway, when Carolyn emailed last week to say that she was doing a teleseminar on the topic, and would I be interested, I jumped at the chance. Carolyn is a wonderful reader, although "reader" is perhaps a poor description of what she does; she is actually a superb prompter and question-asker, two things I deeply appreciate. She believes, as I do, that the answers to our questions are already within, only needing to be coaxed out by the right questions.
In 90 minutes last night, our small group of truly wonderful women (I believe there were only about 7 or 8 of us, the perfect size for a circle), guided by Carolyn's pre-planning and skill, opened an Equinox Circle and welcomed the Triple Goddess in the form of Persephone, Baba Yaga, and Sheela na Gig. Quite the trio. Carolyn had drawn these three Goddesses as the guides for our group from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince's Dark Goddess Tarot. That is a deck I do not own (which didn't matter for our purposes last night).
Based on her drawing of this trio, Carolyn had formulated the following four prompts for us to use when doing some Equinox Tarot Play together:
Participants used a variety of decks, from the Gaian to the Dark Goddess. I used my "homie" deck, the Thoth.
I pulled the following four cards in answer to the above four questions.
Of course, all of us pulled different cards. Carolyn then skillfully led us through a discussion of how these four prompts drew answers from us as we each looked at our cards. My own interpretation of my cards was:
"Leaves will fall, and blow away.
Do not interfere."
To close, a Mary Oliver poem HERE.
Creativity in All Its Forms
Indeed, I watched my friend learn how to fly today. And while she was in the air, I thought about the many forms creativity takes.
Creativity requires fearlessness. It requires daring. It asks us to step off into the unknown, to risk falling on our kiesters and to be willing to get up and try again. Creativity requires learning. It requires being willing to take feedback from others and modify things when we see the truth of it.
Creativity is exhausting. Its exhilarating. And sometimes, it requires support. That was my role today, just to support and witness. I was thrilled and inspired, even though my own creativity will never take this form--but my friend really learned to fly.
Wow. Just, wow.
I need to remember this man when I am feeling sorry for myself and uninspired.
An Artist Despite All Odds
Four and a half minutes long. You will NOT regret watching; it's a testiment to the human spirit.
I think I'm in love.
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