Just in the past week I have felt well enough and gotten enough done here to want to begin working on my rugs again. I'm planning my next project, and want to get back to work on the rug I was forced to pack away when I began prepping for the upcoming move about ten months ago.
Today I returned to my hometown (a two hour drive) to meet with my former rug hooking group and we had a wonderful time. Here are some pictures:
Lenore is working on this vintage rug (a "rug rescue"). I 'm guessing it was partially hooked somewhere between 1940 and 1970. Not only is it unfinished, but you can see two large nasty holes, one in the dark gray area and one on the lower bottom edge. She's attached a completely new backing to the rug so that she can repair those holes, and will be working to complete the edges as well. I like the design and the colors, and look forward to seeing this finished.
Cheryl, our usual Rug Rescuer (Lenore is trying on that role at the moment!) is hooking a new rug--this lovely pattern on the right. It was intended as some type of panel or screen, but she's going to use it as a runner in her house. Not only is the design dramatic and striking, but she's using many variations of white in the background that--while not well-captured in this photo--make it even more interesting.
Also below is a closeup of the bottom of the panel, which will be bamboo plants. She hasn't quite gotten that far yet. I am looking forward to seeing how this one develops.
Here is Elizabeth's chair pad project (photo below). She had punch-hooked the pad on the right side of this photo years ago, and is now working on a similar design (in the frame on the left) for a matching chair. These colors are definitely "Elizabeth colors." Love them and this will be a beautiful duo when done.
Below is a rather blurry photo (I swear it looked ok when I took it) of Kathleen's current rug adventure. Only the right half of this rug is visible in the frame--there's an equal amount of it that carries over to the left, but you are not seeing it in this photo. This is a Green Man rug, and you can see half of his partially finished face here. I'm loving the new darker background. This rug has been languishing for a while since K has had a "challenging" year, but she's really moving right along on it now. I can't wait to see how this one develops either.
As for me, I was working on the reconstruction of an old pillow I'd hooked years ago; I needed to upgrade both the backing and the internal stuffing, so I was doing tedious sewing on it today. (It's always easier to do that sort of thing in a lively group!)
I brought along a rug that I am not ready to begin. I'll need to color plan it and do all the dyeing for it before I can get started, but here's a partial shot of the pattern, called "Russian Oriental."
I've had this pattern for about 25 years--it's actually the last pattern I own. I bought way too many patterns when I began hooking and for several years afterwards, and have been determined to complete them all so that I can get on with my own designs. I believe I've figured out a way to create my own "Oriental-type" rugs from here on. This rug will be about 4'x3' when finished. There are many decisions to make before I begin to work on it..
Oh how I love my rug group. Wonderful folks. Maria & Cynthia, you were much missed.
I've gotten back into continuous line drawing, which results in curious, wonky images and is enormous fun to do. It's also very easy to slip into the zone (meditate) while doing it, as it calls for careful attention to the object being drawn--while never lifting your pen from the page.
This wonky Buddha was drawn from a clay wall decoration. I am enjoying the way his uma (the dot on the his forehead) has migrated over to one side. I never know how these drawings will turn out; all of this was done without ever lifting my pen, as one very long line, retracing along itself when I needed to move to another area. Try it yourself--it's great fun and the results are always surprising and often humorous. Somewhat like meditation.
Some simple warm-ups and practices from the online course I'm taking. I have a long way to go but I'm having fun and quite like a few of these.
And finally, because I can't resist: we are seeing some autumnal colors arriving very late in the season. Here is the tiny tree out my front window. It was green as recently as 48 hours ago, and then suddenly...
This is a photo of a spirit rock. No, it doesn't refer to the remarkable meditation center in California. But it certainly it relates to meditation. A dear friend made it, covering the tiny stone with her hand-netting and adding those tiny beads She gave it to me as a housewarming gift. Both of us know that doing this kind of work is highly meditative--it's why I'm so drawn to art at this point in my life, along with a daily meditation practice.
Stones have always held a lot of symbolism for me, especially river rocks with their smooth round shapes and heft. They are symbols of wholeness, endurance, and comfort.
I will enjoy this sweet gift for a long time. It is so lovely to connect with much-valued old friends.
"A rugged stone grows smooth from hand to hand."
"Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human experience--priceless and irreplaceable."
--Henri J.M. Nouwen
Meanwhile, I cannot decide if I'm enjoying the "sketching and watercolor" course or not. I'm a bit puzzled by why I'm having so much trouble with the watercolor and specifically with the brush (watercolor brush). If it weren't the 2nd brush I've tried--with similar issues--I'd say the brush is leaking. Too much water swishing around, and you can see it's leaking outside the bounds of the apple (yes, apple...not a tomato) above. I could go on and on, but I won't. Let's just say I haven't had this experience before, not that I've had much experience at all. I'll keep going with this and see what happens. It's tough not to just grab my colored pencils, though.
In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you're in trouble.
In watercolour, particularly, it's almost always better to chuck than fix.
--Joe Joseph P. Blodgett
...Really? Guess I'll find out.
This is my first try at an assignment to sketch and paint some fruit for Jane LaFazio's course. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
Hey, I can only get better, right?
That just has to be true. This is not my best work, to put it mildly. Ha. i assume I'll improve with practice.
After all, Oscar Wilde said: "Bad art is better than no art at all." Thank you, Oscar.
I hope you will take a careful look at the above piece. It's made from 28 triangular tiles placed together. Each tile is unique, and was tangled by my good friend AE. The overall effect is stunning. And, they can all be moved around easily for a completely different look.
Take another moment to look at each individual triangle and you'll see the level of creativity at work here.
* * *
This afternoon I returned from spending five days with AE.. She's been dealing with a particularly challenging and confusing illness for months now, and coincidentally (or was it...?), she learned Zentangle right around the time that the illness announced itself. For the last several weeks she has been receiving intensive and intrusive treatments, and I can't emphasize how often she has mentioned that tangling has enabled her to cope.
And while coping, she has been producing these mini-beauties. Here are a few more examples (with thanks to her for letting me post these):
The meditative nature of Zentangle has been extremely helpful while she has been in treatment. Tiles are the perfect size for portability and for tangling while waiting to be seen in a doctor's office. One of the things I truly love about tangling is that it is a form of moving meditation, and enables a person to focus completely on the present, line by line, and not get caught up in past or future. This is a huge advantage if you are waiting for a treatment session, a doctor's appointment or any stressful situation. AE has been making the best of her time, as you can see here.
* * *
We have known each other for almost 40 years (how the hell did that happen?) and have a lot of shared interests. We met while pursuing a particular spiritual tradition and soon discovered a mutual love of art and crafts. For years we both did bead work (she focused on loom work, I focused on bead embroidery) and between us we accrued enough beads to open a bead store. Not that that was our intention; as we are both "tool hoarders," we never considered selling our stock and each still have pounds of seed beads. We are constant knitters and each have huge yarn stashes. We both enjoy writing and have blogs; she has also written a novel. We've each accumulated way too many art supplies. We each meditate daily. We both read constantly, and our home libraries have many similar books. I wouldn't even want to speculate about how many books each of our homes contain...too many.
I have to laugh at the similarities--we are each hopelessly determined and obsessive in pursuing our interests. In just a few short months, she's produced as many tangles as I have in all the years I've been tangling. She has taken her tangling kit to every doctor's appointment and treatment session, and used that time well. It's an honor to share some of her work here.
And yet we are also very different, something I also enjoy. I value our discussions, whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.
I am fortunate to have her as a friend, and hope we continue our crazy, obscure, satisfying interests for years to come. She is kind, resilient, talented, hilarious and courageous. A gift in my life.
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
– Oprah Winfrey
"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."
― Linda Grayson
I hereby declare an official end to my "Broken Wrist Series" of tangles.
My wrist (and my hand, which was the real worry) is coming back to life and acting more and more normal with every passing day. Finally. I've been out of commission for nearly four whole months, but I'm returning to more normal life now!
To celebrate, I tangled with a friend today.
At the moment I'm in upstate New York, and it's been quite a few days with no art, so the above was a warmup. After which I did this:
I stuck that tile into the pre-strung journal on one of the "not-strung" pages, with another tangle I tried recently:
Recently I'd bought some transparent photo corners and am happy I did--I like them better than the opaque corners. I'm enjoying using this journal, which allows me the choice to draw directly on a page or to paste in a tile. Some of the pages have strings pre-drawn, and others are blank; I appreciate having both options.
My buddy and I are both taking an online sketching course that begins tomorrow. We'll see if either of us has the guts to post some of what we do.
Wow, does it feel good to be drawing again.
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