Or perhaps I should have titled this, "Errors in Art."
How does one know if something is ruined, or retrievable?
I spent hours punching today, and only after those hours did I suddenly look at my highly-structured, visually precise geometric pattern and realize that something was very wrong.
This is not a forgiving pattern--it depends entirely on balance. I saw I had punched the entire center of the rug (yes, the CENTER...oy) in a very unbalanced way, since I was being mindful of my delight of the process but not the slightest bit mindful about the plan of the process. When I sat back and looked at the big picture, I was shocked.
(Does this sound like something that has ramifications for life beyond a rug?)
At least 1/3 of the center would have to be ripped out.
And so I ripped and ripped and ripped.
Monks cloth, which is the foundation commonly used for punching, is very sturdy, but somehow my battered foundation is now looking fragile to me. Will it hold?
(Another life metaphor. Sorry, I can't resist.)
And then there is all that beautiful yarn I dyed. I ripped out a mound of it. Can I recycle it, or will I have to discard it all (!!!), and dye more?
I did soak, dry, and recycle yarn in an effort to save it. Since I took this photo I have put these last few bits on the drying rack to straighten out. It will be awhile before I know if this has worked or not.
But I'm not done with repairing...tomorrow I have half as much to rip out and re-do.
I cannot believe I made such a huge error.
So what have I learned: It's not only about the process. When doing a geometric, planning is 50% of what's needed. I knew that already--what made me forget? I'll never know.
Tomorrow I'll get back into it and see if I can finish the repair. When I take the rug off the frame--and not until then--I'll know if this worked, or if I have a much more serious problem to face.
Is the rug still salvageable? I won't know for at least another day.
Centering...that is what I should have done repeatedly as I worked. I didn't, and this is the result.
A lesson for life-in-general, not just an art project.
"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."
I have been busy today, despite excessive heat and humidity. Although it hardly seems possible that I actually needed to dye more gold yarn for my current rug (after all the excess I had at the finish of the last one), I did.
But dyeing during the heat of August is not my idea of fun. So what to do?
I woke at 5 a.m. and it was only 70 degrees outside, so I zipped into the kitchen and dyed four skeins before the heat could build. Hopefully this will be enough to finish the rug. After hanging the skeins to dry, I spent a few hours punching also and am coming close to finishing everything but the borders. on the rug Well, perhaps that's pushing it just a little bit...but I'm definitely making good progress and I think the above statement will be true after one more day of work.
Once I wound the yarn, I amused myself by making a yarn-cake mandala on my iPhone. Love these fun iPhone apps...
It's too early to show my rug design, but a took a photo of a small part of the rug and ran it through another iPhone app to make a spiral.
Wow, these apps are powerful...I love this and only wish my rug could look like this! Quite amazing. (Indeed, my rug looks nothing like this at all.)
Honestly, some days it hardly feels like it was worth it to get out of bed. Today was one of those, creatively.
All I can see at the moment is what is wrong with this rug. Not only did I get nothing done on it, but I spent part of the day ripping out what I've already done, and then allowing myself to fall into a funk.
I broke my own rule which is: Just show up and do the work. So, that's my declared intention for tomorrow. I'll get up, meditate, and then work on the rug.
I will ignore the funk, and do the work. It's the only way that art gets done.
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
I could have titled this post:
What I noticed today, as I really dig in to this new piece, is the initial curiosity, restlessness, and insecurity of beginnings.
Oh sure, I liked my design on paper, where it looked so neat and tidy.
But in actually starting to produce the design in wool on monks cloth, I feel all the questions and doubts rushing forward.
Will I have enough yarn?
I don't know.
Did I choose the right colors?
I don't know.
Will the new techniques I want to use actually work?
I don't know.
Will unfamiliar yarns/fabrics/techniques add to or subtract from the effect?
I don't know.
Can I really mix those two fibers in the needle?
I don't know.
Does everyone create this level of utter chaos when working on something new?
I don't know.
Can I tolerate the mess everywhere, while I get this underway?
I don't know.
Am I doing this right?
I don't know.
...and on and on. I found myself taking frequent breaks from the work. Reading a book to distract myself. Going onto Facebook. Knitting. Running errands. Taking a nap.
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
It is very hard to tolerate this level of "I-don't-know-ness." I notice it every time I start something new.
And yet...there is something exciting about it as well. The novelty, the experimentation, the not-knowing if something is going to work, and when it doesn't work, the part where I figure out what will work.
Truth is, I don't know.
Indeed, things do happen in the dark. It's nearly midnight, and when I took the photograph below I realized that because I was punching without enough light, I am going to have to re-do this work tomorrow, when I have help from the sun.
But that's ok. I just wanted to get this rug underway, and I did!
What's wrong with it, you ask?
No worries. Easy enough to correct when I can see better. I freely admit this only reflects how desperate I was to get the piece started. There is a deadline (3.5 months away!), and though I believe <hope> the work will go quickly, I want to GET GOING.
Yesterday I drove nearly 7 hours to finish collecting materials I'll need to complete the design. Today I went into the studio and began punching on the edge. But as I suspected, the studio is so freaking hot that it is not possible to be working there during July and August. I took my frame apart and brought it home, setting it up in my air conditioned living room. Thank the Goddess for air conditioning, since the rest of the week is projected to have high heat and high humidity. Hardly an inspiration for working with wool!
Last night, when I got home after driving all those hours, I unpacked some of my swag (mixed in with my hand-dyed wool):
After breakfast with a good friend, I expect to repair what I did "in the dark" and I'm planning on making some real progress with the rug tomorrow. I'm designing as I go, in terms of colors and techniques, and I can't wait to see how it will come together!
And a happy Fourth of July to all in the USA. I am lazing about and having a quiet one; I'm also tidying up some of the many tasks on my to-do list. Everyone has left town. It's extremely quiet, and one telltale sign that it's a holiday weekend is the lack of traffic and a plethora of parking spots everywhere.
One of the tidying-up things was that I ran out of background yarn for an 8" sampler I was making (on the left above). So close...and yet so far. So, I dyed up a skein of yarn to match yesterday morning, and this morning I finished the punching:
I've gotten two other big tasks off my to-do list today, and made a good start on a third. This is one reason I love long lazy holiday weekends. Although I define them as "lazy" because I don't go out and do events, I usually get a tremendous amount done at home with minimum effort. I don't feel that I've been pushing at all, and yet I've accomplished a lot.
Long live holiday weekends. Especially summer holiday weekends when the weather is just perfect.
"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."
This is the last installment in the series on my experience at the week-long certification workshop at the Oxford Rug Hooking School in Cornwall Vermont last week.
I'll start with some pictures again--these are from Chris H, with his permission. They are photos he took on a brief walk he took up the dirt road just to the side of Amy's property. (I did not take a walk all week--unusual--and I lived to regret it, but that's another story. Note to self: Always take at least one walk a day...)
It really was that beautiful there, and it was that way all week. Sunny, warm but not too hot, low humidity, Kind of staggeringly beautiful.
Amy is a genius as an instructor. She had the entire week so well-planned...we introduced ourselves, talked about what makes a good instructor, and set goals. And then we set about meeting our goals for the week. Amy modeled the type of teacher we all hope to be. She was completely organized, but not rigid. She was great at time management, without making us feel we were on a "regimen." She told us what we'd be learning for each day--and then we actually learned it. And she had great handouts, clear and useful. The kind of handouts we can use with our own students.
At one point, the wonderful Diane Burgess came in for an entire morning to teach traditional rug hooking to those of us who had never tried our hands at that. Diane specializes in teaching traditional hooking to newbies.
Amy even managed to squeeze in a thorough lesson on photographing rugs, something I think we all needed to learn. (She's not mad here--the sun was so extraordinarily bright that she is squinting)
Every day she gave us tip after tip, provided lots of time to punch and to teach, taught new techniques, and then ended with a hilarious graduation ceremony. I managed to photograph most of us at graduation, but unfortunately couldn't photograph myself and because Kathleen came right after me, I couldn't get her photo either.
Here are the graduation pictures. Note the kazoo in Amy's mouth as we go through the process!
Since we didn't have caps and gowns, we pitched balls of novelty yarn in the air to finalize the celebration. And speaking of yarns:
Chris dyed up these colors before coming to the workshop and they caused a sensation. I think all of us used some of his yarns in our work last week, and I also think all of us took home one of the colors. Here are the colors he gifted us with.
I got to go home with the blue one, and just today used more of it to finish one of my homework assignments. Chris raises sheep at his home, and spins; he also has the fleece commercially spun into rug yarn, but the hand-dyed yarns he dyed that are pictured above were, I think, from KnitPicks; they weren't from his own sheep. Thanks, Chris, for letting us all take one of these home.
After graduation Amy gave us each a tiny charm, as well as our diplomas. I loved the charm and am already using it on my keychain.
When I left on Saturday, I left with inspiration, with a good-sized manual for techniques, with the work I'd completed during the week, with plenty of resources, with plenty of homework ahead of me to complete the certification, and with the confidence that I could continue to improve and to pass on this technique as needed.
I forgot to mention that part of the homework is to complete a rug of our own design within the next four months. We had all sketched out our designs in advance, and one of my very favorite parts of the workshop was when we shared them with each other. I think we were all stunned by the level of creativity shown. I was impressed and inspired by what I saw and can't wait to see the completed rugs.
Because we had worked so hard, had bonded, and had so much fun, we were all pretty emotional as we were leaving. I saw tears (and had a few myself) and although we were all eager to get home after such a long time away, there was substantial foot-dragging as we said goodbye.
My thanks to Amy, our incredible teacher, and to the school manager (and dyer extraordinaire) Heidi, who kept everything organized and running smoothly while we were there.
Final thoughts on all the inspirational, dear, creative people I met last week:
"When I find myself fading, I close my eyes and realize my friends are my energy." (Anonymous)
Thanks to all of you for making this such a wonderful experience.
...This is the third post in the continuing saga of my remarkable week in Cornwall, VT at the Oxford Rug Hooking School last week, with fellow students Bob, Chris, Jude, Kathleen, Patty, and Phyllis. (That's Chris's mug on the right.) In the last post I featured some pieces that Jude, Bob, and Kathleen brought along for show-and-tell. I will pick up today with Chris and Phyllis.
But first, Chris posted these lovely photos on his Facebook page, and he was kind enough to give me permission to show them here. The first two show the sign for the school and the building:
And now let's resume the show-and-tell, starting with Phyllis:
In the next post, I will finish up with additional photos and a short description of the experience. There is just no way to do it justice. A good teacher is a powerful and precious thing--as are good companions on the way. We were very lucky.
The Oxford Teacher Certification Workshop lasted seven days this month, and was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
It was also one of the most challenging things I've ever done.
For the first three days I wasn't sure I would survive it.
We tucked 60 hours of learning into 6.5 days, working from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, and often later.
When I hit the bed after class ended each day, I would try to read, but was soon fast asleep. It wasn't until Wednesday that I knew I could actually keep up the pace. (And in fact, it was easier after Wednesday. I got used to it.)
Am I making it sound bad? Far from it! It was rigorous--even tough--but it was superbly presented--I and my fellow 6 students were having the time of our lives and learning so much.
Amy Oxford is one of the kindest, most generous, smart, and funny teachers I've ever been fortunate to have. You cannot imagine a more gracious and supportive person. At the same time, she knows exactly how to get the job done and how to keep students motivated and working hard. But somehow, the way she does it, you never feel driven. You just want to produce.
It's a form of magic, I swear.
Here are additional photos from the week--enjoy! There will be more.
(Click on photos to biggify and to see captions)
I will stop here for the day. But consider: this was only the show-and-tell. Much more show-and-tell and much more of the workshop to come.
Yes, I am now an Oxford graduate.
Oxford Rug Hooking School, that is.
I'm pretty chuffed about having made it through the extraordinary week along with my wonderful classmates Kathleen, Patty, Bob, Jude, Phyllis, and Chris. But the fact that we've graduated from the certification training doesn't mean that we are certified...yet. Oh no! We still have a load of homework to do, and all of it will be very good training.
I'll be posting a bit more over the next few days about the experience, which was intense. Vermont was at its most beautiful while we were there--perfect weather with long sunny days, no humidity, not too hot. Great for working hard. We did. Here are some shots of the environment:
Through my very dirty car windshield, here's the view of the road over one of the passes through the Green Mountains on the way to Cornwall, VT. I think Vermont put on one of her best shows this past week. What a gorgeous place.
View from bedroom window. The road is Route 30. That tree appeared to be reaching out to give us a hug all week.
A partial view of the side yard, taken from the kitchen. On the left you can see the patio table and chairs; on the middle-right you can see the picnic tables. There were three gardens to view and lovely landscapes of the mountains. We ate a lot of meals out here while watching rabbits and chipmunks galore. Oh, and the birds...
I'll be posting more about the event...however, since coming home I've been dealing with:
"It's always something."
Now things seem to be calming down, so no more excuses; time to get back to work.
To be continued...
Beginning a new creative venture can be messy. Very messy. The photo above is my preliminary collection of some of the materials needed for a teacher certification workshop I'll be taking soon at Amy O's Oxford Rug Hooking School. I'm going to try to capture some of what I experience there, and the first part of the experience is this getting-ready-part.
Definitely messy! And this is even before I pack a suitcase with all the regular things I'll need, like clothing and toiletries, for a week away.
Frames, bags of tools, bags of yarn and wools, plus Amy's book and a few rugs for show and tell...and there's more to come. Packing the car for this event will be epic. I am very excited and more than a bit daunted. But I know Amy and I know her thorough, funny, and patient teaching, so I know I'll come out the other side very happy and creatively raring to go. Did I mention how excited I am?
I expect the messy pile above to spread, as I continue gathering all that's required.
"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order."
--Carl Gustav Jung
Ah, the process of finishing a punch-hooked rug! Poking, steaming, pinning, hemming...I did a second steaming last night to uncurl the border. I spent the morning cutting off yarn ends, then poking the motifs to get them to be where they are supposed to be. Then I pinned up the hem (second photo below) and will be starting to stitch it tomorrow. The first photo gives a good preview of what it will look like when it's done. Once I finish the hem, it will get one final good steaming...and that will be it.
I really enjoyed doing this rug. Too bad I have no place to put it! It's 6' x 3'. This is a bad photo on my sketchily-painted studio flooring:
"That's all there is; there isn't anymore."
"The song is ended, but the melody lingers on."
I think I'm astonished that I'm this close to finishing. I began dyeing the yarn for the rug in November; it took about 35-40 individually hand-dyed skeins. I began punching in early February, and am hoping to finish it (the hemming part) this week or next week. I love both punching and traditional rug hooking, but I could never have finished traditionally hooking a rug this size in that amount of time.
Last Friday I traveled up to Vermont with my studio-buddy, K, for a workshop on dyeing rug yarn. This was a long-scheduled trip. We headed off to our beloved Oxford Rug Hooking School and spent a weekend dyeing with Heidi Whipple, Manager and Master Dyer of the School, and one other student, the funny and wonderful Julie.
Friday night we simply settled in. I took a long walk in the fields behind the school, listening to the Redwing Blackbirds and Canada Geese in the high wind and slanting light of early evening. I felt so grateful to be able to be in such a gorgeous place. When you stay at the school, they think of everything and take great care of you.
Saturday we began our work. Here's a small portion of the dyeing room:
We spent all day Saturday on three techniques. The big challenge for me was the 8 value dyeing. Although I doubt I will use this much, or need it (but ya never know, eh?), I still wanted to learn it. Here were my results:
I admit to being chuffed. But it was a LOT of work. Very glad I know I can do this, "just in case."
And here is part of the method of creating what you see above. Double, double, toil and trouble...
Heidi and I both decided to try a recipe that appeared to be full of typos. Even though we had doubts, we thought we would try it "as written"; it involved applying the same color in the same amount three times. This doesn't sound like it would produce anything other than one color, right? That's gotta be an error.
See the little slideshow below for results.
Safe to say we weren't expecting that.
Sunday we went to work early and continued through lunch. We could have continued all day but with a 4+ hour drive home facing us, and all we had already learned, we were out of brain cells.
Results from the weekend:
Left-to-right: 1) The experiment with the odd recipe that turned out surprisingly well. 2) A "flat color" experiment in which I tried to achieve a mid-range value of a particular shade, and succeeded. It turned out the exact shade...to my surprise. 3 & 4) Two recipes using slightly different amounts of the same colors. Love both these results. 5) Underneath the four skeins is an antique punch needle from Denmark.
These goodies and the 8 skeins of green are what I brought home.
I am so grateful to Heidi for her teaching. And we were lucky that on Saturday Amy O stopped by briefly, along with Miss Lily, her long-haired dachshund. Any time I get to spend with Amy is always a gift.
After a very, very, VERY long ride home, I'm taking today to regroup. I can't say enough about what a magical place Amy and Heidi have created. It gives new meaning to the word "haven." If I lived any closer, I would probably be trying to move in.
Gratitude is my operative word as I think back on the weekend.
Woke up early today and by 9.30 a.m. had dyed one final skein of the background and was on my way to the studio. I'm now about 3" x 36" away from finishing. However, I may not get to work on the last bit for another week or two. I have other commitments (all of them wonderful) that will take up my time until then.
Last week (on the left) and today, seven days later (on the right):
Hmmm, have I mentioned that this is a large rug? [Only about 30 times already...]
Meanwhile, two of my favorite folks joined K and I at the studio on this rainy-windy-gloomy day, and we had a great time discussing how we would run the world, telling funny stories, and having the usual excellent discussion on rug hooking.
I continue to feel blessed by friends--each one generous, smart, and hilarious.
"Each friend represents a world in us. A world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." --Anais Nin
(If you have crazy friends, you have everything.)
I cranked up the Motown today while alternately standing and sitting to punch the rug, and was it ever fun! (If the above video doesn't play when you click on it, just click on the "view on YouTube button and another window will open and play it. You can listen and read at the same time.)
Martha Reeves (and the Vendellas) was one of my idols back in the day. Then there were all the other great songs...
"Dancing in the Streets," "Rescue Me," "I Heard It On the Grapvine," "R-e-s-p-e-c-t," "Up on the Roof..."
OMG, dance, dance, dance. Even when sitting down. How I miss Motown.
Thus, there will be an odd mix of Motown, assorted dharma talks, meditations, and the very long and wonderful George Eliot book Middlemarch (which I finished listening to a couple of weeks ago) woven into the fibers of this rug.
(Good mojo, I'm thinking.)
Tomorrow is likely to be very rainy and it might feel good to stay home and play with color. I may stay home to dye more yarn. Below are two views of the rug progress, plus a new tangle that I threw in at the very end.
A quick look at the back side of the rug, close up.
And here is the front. I spent 5 hours at the studio today and got a chunk more done. I am slowly moving toward being halfway finished with this very large rug (but am not there yet, not by any means). It's beginning to be hard to move it on the frame.
An experiment with some tangles. I had fun with this last night.
It's spring, right? Time to fall in love?
So, ok...I'm in love. I don't know if what I'm in love with is the rug itself, or just the process of working on it. I kind of suspect it's the latter. The rug will certainly get quite a few tweaks before it's done. I am really enjoying the work.
Sometimes it's hard to sleep at night, I'm having so much fun.
"Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy."
"In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag."
(W. H. Auden)
In all the time I've been making rugs and using gripper frames, I don't think I've ever done what I did today. I was moving the punch-hooked rug on the large frame and for the first time ever I cut both hands and bled all over the rug. As I said, jeez!
Fortunately, it only showed on the border, which will be entirely cut away as I begin binding.
Best of all, I have no pictures of this event, You won't be seeing it.
Despite that, I did accomplish one thing I've been meaning to do for a very long time:
...I created a Rube Goldberg solution to the problem of having to sit down the entire time while I work on the rug. [There really was a real Rube.] How's that (above) for making Rube proud of me?
Before I tucked it up, it looked like this...which gives you an idea of the size of this rug (some of the rug is hanging down in back of the frame and can't be seen):
I used these clamps from the Wool & Dye Works in Florence MA to neaten it all up:
By the time I left, it looked like this:
Yes, much neater. And since the frame is sitting on top of two plastic boxes, it's the perfect height for standing while punching. I can also easily lift it off the boxes and make it the perfect height for sitting and punching. My intention is to alternate sitting and standing, about a half an hour each, every time I work on the rug. Last week I sat down and punched for about 5 hours straight, and when I finally got up to go home I realized that was a very bad idea. Waaaaaay too much sitting.
I am pleased with this solution; I tried it out today and enjoyed myself.
And here is my new dye cabinet. It was cheap cheap cheap (and looks it, I know) and hardly elegant ($30 at Michael's with a coupon) but it rolls and it will do the trick. Plus the gaudy colored plastic drawers mean I can sort the dyes by color, making them easier to locate quickly. You can see the sorted jars sitting just inside.
When I was unable to go to the studio over the weekend, I made a bunch of additional Knitted Knockers. I love knitting for that cause. The picture below shows them un-stuffed. To see what they actually look like when ready to be used by mastectomy survivors, see my last post on this topic.
After sending off my last batch of Knitted Knockers, I got a postcard with a thank-you message.
Such a wonderful organization.
I only wish they hadn't bought into the entire "pink ribbon" thing, but unfortunately, most of the public doesn't know the disturbing history of the pink ribbon--not to mention the insult to Charlotte Haley and her inspiring, original project.
In case I didn't make it clear above, my hands are fine--no lingering injuries from those powerful gripper strips (or at least only minor ones that will have healed by tomorrow). A good reminder to be more careful when punching near the border of the rug.
It was one of those days. Without going into boring detail, I'll just say I made one of those mindless mistakes while punching today and punched an entire section wrong.
Oh, to be truly mindful! Apparently I wasn't.
So after realizing my error--and playing with the concept that occasionally, mistakes turn out better than the original idea--I knew that I really didn't like it and didn't want to leave it as it was. This particular mistake just didn't work out well.
So...out it all came. Punch needle hooking is very easy to un-do. But then I had to re-do. It all worked out, but for the hours I put in today, I didn't get very far. Here's the way the rug looked as I was leaving. This is the overall view (you can see I'm not even halfway done yet, not even close to halfway!):
In the left bottom corner of the photo you can just see the rest of the foundation that is hanging off the table. The rug is about 40"x72".
Really all I got done today was the second moon. There are four moons altogether. Here is a closeup:
I went looking for a quote with which to console myself.
"Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness."
(T. H. Huxley)
Last week I worked on the red and black scrappy rug, which I am traditionally hooking with wool strips.
This week it's back to the punched rug for a bit, using yarn that I dyed by hand.
Back and forth. Get stuck on one, work on the other. Get tired of that one, work on the first again.
I was stuck on this Moon Runner rug, gave it about ten days off, and now, after much pulling-out and re-punching, here it is today:
I'm very much in experimental mode here. I ripped out all three clouds and re-punched them yesterday and today...I know that before I make any decisions about whether this is working or not, I need to fill in a lot more. Right underneath this is another moon, and another small cloud--I will see how it looks after I get those two motifs punched, along with much more background.
By the time I get all that done (and that won't even be half the rug!) I think I'll be able to tell what's working and what isn't. That's the working theory, anyway!
Trial and error...trial and error...
I SHOULD be doing my taxes.
I AM doing some tangling, which I have sorely missed...
I enjoyed doing this, although perhaps didn't do such a great job on shading. And that's just fine, since it's been so long since I've done any tangling at all I'm happy with whatever I produce at this point. Gotta start somewhere. Oh my gawd does it feel good to be drawing, again. So meditative.
What can't be grasped in this photo is the actual size of what I've done. This small-looking section is nearly the size of a regular hooked rug already.
(Most hooked rugs are about 2' x 3')
Before I realized this, I was beginning to flag, thinking that I hadn't accomplished much. But then when I spread out the rug today, I remembered what a huge piece this is going to be, and ended up being quite impressed by how much I've gotten done. If I were making a regular sized rug, I would nearly be finished. I am guessing I am only about 1/5th done, if that.
I've been listing to dharma talks and meditations as I punch. While I cannot do the meditations in classic fashion while I work on the rug, listening to them emphasizes the meditative nature of rug hooking/rug punching. The rhythmic nature of this art lends itself perfectly to tranquility and mindfulness.
How lucky am I, to be able to spend my time this way?
"...illumines this world like the moon freed from a cloud...'
Finally getting this rug very much underway. Still figuring things out. The best part is that the yarn I dyed yesterday finally matches the color I was going for. I'm not sure it will continue to look like this, but here is the beginning.
Between doing the blogging here on the Tarot Rugs, which took nearly two months, and then doing a huge amount of yarn dyeing for this rug, I've had to set aside all drawing and tangling. I can't wait to get back to having a pencil in my hand.
Outside, all day today:
Inside, all day today:
Results of all this messiness:
As Heidi Whipple (the dyeing teacher who taught me this method) says:
"Each skein is its own dye lot."
So true! I look forward to seeing if these will match what I need. Sure hope so. I want to move forward on my rug and I can't if I didn't match these well enough. It's nail-biting time!
Update the following day: YES!!! They match. Very excited.
I was recently away for seven days on another lovely, extraordinary silent meditation retreat at IMS in Barre. When I returned, I still had four posts to write in order to finish chronicling the Tarot Rug Project. Finally I got that done--it felt so good to complete. Since then, I've needed to catch my breath and catch up with the rest of my life.
This week I finally got back to the studio, and began to sort out how I'm going to handle this gigantic (for me it's gigantic, 3' x 6') Moon Runner, also known as the Moon and Clouds rug. I dyed all the background (and blogged about it here and here, as well as in a few other posts). Got all that done back in November, but I hadn't tried out the test colors I dyed for the moon or clouds. So in the last three days, I've done some experimenting. Here was my first try at a cloud:
I kind of liked it, but wasn't convinced. What was it missing?...it seemed too dull to me. But I beavered on, and today I tackled one of the moons:
...and finally got most--not all--of it done:
...and now, yes, the cloud is definitely too dull. But I think I'm loving the moon! And the cloud is very fixable; it just needs more yellow.
Am not certain how the moon will look against the background, but there is only one way to find out. More work on this tomorrow. I am getting WAY excited about this rug.
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