See description of this workshop below. This was the result for me; I ran my black & white photo of the cutouts I did during the workshop through the Painnt app on my phone, with this result. I used construction paper and then parked the cutouts in this arrangement on a sheet of white background. Painnt did the rest. I converted the photo to b&w in order to let Painnt do its job.
I am in love with the London Drawing Group, a trio of women dedicated to doing and teaching art. When I saw this workshop on Matisse's cutouts--only £7 or about eleven bucks, and only 1 hour--I thought, what a great way to stimulate creativity. So I signed up and had an absolute blast. We made a number of cutouts in only 60 minutes, only a few of which I used for this photo. Here's the black and white version from my phone before I ran it through the Painnt app posted above this paragraph:
But I wasn't alone in attending. There were people from all over the globe. Two of them were good friends from my rug hooking groups--I had contacted them to tip them off in advance to the workshop and they both signed up. We all knew it would have immediate uses for rug design. And it certainly did.
Here is the work of one of my buddies, Kathleen K., who also attended. Rather than cutting paper, she cut her shapes directly from wool fabric. I love her results. She gave me permission to post this:
And below is the contribution from Lynda F, another rug hooking buddy who also gave me permission to use her photo:
Construction paper cutouts--they can be arranged in so many different ways. Thanks to Lynda F for allowing me to use her results and this photo! If you notice similarities between our cutouts in these photos, it's because we all worked from the same photo models during the workshop. Only our individual cutting techniques created differences. But the possibilities are truly endless.
"I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish."
This lovely lovely mirror (with a portion of mirror part papered over to minimize distraction) was designed and made by a much-adored and longtime friend of mine, Paula Garbarino. The inscription, "Il faut fertiliser notre jardin," can be translated to mean, "We must pollinate our garden." Thus the honeybees, a favorite of mine.
That sentiment can be taken on so many levels. The garden of friendship. The garden of kindness. The garden of interconnectedness with each other. The garden of the Earth itself. We all need to pollinate, to tend, and to care for each other and for the Earth.
We all know how hardworking a honeybee is. Indeed it often takes a lot of work to tend and care for each other, especially at a troubled, stressful time like the time we are in now.
Normally Paula designs and makes fine-art furniture, and marquetry--a form of "painting with wood," is one of her specialties. She has been at it for decades and I hope you'll take time to go to her website and browse her luscious designs in the photo gallery there. Her work has been displayed in museums and is owned and collected by numerous people.
She does not normally make small pieces like this, though she has made a few. This mirror, about 17x10", showed up unannounced in my mail as a gift about two weeks ago and it took me a while to determine a place in my home to hang it so that I could see it frequently every day.
I am one very lucky friend indeed. Much gratitude to Paula. You are yourself quite like a honeybee--incredibly hardworking, kind, and of course, always building something oh-so-sweet.
Here it comes. Right on schedule, too. I saw a few of these beauties on the path of my morning walk. All the trees are still looking green and lush, but this is evidence of what will be here soon enough.
The weather has turned from horribly humid to dry and cool-ish, although that won't last. Fine with me, as I prefer it. I don't believe summer is quite done with us yet, however.
My latest meditation course (I'm teaching) appears to be off to a good start with absolutely wonderful students, all of them Certified Zentangle® Teachers (CZTs). I am always reminded how CZTs are some of the kindest people anywhere. It's a pleasure to get to know this group.
I'm also aware that today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11, a nightmarish day with a nightmarish aftereffect. A good friend lost her brother on one of the hijacked planes that day. His family will never be the same. May all those connected with that event continue to heal as much as possible.
It's a bit early for the following poem, but I cannot resist. I'm having autumn thoughts today.
Song for Autumn
by Mary Oliver
Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now
how comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for
the fires that will come—six, a dozen—to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow?
stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
The big: I spotted this amazing old stove for sale in the window of a business downtown today. Imagine having to polish this! Holy cow. But it's such a great example of what the workmanship of every day objects used to be like.
And the small: I dyed ten grams of yarn this afternoon; that's hardly anything! But I'm still working on binding my rug and don't want to end up with a large amount of yarn that I likely wouldn't use for other projects.
The thing I love about the Wooly Mason Jar Dyeing system is that it allows you to do this and reliably replicate a color. No matter how large or small the amount. The entire project today, start to finish, took me no more than 10 minutes, including heating in the microwave. It's a Canadian small business and Lucy, who created and runs it, is a dyeing genius. Thanks, Lucy!
Ooops, I forgot to include this great poetry I spotted on Facebook this morning. I wish I could attribute this to the author but I don't know who wrote it.
The final photos from Deerfield's (MA) Memorial Hall Museum. Enjoy. See the previous 5 posts for the rest.
This post has some additional textiles and some non-textile surprises.
More photos from the recent show which included pieces from their permanent collection, at the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, MA.
See the previous four posts for more goodies.
I'm pretty sure this was called "The Last Rose of Summer," and is in their permanent collection. Embroidered.
More from the Memorial Museum's current exhibit in Deerfield MA. For the start of this series, see the previous post.
This may just look like a fussy quilt. But look closer. And look at the next 2 pictures (the white orbs are reflections of ceiling lights--the quilt is under glass). The closer you look, the more impressive it gets. Although I still wouldn't choose to own it, I can admire the EXTREME workmanship. See next photo.
Yes, that is my index finger NEARLY but not quite touching the quilt. I would not touch a textile of this type and age at this point. The finger is there to show you the size of the pieces. Smaller than my much less than 1/2" wide fingernail. I mean, these pieces--all hand sewn together--are 1/4" or LESS in size. Now go back up to the first picture and have another look at how many pieces this quilt contains. Mind-boggling. Story of the quilt in the next photo.
A haiku from Dave Hayes the Weather Nut that is perfect for tonight, across our troubled continent:
Fireflies light up;
The Milky Way Galaxy
appears in the fields.
Dave writes haikus frequently and posts them to his Facebook Page; they are always wonderful. Today is Juneteenth; a good time to contemplate this poem. Perhaps the fireflies and the Milky Way will light our way through all this darkness.
I am heartbroken over losing a good friend to COVID 19. She had a long, gruesome struggle and it's finally over. At some point about two weeks ago it became obvious that she was too damaged to come back to us, but the struggle went on. And on. And on. Horrible. She finally died last week and I have to say I was relieved on her behalf. Now the grief sets in.
But, there are still plenty of other wonderful people in the world. One in particular--my 97 year old next door neighbor--called me last evening and told me she wanted me to come over to her property and cut myself a bouquet of her lilacs, "Since you don't have any on your land." I went over this morning and did just that. She even loaned me her garden shears. I adore her, and she has absolutely no idea that I just lost a friend. But somehow, she reached out anyway. It just made my entire day.
You can imagine--I hope--the fabulous scent spreading through my home from her marvelous lilacs. Thank you, Erm! Kindness makes all the difference.
I've learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.
This is indeed a silent spring, though not entirely in the way Rachel Carson envisioned in her book. I mean the term literally: traffic is down, people are staying in their homes, all due to Covid 19. It's very quiet out there. For all the suffering and misery it is causing, and the fear, the few benefits from this pandemic experience are mighty: the lowering of air pollution, the increased awareness of our interconnection with others. New appreciation for nature as many people are getting out on walks, not to mention sleeping longer, spending more time with kids and pets.
In honor of that I include two photos friends have sent me, of two marvelous harbingers of spring.
I always enjoy these wonderful reminders of Spring when I see them in the woods. This year for a number of reasons I won't be in the woods, so it was lovely to get the photographs.
Yesterday I got a small package with something I had ordered from Etsy. Inside were the things I had ordered, along with a slip of paper I found utterly charming:
What a fun message. And I'm sure it's true.
If you, like me, are "Staying Home to Save Lives" during this pandemic, and if you're ordering things online I hope you'll consider buying from a small business when that is possible. You know they need the help.
(And no, I do not sell online. But I do like to buy from small businesses when I can.)
This is a photo of a line of people about 40 long, each practicing social distancing, outside a grocery store at 8.15 this morning as I was waiting to get in to buy food. We almost never see this sort of thing in the USA. Strange times for all of us the world over. At the same time, I was grateful that food was available and I had the money to buy it. Not everyone does.
With apologies for the bad photography, I wanted to experiment with Lynn Meade's tangle Fassett for an upcoming class. Fassett is based on triangles. Here is Fassett done on four Bijou tiles (2x2"), each tile with an increasing number of triangles. (The class will only be doing the very first one on the far left)
And here below are the four strings that I used to create the four tiles. You can see the number of triangles increasing in each.
Fun to experiment like this.
My form of church, that is.
I left very early today to meet a friend and fellow textile artist on a rural road 45 minutes from my home. Each with rugs in tow. Our goal was to drape the rugs we brought over the stone wall that looks over a meadow and then down, down, down into a huge reservoir (part of which is just barely visible over the tops of the trees and under the surrounding hills) and get a decent photo. I ran the resulting picture thru an iPhone app and got this. I'm pleased. It's a mix of a few of my rugs and a few of her rugs.
This picture describes my spiritual life--the natural world plus a meditative form of craft such as traditional rug hooking.
The light, the earth, the stones, the colors, the sun, the clouds, the wind, the water, the trees, the hills.
I can't think of a better place to be on a Sunday morning in the autumn.
“The sun shines not on us but in us.”
― John Muir
Yesterday I asked my neighbor if she knew what the flowering, beautifully scented bush was in our front yard (we didn't plant it) and she said yes: Clethra. I thought she said "plethora" and assumed she was referring to the high number of fabulous blossoms. But no, she was naming Clethra alnifolia, also known as the sweet pepperbush or "summersweet." I love that last name.
Summersweet is incredibly seductive to honeybees and butterflies, both of which I've seen--a "plethora" of them--since it began to bloom a few weeks ago. And the scent...oh, the scent is so lovely. I feel honored to be in the presence of this plant. I remember it bloomed the first summer I moved here, but not last year. What a treat to have it make such a big comeback this year. Here's a blossom from our front yard.
There were so many honeybees and other cuties drinking from the flowers that I'm surprised I didn't have to beat any of them back to get this photo but this one stem was not being worked just as I snapped the shutter. Lots of Monarch butterflies and other butterflies around it also this year. It's a good year for the Monarchs around here--god knows they need a good year. And the bees as well.
Advice from a Honeybee
Create a buzz.
Sip life's sweet moments.
Mind your own beeswax.
Always find your way home.
Stick close to your honey.
Always bee yourself.
I hasten to say here that I am simply following along with the Project Pack videos as I draw, so these compositions are copies of what is on the videos, not my original compositions. 99% of what I post here is original to me, but sometimes, when I don't have the mojo--which has been happening lately for unknown reasons--it's just so relaxing to follow along and copy-to-learn-from someone else's work. I always attribute the work to the originator, as I've done here and for my last several posts.
Before I retired, I often wore pins as a decoration when I went to my office. But now that I spend my time in jeans and t-shirts, the pins are languishing. Here is a pin I never wore, a cameo. I love it (and used to have a much larger one which was far more lovely, but it was stolen during a break-in at my former residence) but I never wore it. Not once. I simply had it because it reminded me of some positive things from my childhood. Since it was just languishing away, I re-purposed it onto a card with some tangling. I may put it into a shadow-box frame.
This may or may not be a genuine cameo (there are plenty of plastic fakes out there) but it doesn't matter to me. It has sentimental value.
tWhat is the use of seeking advice if one doesn't listen? This was my card for Monday (I love these cards, more info below). But did I listen? No. Instead of cocooning after a tiring week away, I spent the day in 5 degree Farenheit weather running around from event to event. Now, all the events were good ones. I'm just lucky, though, that my good friends were able to put up with my grumpy self.
Because trust me, I was grumpy. Overtired, overscheduled, and grumpy. Very bad planning on my part. Good thing I have long-suffering friends.
The cards (these are not tarot cards, just wonderful little cardboard coaches):
Remember the very strange story of the hula girl figure from last August/September ? (click here to refresh your memory) She mysteriously appeared atop our mailboxes one day, stayed a few weeks, then disappeared. But she reappeared in September (it's all in the link above).
Here is a photo of how she looked then (just below).
But read on to see how she looked as of this morning...
She was appropriately (if scantily) dressed back then.
It is now November and we have already had two snowstorms...and winter's barely begun.
On my way to do some errands this morning I stopped at the mailbox and...
I nearly swallowed my tongue laughing when I spotted this:
A few years back, I was fortunate enough to get a copy of C.G. Jung's The Red Book. It is a gigantic, larger-than-coffee-table volume. I just acquired a music stand/lectern-type piece of cherry furniture on which I can finally display it and have begun looking through it. It is inspirational--just for the paintings, and I haven't even started to read yet. One of the paintings inspired me to do this sun-and-moon linework on a Zentangle® tile.
It's my second entry this week for Diva's Challenge #368, in which she asked us to focus on straight lines (see yesterday's post for the first version). It is so relaxing.
This is the original tile, without the rosy-glow added by the filter. I like them both.
The essence of drawing is the line exploring space.
See this previous entry for the start of this story...
Does she look a little different to you?
Indeed, she is much smaller. After I complained to my neighbors that the original had appeared and then disappeared without any of us knowing how or why, and expressed disappointment that we couldn't keep her on the mailbox, one of my neighbors bought us a new Hula Girl. And a 2nd neighbor contributed two rubber duckies. So last night I glued them all in place, in the hopes that they will stay awhile. A 3rd neighbor commented, "It's a good thing it doesn't take much to keep us amused." True. It's a VERY quiet neighborhood!
As you can see from my previous post (the link is at the top of this one), the mysterious appearance of Hula Girl in the first place (a genuine Whodunnit) was only rivaled by her equally mysterious disappearance several days later. When she came back--much smaller, it must be said (she must have been on a diet)--she arrived with a post-it note that said, "I've just gotten back from Hawaii."
That would be Hawaii-via-Hollywood, as the previous post details.
Yep, doesn't take much to amuse us here in the boonies. We are a quiet bunch. But as I said previously, I do love my neighborhood.
As I drove out of my street yesterday I passed our mailboxes and nearly drove off the road when I spotted this:
Her mysterious arrival cracked me up. I was out all day but when I drove home at dusk, there she was to greet me. She had survived a couple of torrential downpours and looked fine.
Two of my neighbors were sitting on their porches and a quick survey revealed that while everyone has noticed her, no one would take responsibility for putting her there.
I love it.
We're all wondering how long she will last, as we have heavy bicycle, scooter, dog-walking, running, and leisure strolling that goes past this mailbox every day.
Some mysteries are just fun, and don't need to be solved.
UPDATE, posted on August 20th:
Alas, this morning the Hula Girl (aka "loose woman" as a friend referred to her) has disappeared. And just when I was planning on glue-ing her to the top of the mailboxes so that she would be a permanent resident. Darn, I missed my chance and she's now gone. Curses! "Easy come, easy go," I guess. I will miss her.
UPDATE, posted on August 26th:
My tangling buddy Susie Ng in Thailand just sent me the following message, which has solved all questions about Hula Girl's disappearance:
"I know you are not going to believe this, but I saw your loose woman. Have you seen the trucker movie Joyride 3? She appears about 10 min into the film and only for 2-3 seconds, when the front credits start. I am not kidding. Straw skirt and a guitar or whatever that is.
Anyway, now we know where she is (or has been) and that she once had a Hollywood engagement."
Really, you cannot go anywhere these days without being spotted and identified online. And from the other side of the planet! Priceless.
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.
Who doesn't hate to miss a good parade?
My buddy P emailed me this picture only minutes after I'd driven away from her house today. My car had been parked just feet from where the picture was taken. (For outside-the-USA-readers, today is Memorial Day in the US, when most towns have parades to thank veterans.) She's located about 1/4 mile away from the center of town.
Ok, so this was not the parade I was expecting, but I'm so sorry I missed it!
Getting ready for teaching Zentangle® this week, I did the two tiles above. These are not tangles I'm planning on teaching tomorrow but were fun to do as warmups.
Meanwhile, here are additional pictures of that fabulous parade.
“He wasn't like the other bears. While everyone else was hibernating, he would be out putting on his sneakers.”
The photo above is a picture of Barbara Demorest, who founded Knitted Knockers, my absolute favorite things to knit. She's sitting on a pile of (as-yet-unstuffed) Knockers. I added to the pile this morning when I mailed off over 60 Knockers I made--I sent them to her organization to distribute, free, to cancer survivors who've had mastectomies. This is such a rewarding and compelling reason to knit.
Below you can see what a Knocker looks like once it's been stuffed with polyester. So much better than the silicone/plastic prostheses, which are heavy and can promote sweating and irritation. Knitted Knockers are light, airy, washable, and more closely resemble a genuine breast.
Let me allow Barbara and her organization to explain, as they can do it much better than I can.
If you've had a mastectomy, I hope you will contact the organization and ask for a free Knitted Knocker.
And if you're a knitter, I certainly hope you will volunteer to make a few of these. If you do, be sure to go to the organization's website to find a zillion patterns (knitted or crocheted, and many options for how to make them) and a list of "approved yarns." Using only approved yarns is very important, as only certain fibers can be tolerated next to delicate and/or healing skin. Thank you for considering this!
Here's the bag I sent to the organization this morning. It's absolutely stuffed to the gills with Knockers I've made while watching tv in the evenings. So easy to do, and so helpful to breast cancer survivors.
So...watch the people walking into the Spring Bulb Show at Smith College. Everyone walking up to the door has a preoccupied or blank look; then as the door opens and they enter, the looks shift to shock, ecstasy, utter delight, and might even be accompanied by shrieks of, "Wow!" or, "Ahhhhhhh...!" as the scent of hundreds of hyacinths and a million other types of bulbs hits the nose. OMG, the smell, the fabulous smell. It hits you the moment the door opens and never quits as you view the show. It's the scent of Spring. There is just nothing like it.
Below are some pictures, unfortunately unaccompanied by smell-a-vision. If only.
...and tomorrow we are due to get a foot of snow. But what the heck--today proved that spring is on the way. Just outside the greenhouses I saw crocus and snowdrops blooming. It's on the way, it's on the way!
When I went to my last local rug hooking meeting, I only expected to work on my rug and have fun.
I had NO IDEA what would be waiting for all of us who attended.
We were treated to an incredible show of rugs from Turkey, China, and Iran by one of the members, Elizabeth Vierling. Dr. Vierling is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, but she is also a rug maker and clearly has a passion for textiles. I took a million photographs...unfortunately my memory of her very informative commentary on the origins and purposes of each piece is fading fast, but here are some of the photos. Enjoy!
I believe this first piece was from Turkey. It is very large and I think Elizabeth uses it as a rug in her home. It is embroidered, using a couching stitch I think (see detail in last photo). Probably circa mid 20th-century.
The color work is just sensational. After ogling the piece (above) for a good long while, we all decided we are not using enough orange in our own designs.
Apologies in advance to Elizabeth for how much I have already forgotten of what she said about each textile. Her commentary on where she located each one, where and how each was created, and what each may have been used for, was fascinating. But in the week since I saw these works, all of her commentary has started to slide right out of my head. Darn!
If memory serves me--which likely it doesn't--below are two clothing panels embroidered by the Miao people of China (one of China's long-suppressed minority groups, now finally beginning to emerge and be recognized for their rich history and cultural treasures).
And if that weren't enough, there was more, and more still...click on each thumbnail to progress through the items, or just hit "Play."
One of the most dramatic textiles was the one below. I loved these tiny aliens. The work is so beautiful, and the colors vibrant. Each thumbnail has a different view (or you can just hit "Play").
Elizabeth travels for academic conferences, and is occasionally able to extend the travel time in order to take in more of the culture of the countries she is in. This is why she has been able to explore and research textiles on some of her trips.
Aren't we fortunate--those of us who were there to see this show? With thanks to Elizabeth for letting me photograph and post the photos, for her lively talk and especially for lugging all the heavy, bulky textiles to the meeting. All of her hard work resulted in a fabulous experience for the rest of us.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator, meditation teacher 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