NOTE: Skip to the bottom of this post for answers to basic questions about the show--where to see it, how long it will be at each venue, how to bring it to your town, and more. To start at the beginning of this series of posts, go HERE.
Any tarot deck tells the story of the Fool's Journey.
It is the story of every person; the tarot tells our story--a very human story.
What is tarot? Objectively, it's just 78 pieces of cardboard covered with images that have been drawn and redrawn by humans for centuries. Pretty simple, right? But more about that in another post.
Let's start by looking at a well-known image of The Fool tarot card, which carries the number Zero.
Everything. All of it.
Nothing. None of it.
The story of the tarot is the story of the Fool's Journey. Of our own journey through our lives. The Fool will travel through 21 stages, growing and learning with each stage. The journey is too rich and complex to cover in a short blog--many books have been written on the subject (as well as an awful lot of wrong-headed trash). Perhaps in a future post I'll list some of the better ones.
The Fool is an innocent, and sets out on the Journey with no expectations, no plan. Much as we do as infants. The Fool is a great example of what is known in Buddhism as Beginner's Mind.
"When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have." - Stephen Hawking
The Fool simply acts in response to each moment, knowing that whatever happens will result in learning and growth. And somehow, Fools are protected. They are even considered sacred, like the famous Jesters in history who could get away with imitating anyone, even a King or Queen.
HOW DID THIS TAROT RUG PROJECT BEGIN?
Our two guiding Journey-ers and heroines for the Tarot Rug Project are Michele Micarelli and Loretta Scena, who conceived of, recruited the artists for, organized, and grounded the project at its formal opening in Vermont this month. Can we get a huzzah for these smart, inspired, fabulous rug artists? Here they are:
That is Loretta on the left and Michele on the right.
Michele and Loretta are both highly respected artists, designers, and teachers. They also work in other media. To see some of their extraordinary pieces, go HERE for Michele's website and HERE for Loretta's website. Enjoy the eye candy! Gratitude also goes to their families, without whom Loretta and Michele wouldn't have been able to get the staggering amount of work it took to organize and mount this exhibit done.
Another heroine in this journey is Rae Harrell, who found the venue I wrote about in yesterday's post, the amazing location in Vermont for the Opening. Here's Rae:
Rae is an artist in several media and you can view her work HERE. As with Loretta and Michele, she is a well-known rug artist, designer, maker, and teacher.
and now...BACK TO THE FOOL'S JOURNEY
Let’s get to the first rug in the exhibit--The Fool, number Zero. Here is Diane Philips’ interpretation of the card in her rug, side by side with the original Rider-Waite-Smith image.
To learn more about Diane, go HERE for a terrific article on her work by Rug Hooking Magazine. I've been lucky enough to take a class with her and see many of her rugs in person; she's a funny, smart, wonderful woman and an incredible artist.
Here is a quote that applies to the Fool:
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship is for.”
— Thomas Aquinas
And isn't that true for all of us? Since I don't want to spoil what Diane wrote in the catalog of the exhibit (you can find out how to get a catalog below, and note that the proceeds go to help the rugs travel to different venues), I'll just say she has captured the innocence, playfulness, and wisdom of the Fool. I love the addition of our entire planet, which her Fool seems to be blessing or protecting. And that dog! Can we guess that it's Diane's dog, or one that she loves or has loved?
We now begin our own journey through these tarot rugs, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. I don't believe tarot is very effective for fortune-telling, and the many abuses of tarot by fortune tellers is something we all know about. My preference is to use tarot as a way to stimulate our inner wisdom. In this case, that is Fool's Wisdom, or Beginner's Mind.
As you look at Diane's rug, and at the original card, ask yourself:
What do you notice about Diane's interpretation--what strikes you? Please leave a comment for her and others to read.
A final word in this post, before I get to some Frequently Asked Questions: Loretta is collecting stories by the artists who worked on these rugs. There were some very intriguing life experiences that artists had as they created their rugs, each relating to the particular card that the artist had been assigned. If you are one of the artists and you have an anecdote about something that happened to you as you designed and created your rug, related to the symbolism in the card, please email your story to Loretta (her email is in the FAQ below) so that she can compile them. She may get a book or at least a wonderful article out of these stories. We heard some good ones at the Opening!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
HOW DO I GET A CATALOG?
IF I WANT TO BRING THE SHOW TO MY TOWN, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
River House Rugs
Petit Riviere, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Hooked Rug Museum of North America
Hubbards, Nova Scotia
February 1- February 28 2017
The Barron Art Center
Woodbridge, New Jersey
October 29-November 30
The Athens Cultural Center
Athens, New York
October 19-23 2016
Green Mountain Guild Rug Show
Essex Junction, Vermont
August 15-20 2016
Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village
September 1-24 2016
Dorchester Center for the Arts
...that's it so far. More dates/locations to be added!
NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: THE MAGICIAN.
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