You told me about your cancer diagnosis this fall, and I was devastated. I had hoped to someday visit your remote part of the world, and see some of the beautiful places that you have been photographing. I wanted to spend more time with you, since I felt a connection to you when we met.
You have the most amazing attitude towards this insidious disease. You say that you've lived a wonderful life, but when I read your post on your birthday, it filled me with sadness. You said that you started off the day taking morphine for the pain, and then vomiting. And yet, you asked for no sympathy, so I read many positive and uplifting words from your friends. You are a friend and a teacher.
I went off to my meditation group. While I was there, I practiced metta meditation, which is repetition of a Buddhist saying, "May all Beings be happy. May all Beings be safe. May all beings be at ease. May all beings awaken to the light of their own true nature. May all beings be free." (Or a variation of this.) You say it directed to yourself, then to a loved one, and a person who you are neutral about. Then you can direct it to someone you are experiencing difficulties with, and finally, all beings.
While I was thinking this, you came to my mind, as needing some recognition. I then realized that I could also make the phrase tangible through a combination of my art practices.
At home, I went through my decorative papers, and found a piece of calligraphy paper that I had decorated with a Japanese marbling technique called suminagashi. It involves dropping small amounts of ink from a paintbrush onto water in a tray. Then you lay a piece of paper on it, and the paper absorbs the ink in a variety of patterns.
I wrote a metta dedicated to you on my suminagashi paper. Then I prepared it to create a paper cord. I cut the paper into a continuous strip, softened it, and then spun it. Just so everyone knows, commercial calligraphy paper isn't the best for spinning. (At the art stores, it comes in a pad or roll.)
The metta paper cord is now part of a little basket. The bottom portion is bamboo fiber 'paper,' which I love because you can see little flecks of the bamboo sheaths or leaves still in the paper. Also, some parts of the bowl are translucent. The upper portion starts out with waxed linen, then the metta paper cord, and ending in waxed linen again. It's all done in knotless netting.
So this piece is dedicated to you, and all others needing some healing.
In gratitude, Donna
I've also written this saying on other woven pieces, like the one below.
You can see part of the writing on the top portion of the leaf.
How do you incorporate compassion and caring into your art?