Thursday, January 4, 2018

Meditation Insight

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?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Empty Boats

"There's a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him.

At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening. Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.

He begins to yell, "Hey, hey, watch out! For Pete's sake, turn aside!" But the boat just comes right at him faster and faster. By this time he's standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him. He sees that it's an empty boat.

This is the classic story on our whole life situation. There are a lot of empty boats out there.

We're always screaming and shaking our fists at them. Instead, we could let them stop our minds. Even if they only stop our mind for one point one seconds, we can rest in that little gap.

When the story line starts, we can do the tonglen practice of exchanging ourselves for others. In this way everything we meet has the potential to help us cultivate compassion and reconnect with the spacious, open quality of our minds."

Pema Chodron 

Empty Boats-micaceous clay, shifu (handspun paper yarn weaving)




Monday, August 28, 2017

Micaceous Clay

I purchased a small Weber charcoal grill for a little experimenting with clay.  Thanks to the internet, there are instructions galore!  Here are 2 mini pots I made.  They are tiny because I didn't want to make larger items that might break during the firing.  The pieces below have been polished with  a smooth stone. 

Mini pot and stone polisher

After a week of drying, I loaded the grill with charcoal and cooked these guys for about 45 minutes.  Here's how they turned out, with more polishing. (They were only covered with more charcoal.)
This one turned completely black.  I wrapped it in 2 layers of aluminum foil.  I like how you can still see the mica flakes.     
I made this larger piece for coiling:
Then I took it to Georgie's in Eugene for the bisque fire.  Here's the finished item with additional polishing, coiled with Midwest sweetgrass.  The pottery is smooth to the touch and smells good, too!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sou'wester Lodge

On Sun. evening, I started an artist in residence at the Sou'wester Lodge, in Seaview, WA.  Yes, this is my second visit there.  Last time was in March 2016, so I won't bore you with the details.  However, here is a link to their fantastic artist in residence program.
We had lovely weather; sunny and in the 70's for the first 3 days.  I was able to prepare some bark for those of you signed up for one of my Labor Day weekend workshops at the Sou'wester: 
If you haven't signed up yet, there's still time!

I also made some new trays, which I instantly added to the decor of my beach cabin.
Inner willow bark, reclining on a whale rib!
Curly filbert twigs with assorted twines, hanging and reclining.

Whale vertebra; no osteoporosis here!

The other workshop is my Japanese basket purse, or kinchaku kago, which was featured years ago in Belle Armoire magazine. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fascinating Fiber Finds at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum

I spent last week visiting Doug at Mesa Verde.   I went on his Long House tour, and then my physical body went on strike.  I think it was a lack of sleep, high altitude, anemia, and heat.  Anyways, I'm not going to go into details, but it wasn't a fun situation.

However, I did enjoy my visit to the Chapin Mesa museum.  Now that I'm home, I wish that I would have arranged a study visit with the museum staff.  Oh well maybe next time.  Here's a little teaser of what you can see there.  (I concentrated mostly on the yucca and hair pieces.)

a new friend

The best private view, stayed here for 2 nights.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

sakiori pouch

Here's the pouch that I started on the mini loom!  It didn't actually take me a month to make.  I just couldn't figure out how I wanted to sew up this long, thin band. (If you don't know what sakiori is, see my previous post.)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A new toy!

I've been eyeing this cute little rigid heddle loom for over a year now.

 This spring, I decided to take the plunge.  Here's my first project, a sakiori sash.
Don't worry, I know there's a warping error.  I was watching a youtube video about warping a loom by yourself, and messed up.  I'm glad that the warps will be covered in this piece.

So what is sakiori? Here's a good description from Sri.  Sakiori weaving uses a rag weft against a warp of either bast fiber or cotton. The weft material is often made from shredded kimono or other recycled garments which can be of cotton, silk or other material. Sakiori clothing was first woven by Japanese peasants around 1750 for its warmth and durability as newly minted cotton cloth at that time was too rare and expensive for a farmer or fisherman. The home manufacture and use of sakiori clothing and hearth covers in rural areas of Japan disappeared anywhere from 50-100 years ago, although a few individuals and some historical preservation societies still weave this cloth today. 

For this sash,  the warp threads are cotton, and the strips are a mix of recycled cotton and silk. 

Here are a few examples:

This book is a very good resource.
I'll post more photos when the sash is completed.