Return Again

At sundown this evening, the Jewish New Year begins, and prayers will ascend to heaven on behalf of individuals, the whole Jewish community, and the world.

For a brief moment, many will feel the sweetness of peaceful and light hearts, turning to reflection and asking to be forgiven.  The shofar blasts will break through to a shiny new year.

When we are discouraged, we may wish we could “begin anew,” and one of the appealing elements of this atonement is the sense of getting a “do-over.”  I think one of the appealing elements of creating art is a similar turning to a blank page and starting over; and when art moves people it is as if the work of art allows people to see anew, with new eyes. The truth is that each moment we are alive and have options from which to choose is a moment for a “do-over” and the opportunity to begin again.  Yes, we can start over.

May the world be a more peaceful place in the new year: with more caring, more civility, more clarity, more well-being, more hope, and more love.

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Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kashmiri Felted Scarves: Merino, Silk, Cashmere

I use a lot of silk fiber in crafting these very thin, three-layer scarves so they will be light-weight and durable.  The mid-layer contains lots of pure tussah silk and wisps of cashmere (hence the name “Kashmiri”) that form the ruffles.   The Rhapsody Rose Felted Corsage Pin (made from my hand-spun yarn, embellished with silk fabric strips, curly wool locks, vintage buttons/beading and Swarovski crystals) allows the scarf to be worn in many different ways.  Fun to create and fun to wear, too!   Starting sometime in October my work will be available at Contempo Artisan Boutique in Boalsburg, PA.   I continue to love being a member of The Gallery Shop in Lemont, PA — where I’ll exhibit my work in November as a featured artist at the shop.   I have written from time to time on this blog about my questioning “to etsy or NOT to etsy.”    For now, the opportunity and the challenge (in terms of studio time!) of creating work for two local shops, and doing commissioned work, and teaching is keeping me motivated and happily busy enough.  And so the “etsy idea” will remain just an idea.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Worldwide Spin-in-Public Day: Saturday, September 17, 2011

For those who are not spinners but still wish to participate in “Spin in Public Day,” perhaps peruse the website related to this “event,” and some “art yarn” sites on-line; or the new online fiber publication “Spin Artiste” to experience some of the pleasure of hand spun yarns.  As for me, I hope to be on my front porch with a drop spindle; it may be after sunset, by candlelight, but I’ll do some spinning outdoors on Saturday!

Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Images of “Antidote” Felted Scarf: Merino, Silk Fabric and Fiber, My Hand-Spun Yarn with Wensleydale

Published in: on September 8, 2011 at 1:37 am  Comments (2)  

This Felted Life

Many years ago, (while procrastinating about something, I am sure) I read a book about procrastination that was based on a lot of research.  A prime reason why folks procrastinate, the research suggested, was that we are not good at estimating how long it’ll take us to get something done.  We procrastinators have a poor sense of time.  I’m not sure this is true.  I think many of us who “procrastinate” have a less linear sense of our “to-do” lists than others.  If we see a really great spider web illuminated in the sunshine, we want to see where the spider is and what else is going on in the web.  I bet many of us, when we were little children and found that a baby bird had fallen out of its nest, spent much of the day fussing over that baby bird.  And if it died, we held elaborate funerals and decorated the tiny graves, and our hearts were aching.

Then we grow up, and see that the whole world is filled with baby birds that have fallen from their nests, and we don’t know which way to turn.  So we find some direction and incline in that direction.   Are we who we set out to be?  We are less sure than others, perhaps.

As artists, we listen to our inclinations, and to our muses.  And if our muse wants to go to Paris and we have to go to Cleveland, there is a continual whining from the back seat of “Are we THERE YET?!”  Many felters decline commissions, and I think this listening to our muses is a reason.  It’s hard enough to discern a direction in artmaking that represents a true synthesis of ability and spirit.   Once we accept commissions we are often obligated to set aside our own sensibilities, our own evolving “groove”  — it’s difficult enough to get IN the groove in the first place.  Not to mention those baby birds out of their nests.  We see them.

So many around me are overwhelmed at this moment: busy with the new academic year, concerned about the economy, our minds on getting our children settled in school; concerned for those who are suffering right in our own neighborhoods and around the world; and for some artists, focused on the busyness of the holiday season.

We want to do right: by our art, by our loved ones, by the world.  What does “right” look like and what does it feel like?  The media, and advertisers would have us believe that “right” looks very clean and bright and new.  It is painted in the new colors and it has the right type of heels on its shoes.  Its lawn is lush, its hair does not show roots growing in, its breath is clean and its nails are done and its car is shiny.  There is no hair in the bath tub and there’s always somethin’ bakin’ in the oven.   It gets seven hours of sleep and it gets up really early to fix breakfast/run/meditate/write/pray.  Right looks great and has a clear path.

All around us are messages that we should be and do all things and look great while being and doing it all.  This is impossible.  How do we give ourselves permission to slow down enough to whittle down these incoming messages and discern our own essential self — and be true to this self?   How do we slow down enough — and quietly say “enough” — when our to-do list is impossibly long?

No wonder we procrastinate… now I need to get back to vacuuming.

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm  Comments (4)