The Nature of Time-Bound Commitments

I know it’s a luxury to write a blog.  And it’s a luxury of sorts to be an artist.  I am hoping that time is NOT money.  I am hoping that time can be love, or soul, or devotion, or prayer.  Here are some recent images of work that takes inordinate, blissful TIME: a Rhapsody Rose pin, Celtic Torque pins… and a little fairy!

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Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving

With gratitude for family and friends; for a studio brimming with fiber; for good work to do and for enough to share with others.   It’s been an overwhelming few weeks.  Now I am taking some deep breaths.

Despite so much to do, I need to simplify.  With so many things calling my name and calling for action, I need to re-find silence and stillness to discern a good direction.  It always amazes me how relatively little it takes to knock me off my stride, and I hope this awareness guides me to feel more compassion for others…  I do believe that we choose our attitudes.  When I am feeling overwhelmed, the thorns and burrs of things that are frustrating to me seem to me to be all around.  The more I mindlessly thrash, the more scratched up I feel.  Life is a briar patch.  How can we be at home in this thorny place?  Within a briar patch are tender nests, delicious berries, lovely flowers — as well as openings for safely navigating out and back in.  The briar patch can be a torture, it can be a place of refuge and safety.   Thanksgiving Day is a good day to reclaim humility and refocus so that tomorrow I can return to the studio with a fresh spirit.

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fall Day

This is one of those tales that must begin with “everything’s OK, but…”

On a walk with our dog, Elsa, this morning I noticed some litter at the corner of our street near the backyard of an unoccupied fraternity house.  Since today was trash collection day, I knew I’d pass curbside recycling bins along my walk.  So, energetic Elsa on her leash in one hand, I picked up the empty soda can with the other hand and started looking for a recycling bin that had not yet been taken in from curbside.  And as I spied it… well…

When one is walking a dog, one really ought to mind the blocks of uneven sidewalk concrete in one’s path, and be mindful of where one is walking.  And so the tip of my “Uggs”-like knockoff boots caught the raised step of a concrete sidewalk block just enough to send me sprawling.  I hit hard, mostly on my hands and knees, also on my chest.  I almost hit my face on the sidewalk — so close, it still seems amazing that I managed to avoid hitting my face.

I dusted myself off, crossed the street to put the can into the bin, and reckoned with the damage.  My good, down winter coat was scuffed where I had hit the ground, as were my leather gloves and pants.  All had protected me.  My first thought was “No good deed goes unpunished,” and my second thought was “my angels must have cushioned my fall and protected my face.”  What, really, do we understand about how the world works.

I always have lots to do in the studio, and at this moment, this is especially true.  But at this moment both of my hands hurt, especially the left one where some of the parts seem a bit smooshed inside.  Could have been worse.  For a fiber artist, to work with hurting hands (and so many do…) seems to me to be a lot like taking care of small grandchildren.  One needs to use one’s brain and one’s experience to make up for what one’s body may not be able to do!   Onward, with somewhat achy hands filled with gratitude!

Published in: on November 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm  Comments (2)  

White Roses

In the studio, yesterday and today, I’ve been working on creating felted pins with a “White Roses” motif —  a symbol of honor and of new beginnings and innocence.   As I worked on this series, the colors I chose gradually evolved from white to more varied, deeper colors, as I followed my inclination in selecting fibers.  My choice to begin with pure white merino and silk fiber was intended as a meditation on innocence.  And as I felt inclined to move from a focus on white fiber to explore the range of available colors of fiber, it seemed to me that the freedom to choose from among many options — to feel empowered to move beyond a fixed place — mirrors healing.   Crafting the Rose pins is a slow process, of selecting and preparing and placing and carefully attending to the process.  In taking time and paying attention, something beautiful may be created from bits and pieces.  How do we help others heal when well-being and trust are shattered?   I think we take time, and pay attention, with the intention of helping to nurture something beautiful from torn-apart pieces.

Published in: on November 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aftermath

I live in central Pennsylvania, within walking distance of Penn State University’s Beaver Stadium.  Our community has been rocked by the Sandusky scandal.    Yesterday I tried to work in the studio, but couldn’t bring any focus to my work.  Today, as I’ve returned to the studio, I am thinking about “speaking truth to power.”  As we interact with those around us: our family and friends, our colleagues and neighbors, our community, and in the larger world — how do we nurture this courage and discernment, in our selves and in others, to know and to act when it is appropriate to speak truth to power?

Published in: on November 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Organizing the Studio

Baskets of work-in-progress and baskets of completed work.  Bits of fiber sorted by color/type and tucked back into stash bags.  Small balls of hand-spun yarns carefully nestled into a bag marked “Rhapsody Rose” for days when I feel like making a patch of felted corsage pins but do not feel like carding/spinning yarn as a prelude.  One bag stuffed with a riot of colorful fibers that I’ll card for spinning into yarn for a “Black/White” series —  I just need to add the black and the white.  Bubble wrap and screens and plastic mats rolled and waiting.

A morning spent organizing leaves me feeling tired — and grateful for the abundance of supplies in my studio — and eager to work.

I was thinking yesterday about all of the things I long to DO, as I got through a busy day, going from one thing to another.  I felt harried; and conscious that I wanted to be calm, not overwhelmed.  With a shift in focus, re-orienting my thoughts toward what I wished to BE rather than what I needed to DO,  I felt my breathing deepen.  My whole body kind of sighed with relief.

I still have a lot to do around here.  Some of it will get done today.  I know that if I could live for a thousand years, I’d want two thousand.  I’d have more time then, but the essential challenge would be the same.  So time is not the problem.

For today: try to switch my “to do” list for a “to be” list.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment