A Year of Listening: Week 14

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us….The old skin has to be shed before the new one is to come. — Joseph Campbell

I collected this quotation many years ago.  Spring cleaning away yard debris and winter’s film on windows has started here in the Shenandoah Valley. While I work in the fresh air of April, my mind is fleshing out plans.

Am I ready once again to get rid of plans?  There is something good beckoning to me.  I am listening. Picture 070How do I shed old skin?  A snake uses friction.  I want to see the usefulness of friction in my relationships.  Can I be kind while I use friction?  Are you?

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Bunny business

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Fibergig, our Etsy shop, invites conversation about our products. This week Sarah admired a linen pillow, but it didn’t match her needs. “I want it to be easy to wash and larger, perhaps a square.”

I agreed to play within those parameters and present several possibilities. The original pillow is in the lower right of the photograph. A cotton pillow front with printed pattern is on the left. I made two more similar to this.

While I was on the bunny trail, I painted a white onesie and hat featuring our sweet bunny with spring blooms. I also took a more contemporary approach with a larger bunny and purple dye, paired with a tie dye hat.

Sarah will decide if my efforts match her needs; we agreed that she would be under no obligation. The rest of the items will be in this shop soon.

Gown of Generations

The request came: will you make my wedding gown into a christening outfit?

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I photographed the gown and then gently deconstructed it.

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I cleaned part of the lace and fabric to see if it was safe and if it made a difference.

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The Christening outfit,  boxed and ready for delivery, was debuted in late December.  Today I cut out a Christening gown, 2 bride’s hankies, and an extra surprise.

This project delights me, taking a good garment and the memories of a celebration and regenerating both cloth and joy.  Blessings on those who celebrate.

Working With the Weather

I like to cooperate with the weather instead of resisting it. It’s the farm girl in me. It’s the sensible mom in me. It’s the “be present” mystic in me.

Snow and frigid cold is a gift of time for design and prototype development in the studio this week.

Fingerless gloves knit by my daughter Emily keep my fingers warm. I want her to knit more of these for our fibergig shop next winter. Do you think bright-colored wool is a good addition to a snowy day?

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2014, A Year of Listening

I like shoveling snow when no one else is stirring, except the snow plow coming up the highway.
Everything is muffled, except the scrapping of the shovel against asphalt, worked out in a rhythm that mirrors the movement of arms, feet, lungs.
I am hoping not to fuel up the snow blower this year, but to work my way through the snow with a shovel. Slowly. Sensibly.

I usually have three focus words for each year. This year I am choosing an activity for my focus. I am listening. My sister asked me “for what?” She needs to ask that later.
To what? Collected words.
Here, every Monday, I am posting a quotation from my collection. I will be listening to those words. The words will be accompanied by one of my art pieces or a sketch, a response to the words.

Come listen with me. Tell me what you hear.

Repeat

The fun part of selling do-its in person is asking folks what verb they would choose to put on one. A few weeks ago I watched a gentleman carefully pick out dance, begin, create. “What would you like to see on a do-it?” I asked. “Repeat,” he responded quickly.
“Repeat? May I ask what you do for a living?” I was surprised by his verb. It was one that had never occurred to me to use.
He chuckled, “I teach dance.”

What a beautiful gift of a word he gave me! I have been pondering it. I see how important it is to my studio work. Repeated techniques. Repeated motifs. I recall my joy of seasonal life, a repeat I share with community. So I put the word repeat on a do-it. And repeated it a few more times. These are being shipped to a good teacher. More will become part of the shop inventory for fibergig at Etsy. One will hang in Studio Three 17.

A do-it is a small tag made of fabric, thread and yarn. It serves as a whimsical reminder of a desired action, which is handwritten with fabric pens. What verb would you like on a do-repeat 003 (640x480)it?

Enough: Time

I attended a small business seminar last week.  One of the presenters began his workshop with two questions: what is you biggest challenge and what is your greatest aspiration?  The most common answer to the first question was enough time.

I have been thinking about that answer all week, accompanied by the old adage of “make hay while the sun shines.”  We had exceptional warm days and bad weather is coming up the coast.  I have been cleaning and rearranging the garage.  Today I mowed the yard for hopefully the last time this year.  I have structured my 24 /7 to make good use of the weather.  Storm Sandy has added a sense of urgency.

I have not felt short of time, because I have had clear goals and a flexible focus.  I would like to bring that to more of my weeks.  What makes you satisfied with the use of your time?

A Change in The Weather

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The nip in the air here in Virginia is becoming a frost warning for tonight.  I enjoy seasonal change.  It is a reason to change the menus, my walking schedule, and wardrobes.  I have happy toes in wool socks right now.

This week I stitched up three pillow covers from upcycled and sun painted fabric.  Each has a folded flap end secured with a button and wrapped cord closure.  The sofa likes a wardrobe change, too.

What do you for the change in the seasons? Do you appeal to the senses?  What delights you?

Questions about Enough

I am a morning person.  I like waking up.  My better mornings are when I remember to prepare the coffee and set the delay brew the night before.  But with or without the smell of coffee, I like the moments between waking and leaving the snugly comfort of my rest.

I think about those I love.  I stretch my body and am glad to be in it.  I let my mind wander and wonder.  In that brief journey, my mind often goes to the recurring themes of my current pursuits: a life of enough, creative process, seasonal living.

I was rather startled last week when those thoughts brought me to two questions: what’s under my bed?  and what possesses me?  They are rattling a complacency in me.  They persist in revisiting me.  Today I looked under the bed, a place where I have historically stored textile projects with which I didn’t want to be concerned.  I found at least two bins of fabric ready to be used.  Surprise!  My pursuit of a life of enough is changing my habits.  There needs to be more new habits before I want to answer the second question.  What possesses you?

Singing the Sad Psalms

I have been singing the sad Psalms.  The ones that ask “Why have you cast us off?” and “How long, Lord, how long?”  There are times for the singing of these Psalms.  And I have come to it.

I received a rejection letter regarding an entry to an art show.  I am well practiced in rejection.  My day job is selling hand-crafted furniture.  So yes, well practiced.  What disturbed me was the reason; I felt like my work was being labeled as less than art.  The call for entry stated, ” The following mediums are accepted in the show: painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, glass.”  The letter of rejection explained, “….at this time we do not accept artwork that is sometimes considered a craft – fiber /fabric art, mixed media that includes elements not originally created by the artist, jewelry, furniture, and the like.”  It was an amazingly crafted letter.  They returned my entry fee.

This was the catalyst for the singing of the sad Psalms.  It it had not been this, it would have been something else.  It was the season to acknowledge hard ground.

This week I bought a kazoo, because kazoos are such happiness.  The Beatles, John Phillip Sousa, me and the kazoo.  The seasons are changing.