V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tis the season

Now is the time in which we have a chance to show our true colors.  We have an excuse, a chance, an opportunity to practice what we really want to be.  We all carry an ideal "me" inside.  Now is the time to really try and be that person we admire and wish we could be.  Why not make an effort during this time of forgiveness and rebirth?  Why not choose to smile at strangers and help them with their packages instead of walking by as they struggle?  Why not open the door for someone you don't know and let them ahead of you?  Why not tip a little more and help those that help us?  We all have so many gifts and blessings!  We certainly have enough to share with someone who does not have enough!  Shouldn't we be willing to give to those Salvation Army folks who stand in the cold and wish us a happy holiday instead of rushing by trying not to make eye contact so we don't have to put money in their little pail?  Why not celebrate what we have right now and be thankful for it, and not begrudge giving a little of it away?  Can you imagine the eyes on the child who gets to sleep in a warm bed for the first time in months?  Or the happy tears of a father who is able to give his family a warm dry room again?  Or the joyful hugs of a mother who is able to give her children a warm nutritious meal?    How is it that we try to avoid eye contact with something like that?!  Instead of judging those in need, why not open up a little.  Yes, they may be a troubled soul who will squandor our generosity, but then again. . .

Now is the time to shine.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Can depression make you a superhero?

I can't help but let people know about this post on 'My Space' that has gone viral.  It is about a 91 year old Hungarian grandmother whose photographer grandson saw that she was lonely and depressed and decided to try to cheer her up by taking her on a zany and humerous photo shoot.  It is a tale of family love and concern, mixed with a great sense of humor and some spandex!

Through the holocaust, depression and loneliness . . . Look! Up in the sky!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's Super Mamika!
See it here!  ENJOY!!
Superhero Mamika

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Slow it down!

Do you think that if we 'slow' down enough, we will not only see radiant beauty surrounding us, but will discover true meaning as well?  Slowing down, breathing, meditating, appreciating . . . all are the beginnings in the journey to healthy spirituality.  I feel there are 3 primary areas that make up each of us.  Our physical self, our emotional (mental) self, and our spiritual self.  All three together define who we are.  Each of these three selves needs balance and health for us to remain truly healthy.  If any of these areas is not 'fed' something healthy and conciously maintained, it will grow weak and frail.

The challenge is finding that balance that allows health to flow freely between all three areas.  The phrase, "Moderation in all things." comes to mind.  So, I need to boost up my moderate exercise just a bit, and maybe meditate more, but work less. . . be with my kids more, clean my house more, be on my computer less . . . slow down more, breath more, waste less. . . drink more water, eat less ice cream, hug more, drive less . . . garden more, eat more vegetables, heat and cool my house less . . .

Okay.  WAIT!  This is what gets me all messed up.  I need to start out with moderation too, yes?  How about I just look at the clouds in the sky as they skid across the afternoon sky, and breathe.  SLOW it down!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Did you all know that there is an election going on tomorrow?

It is always good to have good strong healthy opinions, no matter what they are. It is also good to be able to have a say in how the opinion of someone else impacts each of us. We need to ensure that the power of our voices is not eroded or worse yet, voted out of existence by politicians who have corporate agendas as their priority rather than that of the People! No matter what you have to say, whether for or against whatever issue there is . . . you need to let your opinion be known!

I have been politically apathetic too much of my adult life. I always felt that my vote had no power anyway so why even vote?  When (and if) I went out to vote, I wasn’t prepared. I was so confused about the issues and distracted by the mudslinging, that when the time came to vote, I didn't have a clue.  Many of the names on the ballots were strange to me and I had no idea how they stood on different issues. I remember one time I was so befuddled I voted because I liked the way a name sounded. Most of the time I just leaned heavily on the party line, trusting they would represent my opinions and beliefs. But all this time I have failed myself and my country. I have failed because I was just not motivated enough to learn about the issues, and hoped that someone I was voting for would know my mind and do my bidding without my having to do a thing! Here I was being given choices, and I was too busy and [tired, uninformed, unmotivated, uninvolved, uncaring, unresponsive, oblivious . . . ] unprepared to take a moment to vote and alter history and its impact on me, my children and my as yet, unborn grandchildren!

Now, FINALLY, as a mother and a business woman, I cringe at my past behavior! How could I let just anyone get elected and expect my concerns to be addressed??! Why did I risk the development of everything around me; the government that controls my neighborhood, my city, my county, my parks, my streets, my taxes, my schools (where our real treasures go to learn)?? Why did I leave it all to chance?? Wouldn’t that be like hiring a caregiver for ones child without interviews and background checks?? Or maybe it would be like hiring a person to be in charge of your finances, house, business, or other critically important aspect of your life without meeting them or reading their resume! That would be just plain reckless and negligent, right?? So why don’t people take voting as a grim and serious responsibility. Why is it that so many people see it as optional?? Remember, complacency will only deliver our freedoms, our interests over to people who WILL take action, and it most likely will not be in OUR best interest!! That is how we have gotten to where we are! Too many people assuming our government leaders will just take care of us without our having to do anything.

Well, it is NOT optional!! It is everyone’s DUTY to vote!! Not only that, it is everyone’s duty to vote in an informed way!! There is to be NO 'throwing darts' at the ballot form to help in making your selection! Do your research!! Be informed!! Yes, things are much more complicated than they used to be.  The issues are much broader, deeper, reaching further and weaving into other issues, etc.  But it is still so important that we take responsibility and educate and inform ourselves about the issues, and their impact on our daily lives and the lives of those yet unborn.  We can't do this while we are standing in line at the voting center. It is becoming more and more imperative that we all need to educate ourselves about the issues and participants ahead of voting day and then we need to get out and vote!

We still can be that great nation that Lincoln referenced in his Gettysburg address. We can still revive that awesome country where the government is again "of the people, by the people, for the people”! We can again have a government that will actually do the things that are in OUR best interest instead of the interests of rich corporations who are paying big money for lobbyists to sway politicians. But we ALL need to get out Tuesday and every election day and SAY SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE!!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

SLOW Magazine

Something wonderful has just happened in my life and I am going to share it with you!  I have been PUBLISHED in a magazine!!  I kind of backed into an opportunity to write an article for a magazine in Australia called, "SLOW Magazine" (www.slowmagazine.com.au).  Almost a year ago the editor of the magazine had gone onto a Green forum on the Internet with a request for thoughts and ideas for articles that would be of interest to feature in their magazine.  I just recently ran across this request and responded, not really thinking anything would come of my ideas not only because of the late date, but also because the Internet is such a gigantic arena, and one's voice is, more often than not, lost in it's labyrinth.  To my surprise and amazement, the editor, Jacqui Mott, wrote back suggesting that I send in a submission, and they would see where things went.  She had read my blog entries and thought that their topics and quality would be perfect for their magazine!  WOW!  I was floored! . . and excited!!  Almost immediately I sat down and wrote my first submission.  Now mind you, I have never submitted any of my writings to anyone!  well, okay . . . there is this blog.  But hardly anyone reads this do they?  The only person to have read anything that I have written was my mother when I was writing weekly 3-page thesis papers for my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Mraz.  So, with no ego involved, I thought I would submit my article, the staff at Slow magazine would shred it and I wouldn't hear anything more.  Just yesterday, Jacqui sent me an email saying they were going to use my article in their next issue of SLOW magazine!!  WOW again!  My mother, bless her librarian heart, would be so proud!!

I take much delight in writing about what I am thinking.  It has been something that I have enjoyed doing since elementary school.  I have always liked being able to craft my words, with thoughtfulness, before revealing them to someone.  Speaking the words does not allow me to do that, and words tend to tumble out of my mouth, with me often wishing I could scramble after them, clutching them back into obscurity.  But the written word has clarity and it's own space, making it take on a depth that the spoken word does not have.  Both can be interpreted in any fashion, but only the written word can be truly studied, to reveal it's depth and intent.  Crafting with words is a challenging process, trying to tease an idea out of many, and bring definition to it, so that one's original thought is there in clear, abundant, literal, black and white!  All too often, a thought is just too wispy and ethereal to capture in text, but therein lies the challenge that all writers face.  And as of yesterday, I can count myself as one of the members in the league of writers!

I will update you when the issue is circulated!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

But can forgiving and accepting imperfection be good??

We are in a world of Getting Things Done!  We are required to be Productive at work.  So we push ourselves to accomplish more in less time for our paycheck.  At home we feel the pull of Productivity in having to get things done so we don't get overwhelmed with the piles of laundry, or the dust bunnies that scoot across the floor. 

We want to enable our children to have the best experiences in their school or extracurricular activities so we add more to our Productivity list, and become coaches, or volunteer at the school library.   In order to get all of these things done we have opened the door to the beast called Multi-tasking.  We cross things off our list with a sigh of relief, only to replace it with yet another task that we can accomplish on our way to bringing the kids to soccer practice and grocery shopping. 

And it seems that along with Multi-tasking and Productivity goes Perfectionism. We are told from a very young age that if we can master all of these we will be akin to God himself!

So we set ourselves up for failure, by striving for the impossible, each of us thinking that it will be ME that conquers that 3-headed dragon! We risk health, marriage, friendship, family, and wealth and dedicate ourselves to honing these three skills.

But isn't it a wonderful gift to be able to forgive imperfections, and accept them still as beautiful?!   The burl wood that is known for it's beauty and richness is actually the part of the tree that results from some sort of stress or malignancy.

Yet we treasure the wood from this part of the tree and consider it most beautiful.

Isn't it at the crossroads of nature's perfection and imperfection  that we find fascination and awe?

I know that in my own life the balancing of Multi-tasking, Productivity, and Perfectionism is a skill that needs constant monitoring.  In the past, I had tended to throw myself into perfecting something to the point of ignoring productivity or multi-tasking.  But when I couldn't achieved perfection, I have thrown it down in frustration and have never gone back to it.  For a while, I was getting a lot of piles of imperfect and unfinished projects.  But as time went by, I realized that perfection may not be the point after all.  And that the Attempt is the valiant thing.  Growth does not happen from the perfecting of something, but rather in the Attempts!  With this realization, I was able to let go of the constant voice in my head that demanded that everything in my environment be just so, and all that I accomplished was perfectly executed.  I realized that I didn't need to be constantly busy in order to be productive, and that multi-tasking actually dillutes my participation in any one task thereby negating whatever pursuit of perfection there could have been.  Why spend time on a task that you aren't doing well?  By letting go of perfection and doing one task at a time, I became more daring, more focused, and more accepting of things that didn't turn out as I had visualized them.  I began to examine what I did do and see the beauty in it, and then go on from there.  Perfection by definition seems to require a certain sameness or symmetry.  To accomplish perfection requires vast technical skills. . . but creativity is lacking.  The way I see it, creativity happens first, with perfection happening after the creative thought has already been born. 

Now, I no longer strive to get my list done so much as I try to focus on each project, really entering into it and learning from it.  Making a cup of coffee becomes a sensual experience and dusting a shelf becomes a lesson in physics.  My projects no longer require perfection, but rather they require an 'intent' towards perfection.  Although I still strive to do things perfectly, I know that the journey and the subsequent growth is the point on which I need to focus rather than the destination.  Imperfection and I coexist, and I find myself learning more and pushing my limits even further.  Now, even though I accept imperfection, I have found myself becoming a deeper person and am happier for it.  I am finding that imperfection is part of the interesting fabric of life, and that each little slub is a story of growth, and each flaw is a look into the soul of humankind.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Slow Planet, Slow Life, Slow Food, Slow Craft, Slow Cloth

Lots of discussion going on in the blogosphere about slowing things down.  Starting with Slow Planet, Slow Movement, Slow Life, Slow Food, Slow Craft, and Slow Cloth to name only a few personal favorites.  I am a professional handweaver, weaving bath towels from Belgian linen. The most often asked question I hear is, "How long does it take to weave one of these?" When I educate people about how long it actually takes from design concept, to importing the yarn (because there is no one yet in the Americas that processes flax as beautifully as Europe. We are in our infancy in that venture), to winding the warp, threading the loom, and finally weaving the linens, hemming and finishing, and then traveling across the United States selling my wares, people are quite amazed at how long it takes to actually weave a towel! We are so used to instant everything that we even expect handmade crafts to be quick and easy too. There are ongoing discussions about 'Slow Cloth' and 'Slow Craft' that highlight the fact that 'High Craft' takes time, thought, skill and in every piece is the investment of a bit of the artist's soul. I have been honored recently to have been selected to show at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco and the One of a Kind Shows in Chicago and in New York. The level of artistry and craftmanship, and pride in a job well done is evident at every booth in these shows. I remember going to one of these shows while in my 20's for the first time and finding the experience absolutely exhilerating, stimulating, inspiring, and even a bit untouchable.  But around every corner there was joy!!  Everywhere there was creative energy!  Color and texture, sparkle and richness, uniqueness and a wealth of stories!  Prices were beyond my means then, but the experience has stayed with me a lifetime!

Craft is not about popsicle sticks, glitter and glue that keeps young ones occupied for a rainy afternoon.  Rather, craft or 'High Craft' should be defined as:  designing and making something by hand without taking shortcuts; and accepting that there is value in taking the time to be involved in the whole process, to have learned and honed a craft to a fine skill, and to understand the craft intimately, and that there is an investment of self in each project.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm leavin' on a jet plane. . .

Well, I managed to get all my bags and crates packed!  I had to come up with a solution for packing my towels that wouldn't get them all wrinkled since I was not taking my Cold Mangle with me to the show.  So off to Home Depot I go.   

And what to my wondering eyes does appear? 
But a roller of shrink wrap, for wrapping, my dear! 

I love hardware stores!!  So this is how I managed my towels!  Just another piece of luggage! I used the carrying case for my photography lighting.  I saved about $300 by doing it this way!   Yes, I feel pretty smart ; )   
Next stop. . . San Francisco!  The plane was filled to maximum as is the case these days. 
The flight continued without any problems and landed in the San Francisco airport with a 3-point landing.  We caught a taxi to our  'penthouse suite' which is conveniently located across the street from Fort Mason.  I found the living quarters through http://www.vrbo.com/.

The view was incredible!

And just across the street, beyond a park, was the Festival Pavillion, where I, along with half of the artists, had booth spaces.  The Pavillion was huge!  It must have been at least 120 feet wide, and at least a football field long!
And it went from raw space. . .

. . . to full and active space in a matter of hours!

And my space went from this. . .  

DH's help,

. . . to this in two hours!  Almost done!  Just need to adjust the lights and bring in the flowers.

The show was a great success!  Over 250 artists all having so much creative talent and craftmanship!  I am still in awe that I am included in this sort of company!  I was enthusiastically welcomed to San Francisco by all sorts of people, all so warm and gracious.  I almost went through my whole inventory of handwoven towels and tablerunners, as well as taking some very nice orders!  Thank you San Francisco and ACC!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Packing for San Francisco

It's Monday and it is time to start packing for the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco! A little delight dancing, a little arm pumping, a little AWHOO-WHOO-WHOO-ing!!  Oh for Pete's sake. . . PINCH ME!! 

It's thrilling to think I'm going a couple of thousand miles to show my weavings!  Do you see those long, cream-colored buildings at the bottom of the picture?  Those buildings are where the ACC Show is going to be taking place!  Right ON the Bay!!  It's a bit overwhelming to think of myself going to show my towels in a city like SAN FRANCISCO!  That's a REAL city!  Not a farming community that is growing up.  I admit that Minneapolis/St. Paul are great cities with a world-class fine arts culture going on.  But I am familiar with, and not intimidated by, these cities since I grew up here and saw the downtown skyline take shape from the petite Foshay Tower as the tallest building in the Minneapolis skyline when my family moved here when I was 7, to the now stately skyline that I consider to be a real emerging downtown skyline.
Photo:  Jeremiah Peterson
But I must say, there is real beauty in my city of Minneapolis.  And let's talk about air quality! . . . No let's not.  I have to get this blog written so I can finish packing!

Over these past couple weeks I have been adding to a pile on the floor.  This pile is all the stuff that I will need to fill out my 10' x 10' booth space.  The show provides framework and drapery for a fee, which was a little intimidating all by itself.  I provide everything else except the electricty, which also is amazingly expensive!  But that is the life of a high end art show artist, which is a description that I am still trying to fit on my shoulders. 

All of this . . .

is supposed to fit in this . . .

Nice crate custom built for me by Jon's Woodworks.
(They do quick, quality work for a decent price!  Just ask me for his number!

PLUS. . . I have to fit in my towels. . .oh yeah, the towels!

I have a few towels on the cloth beam, yet to come off the loom and be sewn and wet finished.

I have towels on the drying racks

And I have towels piling up on my work tables!
towels. . . towels. . . everywhere, TOWELS! 
I do believe I almost have the hang of this!
(But it's time to turn up the burners!!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finding my way

It seems that I have spent several posts off the topic of weaving; being an activist and feeling concern over what the Gulf oil spill is doing to the local and world ecosystems, (which they have managed to successfully cap and let's hope against hope that it holds!) and other mismanaged and misunderstood eco-problems;
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

photograph by Associated Press
and being a philosopher and waxing eloquent on the definition of beauty.

Oddly, all of those things are entwined, resulting in the person of me, and even though I may not be writing directly about weaving, the topics I feel strongly enough about to share in this blog do have a connection to weaving, through my voice.  Hopefully, my passions are shared by the readership at least in part, and optimistically in whole, and are consciously carried into your days to be shared and discussed with others.

I feel this blog is my opportunity to learn, develop, and share new ideas and discoveries that enter my life, or bubble up from unexpressed moments of my past.  So, even though the topics shift in somewhat fitfull jumps, this blog is my journey of expression and discovery.  Bear with me as I move along this path, making efforts to keep to smooth and even surfaces, but sometimes managing to stumble into puddles of confusion

photograph by Remixlab

and often wandering down tangents of paths.  I am progressing toward finding my voice in text and I hope my journey will find your interest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What defines beauty?

Today, looking out my window into my backyard, I see a scene of beauty. The sun haloing the trees in the south, a myriad of greens, yellows, grays, browns, with a blue in the sky that is unable to be defined. So many textures, colors, shapes, sizes, sounds. At first glance there is no rhythym, no symmetry.  It appears as total chaos.  And yet it is beautiful. . . awe inspiring. . . having grace and dignity. . .eliciting emotion from me as nothing else can.

What is it about this scene that makes me decide that it is beautiful?!

It feels a bit like the neo-classic landscape painting by French artist Jean Joseph Xavier Bidauld, (below) sans characters, mountains and mist. 

Just steps out my door I find this. . .
And this. . .
and this...
I have an extravagance of flowers out my back door, but the beauty is not only in the flowers, but in the fact that there are insects that are thriving on this wild rose. And that there is enough sunshine, water, and nutrition for the rose to flourish without any assist from me. So, is beauty defined by the presence of abundance? Health? Strength? Mystery? (as in, "How does something get that way without planning and intervention by humankind?") The earth , our world, is a wonder!  If humankind were to truly respect it, just imagine the absolute beauty our humble earth could achieve all by itself!  Mankind strives to compete with nature in engineering beauty.  And yet, nature is so often the very subject of man's contrived beauty. Architects and engineers mimic nature in their structures, taking cues from landscapes and bees.  Artists copy, interpret, and challenge nature in developing their ideas.  Designers, be they industrial, interior, fashion, graphic or urban, all depend on the elements of design, taken from nature, in developing their designs.

So I can't help but look closer at the landscape out in my yard, and in that inspection, I can see all the Elements that we have deemed to make good design: Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Color, Value, and Form. Then we add the Principles of Design: Emphasis, Movement, Rhythm, Pattern, Contrast, Balance, and Unity; and we have the makings of GREAT design. 

Beauty, then, is defined by our earth.  We have merely put into words what nature brings to us everyday.

So here I sit, staring out my window, and I humbly realize that we are mere students of our Grand Mother Earth.  And I pray that we can take care of her as well as she has taken care of us!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Passionate responsibility

Okay, I feel that I am on the verge of  beleaguering this subject enough for now.  But please permit one last plea before I sit back down at my loom, as it is our existence that is at stake here.  Each of us must take responsibility for our ocean, for our earth! We all need to clean up after not just ourselves, but for those who for one reason or another, don't clean up after themselves!

I have an adopted son who is autistic. He is 18 years old and brilliant but has no organizational skills whatsoever! I, on the other hand, feel fortunate to be able to say that I am reasonably organized. His room is chaos (I say with a pained smile, admitting my opinion) . . . a bit like this photo from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  My son's room is often overwhelmed with wrappers, containers, paper, soda cans. . . all things that need to be recycled, composted, reused, or (unfortunately) tossed.
This is actually a good day!

He cannot sort through this chaos to save his life. So things pile up until he absolutely can't find anything anymore and then he just puts all things into one bag and brings it to the trash (which I try to catch afterwards and sort through. I have often found things like sunglasses, small electronics and new cds and dvds, books, clothing, etc. along with the 'trash'. I rescue the assorted things that I am sure he didn't want gone, and recycle the rest. I use this to illustrate that there are many people who don't have the ability to 'see' what is at their feet. The cacophony of visual confusion (at least in this illustration) is so overwhelming that my son cannot see 'the tree for the forest' (ie. he cannot see the single tree because there are so many trees)! I just about drove myself mad trying to teach my son to 'see' one single tree while it was surrounded by the other trees. He just was not wired to be able to do that. Then I just about drove myself mad by trying to think like he does so I could understand why he couldn't 'see'. I will never be able to 'see' the world as he sees it, just as he will never be able to organize, what seems to me to be, his chaotic world. 
I know that not everyone is like my son, but I have come to realize that the spectrum of human conditions is vast and broad, and that I should not judge someone for not being able to pick up after themselves or for multitudes of other foibles, for that matter. Although many of us can view what we perceive as obvious, there are just as many who cannot see 'the tree for the forest'! And yes, there are just as many again who abuse their priviledge of being on this earth,

and don't care that they left trash behind or don't want the inconvenience of walking over to the trash receptacle or hauling a bag of trash home.  But, there I go, judging.  Everyone has a story to tell, and whether I believe their story or not, the work remains to be done!  It is what it is.
But if they don't carry out their own trash, and if I don't feel any cumpulsion to do it, then what??  It often takes a long time before litter from the environment disappears. Below is a list of how long litter affects the environment:
  • Paper and paperboard: 6 months
  • Cigarettes butts: 2–5 years
  • Plastic (PET) Soda Bottles: 5–10 years
  • Plastic shopping bags: 10–30 years
  • Gum: 20–25 years
  • Tin Can: 80–100 years
  • Polystyrene Chip Wrapping: 90 years
  • Aluminum Can: 200–400 years
  • Sixpack Bottle Wrapping: 450 years
  • Golf Ball: 100–1000 years

So, my point finally is this. . . A campaign such as that suggested by Dominique Browning in her blog http://www.slowlovelife.com/2010/07/stop-ocean-abuse.html, could sound something like. . .

 "Only YOU can prevent earth abuse" 
 Smokie's shovel could be replaced with a globe or some such.  (But that graphic layout should be left to the ad agencies!)

If one could spin this right, it could be very effective by making EACH of us more aware and thus more responsible for the big picture. Making us realize that EACH of us must act! Making EACH of us feel compelled to do more than just our little part. If done right, this campaign could go so far as to make people feel smart for doing good for our environment. . . make it cool to do so!  Something along the lines of what schools did for smoking.
Finger pointing and expecting the government do our will is not as effective as EACH AND EVERY ONE of us doing our part to take care of our world. And 'our part' is not necessarily our 'fair' share! Each of us needs to pick up trash left by others.  Each of us needs to be proactive in caring for our earth. In our families we need to shop smarter, consume less, walk more.  In our businesses we need to be vigilant about our decisions and speak up when things aren't right.  Each of us needs to do the RIGHT THING when we see bad decisions being made and then are asked to carry these decisions out.  In our schools we can set up programs to teach our children how to be stewards of our earth by setting up lunchroom composting programs, promote classes about sustainablitiy, and explore energy options for the school and our neighborhoods, http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-10-14-schoolsinside_N.htm

. . . In EACH of our lives, we need to jump in and make the well-being of our earth our business! Our very lives are at stake!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Upon reading Slow Love Life's post of 6.28.2010 combined with yesterday's link to the Errant Aesthete's "Summer of Our Discontent" I am filled with an almost frantic sense of urgency to communicate our need for EVERYONE to have their own sewing basket! We each should treasure and repair not only our favorite sweaters but all that we own. We should be using UP what we have in our own personal coffers (otherwise known as walk-in closets) and use what we have for more than one season. The earth is in great trouble and we as her failing stewards, MUST save her. We need to quit being such a world-class throw-away culture, and treasure what we yet have, instead of questing for the grail we don't have yet.

Perhaps my contribution will be too little to late, but as an earth citizen, I am obligated to help in whatever way I can. Be it through improving my shopping habits to include less plastic, especially in packaging; driving my car less and walking or riding my bike more, and planning my trips more efficiently; and using UP what I already have! My sewing basket will help me do this!  My sewing basket is an old shoe box, which actually morphed into two shoe boxes.  There is no need to get a 'genuine' sewing basket, as these boxes have worked for the past 25 years!  They are full of ribbons and elastic that came with store-bought items, unused zipers, pins, thimbles, webbing, and assorted other things that will come in handy one day.  From the picture it is apparent that recycling and reusing doesn't necessarily always look fashionable and neat.  But then, that's not the point, is it?!!  I didn't go out and buy an organizing tray in which each of the things in my boxes would have it's own little cubbie.  It is chaos of the organized form.  Good enough for my sewing basket.

Thank you, Dominique, for gently, nudging me to not only look, but to really SEE what is happening in the Gulf, through your highlighting of Errant Aesthete's link! It is haunting and beautiful, but it is also compelling and tragic. If we are to be able to experience Slow Love, we need to each do our part, take on our responsibility in being caretakers of our neglected earth, and yes, use our sewing baskets more!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An act of God

Photographer: Larry Maras

This evening, a huge rumbling storm rolled in, and in a sheeting downpour the power went out throughout our little hamlet. This meant no lights, no internet (yes, it was out too), no television, no stereo. My teenagers were beside themselves. I went about getting some candles out and lighting them to bring some light to our very quiet home.

As I sat , putting together some silver and crystal accents for our dining room lights (something that didn’t need too much light or electricity), I wondered at the immediate slow life that surrounds us when we reduce our lives to just us. It brought me back to a much slower time when we weren’t so hooked up. Imagine no computers, no mp3 players, or phones in our pockets, only 5 channels on television, and no texting! My daughter and I sat out on our porch, watching the storm pass and wondered at the golden-yellow clouds with bumpy undersides that followed. This is a time that both my daughter and I will think back on in years to come with wistful fondness. This was a memory that we both just shared.

I would like to purposely have these kind of moments more often.  Moments that I will remember and cherish.  Moments that won't go by in a blur of electricity and technogadgets.  Moments that won't take an act of God for me to take notice!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Art-A-Whirl was a blur of a weekend with people coming to my studio!  There were hundreds of people out for this event, and over 250 artists opening their studios to let folks come and see how things are crafted.  It was so delightful to meet and greet so many enthusiastic and curious people!

I had my studio open, and people came to see me weave, with my computer aided AVL loom!  For most people it was an astouding piece of technology that had them fumbling to get their heads around it, while others could see the mechanical sense to it all. 

People were enthralled to see me weave and then to be able to touch and examine a completed weaving.  Lots of oohing and aahhing.  Lots of printed material handed out.  Lots of questions answered.  Lots of people I had the good fortune to meet!

I barely had the chance to meet any other artists, however, since the flow was pretty intense and constant.  But I did get a chance to meet a fellow artist whose artistic talents are rather unique.  His name is Brian Jon Foster and he works with and creates art from Linoleum tile!
His pieces are colorful, exuberant, whimsical, and bouyant!


I was intrigued with his work!  And so was the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to name a few!

Friday, April 23, 2010

By the way, I did end up finding my wallet

As it turns out, I had lost my wallet at the RiverCentre when setting up my booth space for the ACC Show, without even knowing that I had.  So for a whole few hours between the 3 am escapade to the 24 hour Walgreens and the start of the show, I worried about where I could have lost my wallet, or worse, who could have stolen it!?!  But it did not take all my attention, being that the show was my very first ever show and having never done this before, I was required to pay attention!

Minutes before the start of the show, I was standing at the back corner of my booth, double checking that the few towels that I was able to weave were all hanging straight, and that the pens were all aligned with the edge of the table. . . okay, . . okay, yes. . .that's a bit over the top.  I didn't really do that. . . well, yes I did. . .along with making sure that the Post-it notes were aligned with the pens. . . but I do get nervous for major events in my life (for which this show qualified in spades) and the way I calm myself is to make sure that everything is in it's place.

So let's just say that I was making sure that everything was in it's place, when SUDDENLY! a hand appeared through the drapery at the back corner where I was standing!  And again, just as suddenly, a face appeared!  There we were, nose to nose for a nano-moment!  Then I jumped out of my skin and back 3 feet!  A pretty young woman was on the other side of the drapes holding my wallet!  My startle morphed to an almost head tilting puzzlement.  What the. . . ???  What was she doing with my wallet??!!  With confusion clouding my brain, I just stood there, dumbstuck.  She said, "I believe you dropped this?"  Still, I just stood there.  "I think it must have fallen on the floor yesterday and been kicked into my booth area."  she said helpfully.  I finally shook off my paralysis, and ventured, "Oh!!!  My wallet!!"  Then, words gushed out, "Oh!  ThankyouthankyouthankyouTHANKYOU!!  I thought I had lost it or worse, that someone here had stolen it!"  She handed the wallet to me and said, "You're most welcome!" and disappeared with a smile.  I quickly checked to see if any money was missing or any cards.  It was all there.  And then I felt guilty.  Why had I automatically jumped to suspicion in spite of the fact that this wonderful person had just handed me my wallet, when in fact there was nothing requiring her to do this except her own conscience??  And wouldn't that same conscience be afflicted with the same guilt if she had only taken part of the contents of my wallet, rather than the whole thing??  Why couldn't I have just accepted the wallet without attaching suspicion to it?  Why do we all have to be so suspicious of others??

And then, fortunately, that moment passed as I thought briefly about that old adage about looking at the teeth of a horse given as a gift??   "Oh! NEVERMIND!!"  I said to myself.  "I'll think on that another day.  Today I have a show to do!"  I had gotten my wallet back!  Complete!  My heart soared realizing that there are people out there that do have scruples!  Today I had experienced the very good side of human kind!  I didn't need to look any deeper than that!  Today, through one person's simple honest act, I had felt hope for humanity!  What a great start to my first show!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can you say "STRESS"?!

Right around 2:00 am the morning of the ACC show I was just taking the color samples I had woven out of the dryer.  They were damp dry and. . . .OMG???. . . no..nonono. . .NONONONO!!!  The samples that I had in my hands had all ravelled!  The zig-zag stitching that I had had done had all come out!  OMGOMGOMG!!!!!  They were ruined!  RUINED!!!!

I sat down at my dining table, put my hands to my face and let the tears come.  I was exhausted!  I had been working nonstop AND hadn't eaten properly in weeks, I hadn't slept in the last 36 hours. . . all to come to this. . . these rags I held in my hands. . . I finally had to admit defeat.  I couldn't go on.  I had gambled everything. . . everything. . . and lost.  but wait. . .wait just a minute. . . was there a way? . . . there was always a way. . . what could I do?? . . .

So after a short meltdown,  I set about figuring out what I could do to salvage the mess of threads I had in my hand.  It had to look good, and I had to be able to do it in the next couple of hours, with what I had at my house.  But, oh no!  All my project materials are at my studio downtown!!  I had a stapler and a roll of scotch tape and a kitchen shears.  Out of my foggy mind came a vague memory.  "I know. . .Hey!"  I said, a bit blearily "Walgreens has a 24 hour store!  They should have some glue and some decent scissors!"  And off I trudged to my car.  The 24 hour Walgreens was only 5.62 miles away.

As I pulled into the parking lot I saw some dark looking teen-somethings hanging by a car in the corner away from the light.  I locked my car.  I walked into the store and noticed that there seemed to be quite a few people there for it being 3 am.  I also noticed that the folks that were there all looked a bit jumpy and what was it. . . maybe wide-eyed?  Those were the things I noticed immediately.  "Too much coffee?" was a thought that came into my mind and I discarded it right away.  So suburban of me!  Then, like lightening, the next thought bolted into my mind.  These are the people that have chosen an alternate lifestyle.  These are the people that one doesn't see until it gets dark.  These are the people that you read about in the newspaper and hear about on the news.  This is the part of society that you don't meet until a fabric emergency brings you to Walgreens at 3 am in the morning, or even worse, to a dark alley downtown!  (Wait, what kind of fabric emergency would bring me to a dark creepy alley downtown at 3 am in the morning???  Oh! shut UP!)  Well, Dorothy!  You aren't in Kansas anymore!  I looked again at the people around me.  Sure enough, these folks had to be a part of the underbelly of society.  The ones with too many problems to cope.  The ones that didn't fit into 'normal' society.  The ones with problems they couldn't find answers for. Or the ones that tried to straighten their lives out with drugs or alcohol.  I went quickly around the store, gathered my necessities and went to check out.  I got in line behind a very thin woman who was wearing a heavy jacket and a stocking hat pulled down on her head, and talking a blue streak.  She was muttering, and talking to the cashier, and muttering some more. . . so fast that I could hardly understand her.  "I got lossa money, lossa dough, jus' not here. . . tha's all. . .not here. . . not here. . . Put that down here, yeah, good.  I got lossa money, but not enuff to pay for all this here. . .not enuff. . . Here!  Take this out. . . now wha's the total??  too much. . too much..take this out and this.  Now what?  okay, okay." She continued to take this and that out of her pile of already checked-out merchandise and had the cashier re-total, until she had the same amount in her hand as what was on the total.  It took awhile, with her talking fast and faster.  And I thought to myself. . .there but for the grace of God. . . !  Then I was next.  Finally, I thought, as I shot a pitying glance at the crazy woman leaving the store, and thanking God that I had all my faculties.  As if this night hasn't been long enough, I have to get a humblepie notice from the Big Man Upstairs?!  I step up and put my things on the counter.  The cashier moves each item into a bag after scanning it.  He rings up the total.  Meanwhile, I am starting to get a little frantic.  While my things were being check out, I was digging in my purse for my wallet.  Now, I didn't have such a big purse, and my wallet was actually very big.  So, it would be obvious in the limited space of my purse.  Dig,dig. . . digdigdig. . .DIGDIGDIG. . . empty. . emptyemptyempty.  All of the contents of my purse was now out on the counter for all to see.  My measuring tape, several receipts, my Leatherman, my breathmints, my keys, my changepurse, my mp3 player, and my handwoven wallet made from $2 bills by my swede-man (aka darling husband), given to me for Christmas one year.   But this was my auxiliary wallet. . .not my real wallet.  This was the wallet that I used to carry CASH, which I never had!  But no REAL wallet came out of my purse.  No wallet containing my plastic!  Suddenly I started talking and muttering really fast. . .and caught myself.  "How much?"  I asked with trepidation.  "I seem to have lost my wallet."  my eyes drifting to the aisles, fertively searching the floor for my wallet before one of these desperates grabbed it. "Suurrre. . ." said the the bored looking cashier.  "Great!"  I thought, "He thinks I am one of them."   I grimace when he tells me the total.  I grabbed one or two items out of the bag and asked him to re-total.  Then. . . slowly I start taking apart my Christmas gift.  All eyes were on me as I deconstructed my gift and unfolded each bill and placed it on the counter. All eyes starred and were entranced, and wondered what kind of crazy woman keeps her money like that??!!
I walked out with 27 cents in my pocket and only a fraction of the merchandise that I had brought to the counter with me. . . . just like the lady in line before me.  I got in the car.  I had what I needed to repair my samples.  I could do this!  Then I chuckled to myself.  Exactly WHO was the crazy woman tonight anyway???

Monday, April 19, 2010

ACC Show - St. Paul, MN

After coming out of the deep coma of exhausted sleep that is only experienced by complete novices of the art circuit, I realize that I will have to work on toning my show muscles for my next show!  What absolutely physically and emotionally draining work!  I think I was that tired once in my life, after working by myself for endless hours on making rock steps carved into the hill leading down to the shore at our cabin on a particularly warm and humid day.  Or maybe it was the few weeks leading up to the ACC show when I was weaving round the clock trying to get some inventory woven so I would have something to show in my booth!!  I was falling alseep at my loom while weaving!! 

But even though exhaustion plagued my physical and emotional self, my spirit soared!  There I was, booth 408, rubbing elbows with long-time fiberartists like Randall Darwall and Brian Murphy, randalldarwall.com, and meeting greats like Tim Harding, http://www.timharding.com/!!  Shelley Tincher Buonaiuto, http://www.alittlecompany.net/, was directly across from me!  I was awestruck by the talent that was within the walls of the St. Paul RiverCentre.  Stunning work everywhere I looked!  And there I was in the middle of it, wondering to myself if I belonged!  But as the show progressed, I found that visiters did indeed consider me to be part of the talented elite!  Words like beautiful, inspired, elegant, stunning, creative, and unique fell on my beseeching and grateful ears.  Who needs sleep?!  Who needs sustainance for the body when one can have this 24 carot food for the spirit?!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It is just getting better and better. . . or is it??

So, a while back I wrote that I had been accepted into the American Craft Council Show in St. Paul!  Big news, right?!!  Grab a chair and sit, because I have also gotten word that I was accepted into the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco!!  A little running in place, some arm pumping, a bit of jumping up and down, and of course squealing with delight!!!. . . It is just getting better and better. . . or is it??

I heard about this not long after I heard about the St. Paul show, but I got so busy moving to my new weaving studio(!), during which I hurt my back!!  Not just a little tweak.  I managed to totally incapacitate myself!!  I could NOT weave until just a few weeks before the St. Paul show, and then got so busy trying to weave for that show that I just am getting to post the ACC San Francisco news now!

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 17th was a good day!

To have the recognition of one's peers is the biggest compliment of all!
Thanks Etsy.com!!