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

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!