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The Value of Light

28 May

I don’t have a title for this post.  Maybe it will come as I write.  Today is Sunday and I took the day off.  Not because it’s Sunday but because I was tired and decided to listen to my body.  So instead of working, I rigged up lights for an upcoming art show at the Ramsey Center, Western Carolina University–Cullowhee–in a few weeks.  Indoor shows are challenging because eco printed scarves look dull and dingy under most arena-type lighting.

Most of my shows to date have been outside.  That’s tricky sometimes, in terms of weather, but I’m under a tent and even if it rains, we’re o.k.  And always the light and wind benefit the eco printed scarves–highlights their natural beauty–a beauty I’m quick to add that I am not responsible for.  I facilitate their ability to appear on cloth.  That’s all.  A good mechanic.

But back to the indoor shows: the only show I did last year that fell below my arbitrarily established “sales goal” was indoors and dreadful.  The inside lighting was miles away from ground level.  And it was a muddy green color.  Everyone and everything looked kinda seasick.  So this show in June–a two-day event–will also be indoors–which leads me to the purpose of this blog–a solution for lighting.

Sometimes I have help setting up my booth–sometimes I don’t–but my intention is always to have a compact, easy-to-set up exhibit.  Lightweight as well.  At first I thought track lights and priced them out.  Nope.  Quite heavy and rather pricey. I asked the Lowe’s clerk if I could rig a regular fixture up and wire it to an extension cord. She said yes. I asked her if she could explain it to me. She said “no” but listened to me thinking out loud and seemed to agree with how I thought to proceed.  Buy four ceiling fixtures–bulbs included–buy four extension cords and a roll of electric tape.  Snip off the receptacle end of the cord, strip it a bit and then wire to the existing light.  There you have it.  I have four fixtures now ready to go and they put off good light. So if the scarves don’t do well, at least I’ll know lighting wasn’t the problemIMG_3519

This is a busy year for me for shows. Last count I have 11 before end of year. Last Saturday was a good event: Montford Music and Arts Festival here in Asheville. Good weather, good people, great music and very good sales. IMG_4805.JPG

Posting new scarf images at http://www.thelanguageofleaves.com but can’t do it from this iPad. Will also be listing my schedule of shows any day now.

Warrior Women: prayer flag #11

4 Feb

This morning I’m thinking about a warrior woman–one woman in particular–a scrappy keeper-of-goats living in the harsh yet beautiful desert of the SW.    Not a place for the weak of body or spirit.  I’m joining her this morning in solidarity, vowing to take back what I’ve been relinquishing–stepping out of this small, spiteful drama and reclaiming, to the degree that I can–a sense of perspective–a sense of how it goes.  Viewing the big screen in high definition.onewomancu

warrior-woman

This warrior woman was part of a weaving exercise using a little box as the loom.  She stands on cloth dyed with black walnuts.  Mounted on fabric mordanted with sumac.  Her head is one half of a sampler I made while practicing slow cloth with Jude Hill.  And yes, Jude Hill is a warrior as well.  As was my mother.   As is my daughter.  My sister, friends cousins and nieces.  This is for you.

Into the Stillness: prayer flag #9

2 Feb

img_4189This what-might-look-like-a rag pile is actually my hoard of earthly, material treasures. (No pun intended.)   Things I would grab if leaving home in a hurry.  On that little couch, and the shelves that surround it,  I find remnants of work from the last ten or so years.  Natural dyed fabric experiments, hand-dyed indigo shibori pieces, pieces of slow cloth that I labored over so intensely, eco print fabrics, pieces of silk hand dyed and ecoprinted, needle felted wool, etc.  And this is where I go, these mornings of late, when I begin the prayer flag of the day.

This morning I was contemplating the importance of stepping into stillness.  Especially as a tool to handle the maelstorm of current events.  Contemplating stillness and casually examining pieces of cloth.  What surfaced was a felted wool stork.  Felted wool and pieces of linen indigo dyed shibori.  Surfaced and coalesced with little effort on my part.

Curious abbestreallyout stork’s symbolism in light of the intent of these prayer flags, I googled stork.   My take-away:

If we allow it to it can instill a sense of calm in us…. It reminds us to be careful with our words and attitudes, remaining calm, cool, and collected in the face of adversity. When we do this, we can be at peace.

Instill.  In still.  OK.  Into stillness.

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Prayer Flag 7: Stand Firm

31 Jan

Sometimes that’s all I can do. Stand firm.  Or at least it’s all I can try to do.

just-try

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Transformation: Prayer Flag #4

28 Jan
toppocket

Holding

Transformation:  Google definition:  a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Synonyms:   change, alteration, mutation, conversion, metamorphosis, transfiguration, transmutation, revolution, overhaul; remodeling, reshaping, redoing, reconstruction, rebuilding, reorganization, rearrangement, reworking, renewal, revamp, remaking, remake;  morphing…

…from the original to what is now.   Everything a manifestation of form, of thought, or the action that preceded it.  Yet everything always in the process of changing–of becoming something else.   Variable.  Never static.   And right now I need to remember that.

My fears for the future are “stories” I create.  Stories based on many things–experience, programming, culture, etc. –but stories nonetheless.  Why not write a different story? Revise the script?  Thoughts matter.  A lot.  Maybe more than anything.  Because they manifest and bear fruit.  Personally I’m tired of many of my thoughts and retiring them to the graveyard of inedible fruit.  At least that’s what I intend to do.

Today’s prayer flag embodies these concepts–the fluidity of transformation.  The on-going reorganization of thought and action that changes one state of being into another.  And in this instance, a rearrangement of scrap cloth–disparate pieces of eco printed and naturally dyed fabric now unite  to form a cohesive entity.  For me this flag illustrates the notion of manifestation.  Intention The idea that thoughts bear fruit.  And especially, thank you Aristotle, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  So.  Like this prayer flag, we can come together with every intention of manifesting a different outcome to the trajectory of today’s political arena.

OK.  Here it is:

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Transformation

pockettwo

Holding

The Sacred Hoop: prayer flag #2

26 Jan

I guess I’ll do this until frustration with the mechanics of blog-world once more drives me nuts. In six short months I have forgotten every THING I knew about WordPress. What should have been a quick download of this morning’s eco dyed prayer flag has taken almost an hour. Beginning with i-pad pic, getting it off the i-pad to the desktop, dealing with the google drive, wordpress not recognizing the google drive, downloaded a pic and now cannot insert text above it. Deleted pics, inserted text first then again the pics. Now can’t figure out why photos in preview mode won’t give me that little hand-finger icon so they can be enlarged.

And wondering all the while–“why am I doing this?” and really–I don’t have a good answer. But I will continue making these prayer flags–messages on the wind, sending out concerns, hopes and prayers trusting they’ll be carried where they may help some thing in some way.

Listen Grandfather Where I Stand

Hey-a-a-hay! Lean to hear my feeble voice.

At the center of the sacred hoop,

you have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,

with running eyes I must say….

The tree has never bloomed.

Here I stand, and the tree is withered.

Again I recall the great vision you gave me.

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives….

Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds!

Hear me, that the people may once again go back to the sacred hoop,
find the good road, and the shielding tree.

~Black Elk

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Freedom of Speech?

25 Jan

May 6, 2016.  Last post.  And today I’m starting anew.  From a different place.  Completely different.  When I read back over prior posts, there’s a lot I’m not “hearing.” I’m not hearing the things that I need to say now.  For good reason.  Now looks so different from then.

Yes, I did have a very busy year–from May to December.  I don’t know how many shows I attended as a vendor–one or two a month.  This year I’m more selective perhaps but still anticipate monthly shows, beginning in February.  Surprised myself by finding that although they are hard, I like meeting people.  And truthfully (my truth–not “alternative facts”) the scarves were well received.  So…clearly unable to live on my  meager monthly entitlement, selling at shows will be in the future for as long as it works.

OK.  Enough.  I’m freaking out.  Cannot believe what’s happening in our country.  Cannot believe the casualties already–truth was the first to fall, soon to be followed by the demise of our environment, and perhaps even democracy as we knew it.

I post infrequently on facebook.  Mainly just to an eco print forum but sometimes to my page.  Lately I’m noticing the intensity of the political things I’m “sharing.”  And I’m also noticing that in the past I’ve shared with trepidation–afraid?  Not wanting to alienate anyone?  I’m not sure.  And because facebook on some level turns my stomach, I’m back here.  Back to followingthread.  Here I can say what I need to say from an uncensored place within, and that’s what I aim to do.  Starting with this.  People, freedom-of-speech is on the chopping block.  We Americans can hardly imagine what a world without it would look like.  So let me suggest a vision–a totalitarian state unlike anything we’ve known.

Yesterday the president issued gag orders on many federal agencies.  I know I’m  not the only person freaked by this.  The ability to call and comment on  whitehouse.gov has been removed and now requires internet access to either text  or post on facebook.  15% of the nation have NO internet.

Somehow I’ve got to get on top of this–this feeling/mindset/mood/condition that seems to be taking me away from myself.  Old strategies aren’t working very well.  I meditate.  Try to practice mindfulness.  Breathe.  Pray.  And it all helps for a while, but soon the heaviness returns.

So back to the healing powers of ripping cloth.  This morning, my second prayer flag.  Made from eco dyed and eco printed fabric.  During the time I was doing this, I realized that once again shredding cloth alleviates stress.   I’m imagining many more in the days to come.

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