Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Birth of the Sun/Son

 The Nativity Story has taken on new meaning for me. It is no longer a stale old story of something that happened long ago and far away,  of concern only to those people who call themselves christians. 

Ever notice how the Christmas songs speak of the Birth as happening right now?  "Away in the manger...the baby lord Jesus lays down...", "We three kings of Orient are..." and so forth. Ever notice how dark and cold and cave-like the days are, like the cave the Babe is often said to be born in? And the way Jesus is often referred to as the light of the world?

He was not born in December, you know. Not the historical Jesus. Some say he was born in August. So why do we celebrate in December?

On December 21st, the sun goes into it's lowest point--and stays there for three days! It starts back up on Dec 24th or 25th--Christmas! The day the Divine Light is born in the baby Jesus according to Christian tradition.

the Golden Pheonix
rescues the sun
In celebrating the birth of Jesus on the same day as the birth or rebirth of the sun, we are celebrating not only the return of physical sunlight, but also the beginning of new Life, a New Year, and of the Divine Light that brings us out of soul darkness.

So is the Nativity story just another Solstice story?

 In my mind, there is a definite connection between the solstice stories of the sun being returned from darkness to give light to the world, and the Nativity story of the Divine baby being born "to save us all" from spiritual darkness.

In this Chinese story, the golden pheonix pushes the sun up from the dark depths of a cave at the bottom of the sea where it has been held captive, so that it can break free of its watery grave and once again light the earth.

At any event, just as we celebrate the birth of new Divine life and the return of the sun, so, inside of me, I feel a newness being born out of the darkness.

Monday, December 26, 2011

heArt From a Friend

Early last December, I think it was--the world has turned upside down and righted itself again a few times since then--I participated in a HeArt exchange sponsored by Louise Gale. Here is the delightful card and charm Shell sent me:

I love Shell's bright colors and bold designs! Her newest is a butterfly girl (BronteFly Girl) painted to honor her niece, Bronte. 

Winter scene on silk 
The  "Heart Moon" I sent Shell, painted on silk,  has much more subdued colors, although the white line around the moon and tree remind me of the white lines she sometimes uses to outline her images.

Oh! This is the image to use on my winter greeting cards!! (Too late to send Christmas cards or "Holiday Season" cards!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Living in Interesting Times

An ancient Chinese curse says, "May you live in interesting times!" Well, I don't feel cursed. I feel blessed. My car got totaled with me driving it--and I didn't even get a scratch! Now I am driving a sweet friend's car while she travels. My computer refused to work for a week--then miraculously started working again!

Meanwhile, I've been making Christmas with my grand daughter and her Dada, my son, as well as participating in local holiday traditions.

One Tradition I was pleased to be a part of for the second year in a row, is the December Vashon Island Art Studio Tour (look for HiLaDi Studio).  My studio was festooned with scarves! There were about 40 studios on the tour this year, my signage on the road could have been better, and few of the people I sent cards to came. As a result I didn't have as many visitors as I had hoped for, and didn't make any money. But oh! the delight of a couple of friends who bought scarves for themselves or for gifts was so heart warming!

And! I joined the newly forming Vashon Fabric and Textile Arts Cooperative! We have a retail space right next to the coffee shop (Cafe Luna).  Now I have some place to send people when they want to see more of my work or if they aren't ready to buy now but may be later.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas is What You Make It

"Christmas Is What You Make It"
card available on my etsy shop
Santa was broke that year--as he was so often during the years my children were young. We gathered wind blown Douglas Fir branches and tied them together to make a tree. I found a box of Christmas cards that said "JOY" on them in a house I was cleaning, and festooned our tree with them. We wrote Christmas wishes on slips of paper, put them in walnut shells, and hung them on the tree for friends to take.

Our favorite story was "How Six Found Christmas", by Trina Schart Hyman--still is my favorite! In this story, a little girl sets out to find Christmas, joined by several animals, each with his/her own thoughts about what Christmas looks, smells, feels, and sounds like. In the end, the girl decides Christmas is where you find it, and what you make it. We've been making Christmas ever since!

How do you make Christmas?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Mania or Christmas Magic?

last year, my 50 year old Barbie doll
became a Christmas Angel.
Some people don't like that Christmas is too "pagan"--but that's one of the things I LOVE about Christmas. I love that even before Christ walked the earth as the man we call Jesus, people dreaded the dark and celebrated the return of light. I love that we celebrate the birth of the Son within days of the return of the sun.  To me it's not an either or situation; it's not Jesus in the manger or the Yule log and the Solstice. It is both and.

It is not joining the mad rush to "save the economy" by spending lots of money on manufactured gifts.

My friends are making ornaments and hand made gifts, or buying gifts from local artists and artisans. Melanie Wiedner, an artist friend with a commitment to living her spiritual guidance,  is choosing to "occupy the holidays"  by living her values deeply and consciously.

 How shall I celebrate? What shall I make? How shall I make this season special and meaningful?

How do YOU celebrate (or not) the winter holidays?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some wow designers!

Oksancia's new scarf pattern as it might look on a scarf

Kaffe Fassett is known for his colors!
I've been visiting some really fantastic designers on line, recommended by my classmates in the Surface Design class I am taking.

  Oksancia  is not only a wonderful designer--she has a nice online presence I can learn from.

Susy Pilgrimwaters sketchbook page

Look at the colors surrounding Kaffe Fassatt! He did a workshop on Vashon Island last year that was an instant sellout!

Here's an inspirational sketchbook from Susy Pilgrimwaters. Check her out for more visual treats!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Priceless Sketch book

zentangle sketch book
I keep this one in my purse.
OK, so I've always sketched. Not every day, mind you, but often, especially when traveling,  or when waiting for a ferry or some such thing. And yet, I've never really understood the value of keeping a sketch book until today.

So, why keep a sketch book?
We know it is a record of what you've seen and where you've been.
Angelwing Begonia done with ball point pen
It's a good way to take notes about something you've seen, to refer to later.
A place to doodle, to while away the time.

But more. Much more.

It is a place in which to develop ideas and dreams. A place where the seed of an idea can sprout and grow until it is ready to blossom.  It is a living, breathing -- not just a record, but a tool, a....growing, changing, and very individual companion where your work and life can develop before it is ready for other eyes.

Angel wing Begonia
detail with brush and pen
Take a look at the sketch books of some very accomplished artists here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beatrice Alemagna

 Here's a new love: Beatrice Alemanga.
And here are some treats from her work.
Her work really sets me free to try some new things, as does the work of Priscilla Jones.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celia Birtwell Designer

This little lady really inspires me! She is such a dear! A British designer with gray hair and wrinkles--older than I am, even--she is still going strong.

Oh, and here is a really delightful designer!! Libby McMullen's work really inspires me! (It's the wanna be children's book illustrator in me).

W09 copy.jpg

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Circles, Circles, and more Circles!!

Our assignment in Surface Pattern and Design was to find and photograph a shape: circles, triangles, squares, or rectangles. What I found was circles. And more circles. I had no idea I had so many circles in my house!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Angel Wing Begonia

After days and days of rain and dark skies, my angel wing begonia glows in the morning sun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the art and business of Surface Pattern Design

I think I shall still be signing up for classes when I'm 103. I really LOVE how easy it is on the internet! Tomarrow (This is not spelled wrong. This is an old way of spelling this word; just look in any good dictionary!) I start a 4 week class: module 1 of the Art and Business of Surface Design and Pattern with Beth Nichols and Rachael Taylor.

I am absolutely blown away by the other people in the class! People from England, Australia, Canada, Sweden, SOUTH AFRICA! ESTONIA and more! I've gone from knowing no one else who was an artist to knowing artists from around the world!

(I wish I could figure out how to put a button for this class in my sidebar)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcoming the storm

Qi Gong on the beach this morning before the predicted storm--how can I describe it? Three human friends, some crows, two seagulls, and several ducks enjoying the morning light. How very blessed I am!!

We welcomed the storm, thinking about how it will wash away debris. Do the storms in our lives have the same cleansing effect?

Another joyful thing; on Monday I hung several of my silk paintings in the office of a friend, Dr. Pamela Smith,  of Sundance Natural Medicine, in Kenmore, WA. She painted her walls yellow to bring cheer to everyone who enters, and I think my paintings on her walls express that joy as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Serti Sorti: painting on silk using resist

We produced some amazing work in my class Sunday November 6th, using the Serti technique to paint on silk. Serti is French, meaning fence; the resist line makes a fence to keep the dye in. Ideally, the dye goes up to the resist line and stops, making a sharply defined image. Without the resist, the line is soft, and if there is a hole in your resist fence, the dye will escape!

 Sharpie permanent pens can provide a resist effect, though not as effectively as the Pebeo resist that comes in tubes from Dharma Trading. In this piece, Maya did the roses and butterfly first, using the Sharpie to outline before applying the rose colors with a brush. Then she outlined them with the Pebeo resist before painting in the black background color. The effect is stunning!

Ariel's Rainbow Dragon, done with the Sharpie pen for resist, is wonderfully enhanced by using salt to give texture to the background. Ariel and Maya both used Jaquard Red Label dyes, which are quite wet and wick through the silk quite a ways before "striking"--that is, stopping the onward march of color through the fabric.

The Sharpie pen is permanent; it will not wash out.

Dharma Pigment Dye seems to work better with the Sharpie pens as resist than the Jaquard dyes do,  I think because of the solid pigments in it; it doesn't wick through the fabric as quickly. Even so, the Sharpie doesn't hold as well as the Pepeo resists do.

The white lines in this piece are the Pebeo resist. I use the clear, and it washes out easily in water. If you look closely, you can see where the dye escaped my fence! (hint--the green water lilies pads in front)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shibori Joy

We started with pure white scarves,
such as the one Ariel is modeling.
Such fun teaching shibori to lovers of silk and beauty!  Classes October 30 and November 6th
were very much enjoyed by all participants.

Shibori is a way of folding and twisting silk, then dropping dye onto the fabric to create wonderful patterns. We use the vibrant Jaquard Red Label dyes from Dharma Trading Company.

By the way, Bruce Goff has an interesting story about how and why he started Dharma Trading Company here. Seems he was way ahead of me with the idea that business can be grounded in a spiritual practice!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flora Bowley

Wow, what an incredible artist! Flora Bowley's vibrant colors, the way her shapes and colors fade in and out with each other--I don't know how to describe it! Do take a look! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Cat

I do love Halloween. Even though no one comes to my door. Even though I am too old to trick or treat--and too lazy to dress up. Even though my kids are grown.

This pumpkin is 4 feet in diameter!
Last night I went uptown to Vashon, where most of the parents of young children and teenagers gathered--in costume and not-- to trick or treat at the local businesses.

 Oh the wonderful costumes! Oh the haunted houses, the pumpkin carvings, the feeling of celebration and community.

Some people dressed as role models.  There was an old wise woman, some princesses and some brides. One girl of about 6 or 8 years rode dressed as a prairie girl in a covered wagon pulled by her pony.

My grand daughter was Amelia Erheart. Her grandfather made her a bi-wing airplane that fit on her wagon so that she could fly from treat to treat.

Some people dressed as mythical creatures. fairies, star wars characters, and such. There was even a satyr, with  long horns, on tall springy legs, leaping across the street!

Some were scary! Witches in black or purple. zombies. A headless bride. Scariest was a couple of ghouls with a wheelbarrow full of bloody brains (cauliflowers)!

What did you do last night?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Journaling for wealth and health

I started journaling years ago, when I lived in the desert, struggling to raise my sons while remaining true to my vision. We lived in a shack which eventually had running water and an indoor toilet (the septic tank was an old refrigerator).  With three sons, their father, his brother, and two of their male friends --none of whom had jobs--I was very much outnumbered!. Even the cat was male! I decided that someday I would have my own home near the water in a place with trees.

Has journaling helped me to live the life of my dreams?

Yes. Before my sons were grown, I had my own home less than a block from beach on Puget Sound. I met and married my soul mate, joined an artists co-op ( a print studio), and began to show my art work publicly. Along the way, I finished college, wrote and illustrated a children's book, and got a "real" job, teaching children with special needs.

Atom's Monster is available from:
Twice Sold Tales on line
I still journal, and I still have dreams I am working on. Journalling helps me to clarify my thoughts, to think through my goals,  and to stay focused. It helps me to work through mental blocks and obstacles that at first seem insurmountable. Journaling helps because, as MacIver of Heron Dance says, there is

the need in this fast-paced world for each of us to get away from the day to day chatter and distractions that dominate our surface mind and travel deep inside the long term trends and potentials of our lives. 

Here are some ways journaling helps create mental health, according to Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.:

  •  Journaling will give you an outlet for pent-up emotions as youdeal with day-to-day life issues
  • Journaling will allow you to dream as you give your ideas a name while moving toward success
  • Journaling will allow you to gain insight with a clearer vision of issues you've gone through during daily blunders and mishaps
  • Journaling will allow you to remain honest with yourself as you sort things out in privacy, while becoming renewed and changed
Do you journal? What are some ways you clear your mind and focus your thoughts?

Friday, October 28, 2011

heART exchange and 7 days of JOY.

Just downloaded a mini-gratitude book from Louse Gale. What a fantastic idea for chasing the winter blues away! She's founded a heART exchange, to "raise the consciousness of the world, one by one through practicing self-care, love, kindness, forgiveness & gratitude through creative expression." 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Surviving the Dark with Art

Toward the end of October, the blue sky suddenly turns a dark forbidding gray. The relentless rain washes my mind into a dark hole. Sadness settles in, and all I want to do is hibernate. And that’s OK…for awhile…until the gray fogginess in my brain makes it hard to keep my life together.  Until the bills become due and there’s no way to pay them.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few ways to beat back the dark. Friends help. Stepping out of  myself to do a good turn for someone else helps. Most of all, creating a bit of beauty helps. My favorite surviving the dark images are bright yellow or orange flowers or butterflies with a blue or dark blue/gray background. The image can be primitive or stylized—even abstract.

I hang the image on the wall, and it lifts my spirits all winter long!

What are your favorite ways of beating back the dark?

Friday, October 14, 2011

True Riches--Enduring Joy

An eagle flew over our heads as we performed the Qi Gung movement "fly like an eagle" on the beach this morning. Outside the harbor, a north wind kicked up whitecaps against an outgoing tide. Inside my body/mind, a sense of peace feeds a song of joy.

A broken stock market cannot rob me of riches such as these. The joy in my soul is like the pearl Jesus speaks of, or like the ecstasy Michael Mead was referring to in this quote:

Happiness, like happenstance, can come or go on a whim; but joy is an exaltation that remains in the soul, an opening to the realm of spirit that alters our nature.” 
– Michael Meade

An Opening to the Realm of Spirit.  Enduring Joy. Yes. That's it. That's what I want to give you through my art. True riches.

This scarf, inspired by a madrona tree at a local beach, is for my friend Joy.  It isn't finished yet; you can see the salt crystals that will give the tree the texture of madrona leaves.

These scarves are among those I will offer for sale at Saturday Market tomarrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chaos is not the Enemy

silk scarves in the making
That black liquid in the back of the refrigerator? Don't throw that out! That's extra strong coffee for dying cloth.  The can opener? I think we're keeping it on the counter by the bread maker this week. That yogurt container labeled "Fish Stock" contains spaghetti sauce.

Every room in my house is part library, part studio, and part whatever it is supposed to be. Yes, I have picture frames stacked in my bedroom, paints and watercolor paper in the office,  good reading books in the bathroom, and more art supplies and books by the washing machine. Sound chaotic?

Although my sons play computer games where the bad guys are from "Chaos", I never considered chaos to be the enemy. Imagine my delight to find this quote!

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I must be giving birth to dancing stars!

Still----it would be nice to be able to find the spaghetti sauce when it's time to make dinner!

Friday, September 30, 2011

At the Market

Maybe it's because so many people know me from other work I've done in the community. Maybe be it's a more affluent neighborhood. Maybe people here just love beauty. Maybe it's because I'm not all worn out from taking the 6:25 am ferry to any other market I've been to.

Whatever the reason, I have consistently sold more at the Vashon Farmer's Market than at any other venue I've tried with my silks and my cards. And had more fun!

This little girl was so excited about my scarves, she wanted to try on every single one! She wasn't satisfied until her mom offered to take her picture wearing one and I told her I would post it on my blog. Then she picked out my two almost matching scarves and insisted that I wear one in the picture too!

This is Celeste, grandmother of two former students.
 Isn't she beautiful? 
Sometimes former students stop by with their parents; the kids and parents recognize me, but the kids are twice as tall and some of the boys are close to sprouting beards! The sweet little girls have turned into beautiful young women!

I love to see the smiles when people walk away wearing one of my scarves, or with a gift of a special scarf tucked away and parting words like, "You have made someone so happy!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Learn to Paint on Silk; for Non-Artists and Artists Alike

I will be starting an new series of silk painting classes soon. I want to give people a way to make beautiful gifts for their loved ones this Christmas. Wish me luck! And come if you can!!

Upcoming Classes

Silk Painting for Christmas Giving
October 23, 30, Nov 6th
at my studio on Vashon

These classes are for artists and non-artists alike 
to create beautiful wearable art and home decor.
Sunday Oct 23, 1-4 pm: 
cost $55 including materials
Create wonderful patterns by printing with found and natural objects, a technique that can be used for scarves, clothing, pillows, table runners and more.

Sunday Oct 30, 1-4 pm:
Cost: $55 including materials.

Use a Japanese tie dying technique called Shibori to create 3 beautiful scarves. 

Sunday Nov 6, 1-4 pm:
Cost: $55 including materials
Use a water soluble resist for a batik like effect to create images on silk. 

Open Studio
Sunday November 13  1-4
Cost $10
For anyone who has taken a silk painting class from me
To play with color and cloth and to create beauty to share
I supply the dyes and the space and answer your questions; you supply the silk

Monday, September 26, 2011

Emerald Spiral Expo Fall 2011

Isirdro Nilsson won my scarf for Joannie Vogel as a door prize
The Emerald Spiral Expo:
I didn't know quite what to expect. A line of tents with gypsy fortune tellers? Tarot readers? Crystal balls? Energy Healers? Astrologers? People channeling their spirit guides? Regression into past lives? Sellers of Crystals and magic potients? Would  my booth partner, Michele of Hurrikayn Natural Soaps, and I be the only ones with products you can touch? Would we feel out of place? Would anyone buy our wares?

Well, yes, there were astrologers and Tarot readers, crystal balls, and spirit channelers. There were energy healers and Reiki practitioners, people doing spirit cleansings and healings of many kinds. The energy of all the venders was for healing, helping, and loving.

There were several people I would like to meet again:

*L'aura Grace told me she was healed of a 17 year chronic bladder infection when she connected with energy healers using light. She now channels this light for others with the help of an Angel (whose name I've lost). I had just read in Ode Magazine of the light that transmits healing messages to our whole bodies. Sounds kind of woo woo, but I have used this concept and it works!

*Dolly Mae wrote a book: Choosing Joy in the Midst of Crisis. Her premis is that one can choose to live in fear--or to live in Love. Living in Love leads to a joyful life. She is teaching "A Course in Metaphysics" Wednesday Evenings in Everett. Choosing to respond to life with love rather than fear has been my path for awhile now.

*Robin Ritter is a "Certified Oneness Master". She practices I'O Mastery Healing, a form of healing founded by Laurie Keako'a Grant of Hawaii. What I saw her doing reminded me of Reiki, which I used to help my husband when he was sick with cancer.

And no, no one bought my scarves or cards, but I did have fun! Michele did sell enough soaps to pay the booth fee and perhaps a bit more.