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!