Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Quaker Lady and the Sufi Man

Want to know why I am so happy lately? Here he is!

Who knew that this Christian Quaker mama would fall in love with a Muslim Sufi man? Or that we would find the same God, the same values, the same vision of the Divine at the core of our Spiritual practices?

p.s. He's wearing a hat I made just for him, of raw silk.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Storm Inside

Today feels like a lost day. Tropical Storm/Hurricane/cyclone Sandy is battering the East Coast, and a part of me is hunkered down with the millions of people without power being battered by the wind and water. Here it is only raining, for the 8th straight day, and the storm inside me is not life threatening. It just feels that way.

It's because I am starting something new. It has to do with my soul/business mission which emerged during Kelly Rae's ecourse "Hello Soul, Hello Business".

It seemed so easy at the time: celebrate the good that ordinary people are doing by featuring them on my blog, wearing one of my scarves. I tell their story and link to their online presence and to my etsy shop where my scarves are for sale. Win-win, right? And lots of fun to do.

So why am I so scared all of a sudden? On the way to do my first photo shoot, I almost backed out. My first model is a good friend and someone I admire for her commitment to making a life centered on love and spirit, some one with a story worth telling--and suddenly I have writer's block. I am battered with doubts and fears and don't know how to proceed.

Well, when in doubt, ride it out. Things will come clear soon enough. As Tama Kieves tells us:

"Don’t EVER give up on your gift dear one. There’s a reason you have the dream you have. It’s a bright commandment, a certified treasure map, the ticket to the rest of your life. "

Friday, October 26, 2012

Exploring silk painting techniques: Itajime with soy resist

Maple leaf image over itajime pattern
This piece made it into the show at the Blue Heron Gallery! The background was done with a Japanese technique called itajime; for the foreground I used a real maple leaf, a tjanting tool, and soy wax resist. With Itajime, one folds the cloth in various ways and sandwiches it between blocks or clamps before immersing it in the dye. The blocks or clamps resist the dye, creating a pattern.
tjanting tools from Dharma Trading Co
The tjanting tool is a tool for drawing lines of resist onto cloth. The copper bowl holds the melted wax resist, keeping it warm enough to flow out of the narrow spout like ink from a pen. The wax prevents the dye from meeting the cloth, creating effects such as the lines defining the maple leaf in the image above.

You can do some wonderful things with Itajime and with tjanting tools! If you take my class on Nov 11, I will teach you some tricks.

 Check out some of these web sites for what you can do with itajime:

Kaizen Journey
Dye Candy
Dye Smithy

Making a Dream Come True

I bought a boat. It's a Catalina 27, a 27' sailboat that fits me! It's a dream come true--and a huge learning experience.
So here I am, a single woman in my 60's, an artist living on social security trying to make a business of my art--and I have the gall to buy a sailboat!? Hey, making art and developing a business are full time activities in themselves, and now I have a boat?! Who do I think I am?? AND I plan to go to Thailand in February?

It's all about who I want to be in the world and what I want to do with my life and with my art. The bottom line is, I want to share with everyone I meet the Joy of living. I want to open my heart to the Divine Awareness and to every person I come in contact with, listening for opportunities to express the Joy, the Love, the Compassion that have been given to me. And I want boating to be a part of that vision.

son Jeremy and River

When I was in Port Townsend (the best boating town I know) this summer for the Edge Program for Visual Artists, I got back in touch with my love for sailing and for cruising. It was time for me to get a boat. When this little Catalina 27 came available for $3000, I jumped on it. I tell you, I could TASTE how much I wanted this boat. I borrowed $ from my son (It is nice to have hardworking good earning sons!) and put money down on it within 15 minutes of checking it out.
grand daughter River on the boat

And it has opened up my life! The joy of sailing and working on the boat with my sons is--dare I say it?--even greater than sailing with my soul mate was when he was living. The friendships I have made and renewed are already accumulating. What I need for the boat comes easily; the right person to help and advise just shows up when I need them most!

And I am learning to do new things, like make the right mixture of gas and oil for the outboard motor (Ugh! I hate...I mean, I am not comfortable with small engines). Fixing the leaks now that the rain has come. Figuring out how to put in reefing lines (to make the sail smaller when the wind is stronger).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Colorhue dyes vrs Jaquard dyes

Colorhue dyes on the left; Blue on the right is Jaquard.
I've been experimenting with dyes and with a shibori technique called Itajime. Well, the Jaquard dyes don't work for itajime! No matter how tightly I screw down the clamps, the dye follows the silk threads under the block, and no pattern emerges. I do like the Jaquard for a lot of applications; I can get smooth transitions of color, painting on the dyes with a brush, while the colorhue dyes always want to show the brush strokes. Or I can get some wonderful effects when I let one Jaquard color dry before applying the next.
detail of "Maple Leaves"

Soy wax makes an excellent resist for Colorhue dyes; the Jaquard dyes tend to jump over the soy wax. "Maple Leaves" was done with Colorhue dyes; the background was done with itajime technique.

"Maple leaves" scarf

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm back at the market!!

This little one loved the feel and the colors of my silks! What a joy to watch her!

I'm back at Saturday Market after a month and a half hiatus--and it is so good to be back! My booth is next to the music, and I love watching the children dance to it.

I plan to continue at Saturday Market--unless it pours-- through the 3rd Saturday in December, with these exceptions:
 Holly Daze Bazaar on Nov 17th
Dec 1st and 8th, when I will be on the Studio Tour.

If you are in the Seattle area, hop on a ferry over to Vashon and enjoy the market with me. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Right Brained Business Plan: Action Plans

Magazines and books--I always start at the back. So of course I started filling in my Right Brained Business Plan at the back, with an Action Plan. Well, once I got the core in place, the Values, Vision, and Mission.

First plan: "Tramp Harbor" installation at a public place such as the Seattle Convention Center.

I used Kelly Rae's technique for planning, from her ecourse Flying Lessons.

1. Start with seeing the project completed. What will it look like, sound like, etc.

It looks like this: there are 14 panels of silk hanging from a 12 foot ceiling. The panels are 6'-10' long, painted with dyes.
 They sway gently as people walk through them and with the ambient movement of air. They depict a beach scene, with many birds, sunlight through clouds, seaweed and sand.

Here's what people are saying: "Mary, come look at this!" "OOOH, I just want to wrap myself in that one and go to the opera." "Look how the birds seem to fly as the silk moves!" "Remember when we were children playing on the beach?" "I fish from the beach sometimes. It is SO peaceful!" "We need to keep our beaches and waters clean so that our children and grandchildren can do that."

2. What did I do just before this scene?

Well, I hung the silks. What did I need in order to do that? How did I prepare the silks for hanging?
What materials did I need, and how long did it take? I figured all this out.

3. Before that?

Painted the silks and steamed them. What did I need for materials for that? How long did that take?

And so I went through the process backwards through finding the place to hang them, writing a grant to get the funds, FINDING the grants to apply for, etc.

Now I know what it will take to do this, how long it will take, what materials I will need, how much it will cost. Now I know I can do this, when I am ready.