Inward Journey, Search for Self – Solo Show

Newer pieces in the show.

There is still time to see the show, it runs through March 27th, 2017
@ University Friends Meeting & Friends Center
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
The Friends Center is open M-F from 9am – 1pm. The show is in the social hall which is locked. You will need to knock on the office door.
Their worship services are on Sunday morning. http://ufmseattle.org/
And for those who can’t make it to the show, here are a few pictures of the newer pieces.

Path of Liberation, hand-dyed fabric and beads. Background is 24″ x 24″.                                              The dyed fabric is a vintage linen napkin!

Healing the Mother: jigsaw puzzle, pins, threads. 14″ x 18″

Goddess / Tree: tablet woven band on silk and linen background. 23″ Diameter.                           Need to figure out a better name. Think I may title it ‘Ima Adamah – Mother Earth’.

 

Mother Tree – Asherah, Handwoven fabric with needle felting and needle weaving, net, mounted on padded wire frame. 43″ x 30″ x 7″ This piece has move to the Fiber Fusion show at Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. Fiber Fusion opens March 9th and runs through April 15th.

 

 

 

Show, Classes, a busy February

February will be a busy month!

Reception: My Solo Show – Inward Journey, Search for Self                                   February 5th, 2017 1-3pm @ University Friends Meeting & Friends Center
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105                               https://www.facebook.com/events/735555793260230/                                                 The show will be up until the end of March. The Friends Center is open M-F from 9am – 1pm. The show is in the social hall which is locked. You will need to knock on the office door. Their worship services are on Sunday morning. http://ufmseattle.org/

Weaving Classes @ Swedish Club
1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109                                                                 Classes run for 4 weeks Beginning February 7, 2016                                               Beginning Weaving on a 4-harness loom, 2-4 pm                      https://www.facebook.com/events/1796858190579484/                                            Basic Tapestry and Two-Harness or Rigid Heddle Weaving        https://www.facebook.com/events/612421362291663/                                                   To contact the Swedish club call: (206) 283-1090                        http://swedishclubnw.org/

My booth at last year’s conference.

Next retail event: Women of Wisdom Conference Market Place                      Saturday – Monday, February 18 – 20, 2017                                                               Market hours are 8:30am -7pm Saturday and Sunday and 8:30am – 1pm Monday      Held at North Seattle College in the Campus Center
9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103
SW corner of the campus – enter at 95th St.               
http://www.womenofwisdom.org/wow-market-place.html

Winding a Warp – Towel exchange

Towels_warpHello again. It’s been a busy almost 2 years since I last posted here. In the meantime, I started an e-newsletter and have been posting on my Facebook page, so my writing efforts have been appearing in those venues. Part of the reason it’s been so long is I ran into the proverbial writers block in my art story. Time to start on a different theme.

This coming September I will start teaching weaving at the Swedish Club in Seattle. I have been thinking about doing a series of posts on fiber processes so I decided to start with a few on weaving. These posts can be an introduction and a resource for my students.

The other kick in the rear I got is recently my husband’s cousin told me she has plans to start a sewing blog. We challenged each other to post something before our next family gathering in mid September. So here we go.

A couple of years ago I participated in a handwoven towel exchange project through the Seattle Weavers’ Guild. Having had the idea of writing a series of ‘how to’ posts, I’ve occasionally been taking process pictures of the projects I’m working on. The series of photos from this project includes most of the steps for setting up a loom.

I started with these 2 cones of 8/2 matte cotton yarn.

I started with these 2 cones of 8/2 matte cotton yarn.

So what is a towel exchange? Each participant wove a number of towels and brought the finished towels to a meeting. We drew numbers and took turns picking out other weaver’s towels. We all went home with the same number of towels, just they were ones woven by someone else.

Setting up a loom – Step #1 – Winding the warp

The warp are the lengthwise yarns that are under tension on the loom. After you decide the size of the finished cloth, you calculate the number of warp threads (or ends) and the length you’ll need. This project needed a total of 480 ends, each 12 yards long for a total of 5,760 yards. Which for this yarn was about 1.7 pounds.

Towels_warping_board

Warping Board

In the photo above and the video below, you see the threads being wound on a warping board. The pegs are 1 yard apart making it easy to get the length you need. Towels_warp_cross

At the top are two extra pegs that allow you to form a figure ‘8’ called a ‘cross’. A yarn is tied through the spaces to maintain the ‘cross’ which helps to keep the threads in order while putting them on the loom.

Towels_partial_blue_cone

The blue warp threads have all been measured and cut but none of the white warp has been wound yet. Used over half of the cone.

After you finish winding a section of the warp, in this case 2″ worth, you need to chain the warp bundle. It’s done the same way you make a chain in crochet, just using your hands. Start at the end away from the cross and continue until you have “chained” the warp to the tie for the cross. This will keep the warp threads from getting totally tangled up.

Towels_warp_chains

The warp is chained and now ready to be put onto the loom. Note how much yarn is left on the cones.

So if you are inspired to learn how to weave, my beginning weaving class starts Tues. Sept. 13th and meets from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The registration form is available HERE.

Next post will be about threading the loom.

 

November – December Shows and Events

I have two more shows and a speaking engagement coming up this fall. Looking forward to seeing people and sharing my new work. More to come about that soon, meanwhile:

This weekend (Nov. 22-23rd) is Oddmall in Everett, WA.

Two weeks later is the 4th annual Hanukkah Art and Gift Sale at Kadima on Dec. 7th.

The following week, on Dec. 13th, I will be the speaker at the Contemporary Quilt Arts Association’s December meeting. My program is “Threads of Spirit, Cloth of Meaning”. They always welcome guests, and there is no admission fee for meetings.

Scroll down for information about all of these events.

OddMall Poster Show Hours:
Saturday, November 22,2014 – 11am – 7pm
Sunday, November 23,2014 – 11am-6pm

Holiday Inn – Downtown Everett
3105 Pine Street
Everett, Washington 98201‎

Sharing a booth with Kevin Cain, should be a fun and interesting time!

KadimaArtSale14WebSpeaker at the Contemporary Quilt Art Association December Meeting
Program: “Threads of Spirit, Cloth of Meaning”
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Bertona Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus
107 West Bertona St., Seattle WA
For a map and directions visit http://www.contemporaryquiltart.com/ComeJoinUs.htm

Happy Jewish New Year

Happy Jewish New Year everyone.

Detail of Path to Avodat ha'Lev, the Work of the Heart.

Detail of Path to Avodat ha’Lev, the Work of the Heart.

My wish for the new moon, new month and new year: May it bring Peace, Prosperity, and Loving Relationships based in pure heart desire and intention for the highest good of all. And may we each find our way to the work of our hearts.
Shana Tova (a good year) Blessings to all.

Mind the Spirals

Tiny Tales posterI was very pleased to be invited to participate in this show, the second creative challenge sponsored by Seattle Handmade. “Tiny Tales and Small Stories” is at Stunningly Strange Gallery, 407 Main Street, Edmonds, WA. You can go see this great little show for about one more week, until Sept. 17, 2014.

The challenge was to create a piece of artwork that was no more than 6” in any direction and it had to be accompanied by an original story of 200 words or less. My first couple of ideas weren’t going anywhere, I couldn’t find the materials I wanted, they wanted to be bigger than 6”, no story to go with them, hmm… now what? I had been ruminating on my swirly thinking, and the beginning of this story came to me. Ah… here was an idea, and a visual in my head to go with it! So here it is:

Mind-the-Spirals_P11_webMind-the-Spirals-Detail44_webMind the Spirals
Her mind swirled leaping from one thing to the next. Landing in one spot and staying only a short while before the next place called her on. At times she felt like a squirrel randomly leaping from branch to branch, her thoughts leaving a trail of mental bread crumbs.

She traveled the multi-verse, looking for connections between the random pieces she Mind-the-Spirals-Detail25_webfound, and then it came to her. She was a Time Lord, like the good Doctor. Who?

Materials: Painted plywood base, acrylic paint, copper wire, jigsaw puzzle pieces, thread, scale model figures at 1:100 scale. Notes: The scale figures were white, I liked the paint job I was able to do and they are between 5/8″ and 3/4″ tall. The base is 6″ x 6″, and overall it’s about 5″ tall.Mind-the-Spirals_P31_web

“Pulling Spirit into Daily Life”

It was the third and last quarter of the certificate program, and time to start on our final piece that would be in our class show. After the harsh critique of my last piece, I wanted to ‘redeem myself’ and make a better one. Rather than starting with a new concept, I decided to continue working with the same subject. The second result was way more successful in expressing the ideas I had. During my meditations prior to the first piece (along with the words “pulling the threads of spirit into our daily lives”) I saw the juxtaposition of two different types of textiles connected with threads or yarn. The felt would represent the spirit world that is often only sensed with an intuitive feeling. The woven piece, with it’s gridded pattern, would illustrate the regulated structures of daily life and the human penchant for categorizing and labeling everything. Adding the connecting threads would open the possibility to begin merging the two worlds.
Pulling Spirit detail 2smOne of my goals for the certificate program was to find a focus for my work. While working on this piece I realized that I had found it. A lot of artists focus on a specific technique and/or subject matter. For me it’s the concept and ideas behind the piece not the technique that is my focus. And overall, it is the Spiritual aspect that has become the primary focus for my work.
This piece is the second in what will eventually be a triptych. The third piece will be “The Spiritual Life”. Looking back, these pieces were representative of my own journey. I needed to make “…Awakening to Spirit” first, as it reflected my past. When I made “Pulling Spirit…” it showed where I was on my path at that time. I started to prep the fleece for the base of the third piece, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten on it. The compelling need to work on it again hasn’t happened yet. I’m still pulling those threads of Spirit into my daily life. When it’s time, I’ll make that third piece.

“Daily Life Awakening to Spirit”

It was the beginning of March 2010 and the end of the second quarter of the certificate program. The major focus for the quarter was “Conceptual Strategies in Fiber Art” and looking at the creative process in general, and our own process in particular. Towards the end of the quarter, we were to reflect on an old piece, and use it as a springboard for a new piece, our final piece for the quarter. Since I couldn’t decide which piece to reflect on, I looked at two pieces, “Shamanic Connections” and “Finding the Patterns in the Puzzle of Life”. Working from those pieces and another idea that I got during meditation, I started on my piece “Pulling the Threads of Spirit into our Daily Lives”. I finished the piece the night before class, mounted it the next morning, wrote the reflection on it in the afternoon, and headed to class that evening.

For those of you reading this that have taken art classes, and have turned in work for critiques, you know what a challenging experience they can sometimes be. I had one of “those” critiques that night. In class we were asked to say whatever we wanted to about the work. I felt unprepared, and unsure of what to say. I started rambling on about unimportant details, because I couldn’t bring myself to talk about my personal angst issues which was what I had been thinking and writing about in my original reflection.

This is part of what I wrote:    “The experience of doing this piece was both fun and challenging. The fun part was doing the work. When focusing on the tasks at hand, I would lose track of time and get absorbed in the processes. The challenging part was mostly on a personal and emotional level. This program has been helping me deal with all the issues that stopped me making art 20 + years ago. Working on this piece brought up the issues I have with the fundamental value of doing this type of work. The questions of; is it worth doing, is it a waste of time/money, etc. are staring me in the face. Making this piece, or any finished work, brings these issues to the surface where I have to deal with them. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.”

Back to the critique that night, the one positive comment I remember is someone liked the fact that I used a rectangle instead of a square which had been part of my original design. The one that really got to me was the instructors question and comment: “Is that blue blobby thing supposed to represent spirit?” to which I said yes, and he replied “It’s not really working for me”. Right… now what.Daily Life Awakening to Spirt

So that night after class I stayed up very late, and thought a lot more about the piece. So once I had gotten done “wallowing in my emotional stuff”, I was able to look at and think about the work itself. I liked the piece and it felt right when I was done, but there was something bugging me about it as well and I was unsure what it was. The piece didn’t say what I had intended, so in that sense it didn’t work.

Visually, the woven part looked “plopped” down, and didn’t relate to the background. The felt background is very subtle and indistinct. Was it too plain? There wasn’t enough connection between the hand-spun yarn in the woven part and the felt background. The woven portion dominated the piece visually while being smaller than the background. It felt uncomfortable, tentative and unresolved. It was very unbalanced.

Then I asked myself what did this piece have to say, and this is what I came up with along with a new name for it:

“Daily Life Awakening to Spirit”
Dominating the piece is the woven portion representing daily life. It floats above the surface, removed and separate from the spirit world. The felt background resembles how spirit is viewed from this perspective. It is very hazy and indistinct. It’s unknown, you can only see things in that world if you look closely at it. The hand-spun yarn becomes spirit beginning to weave itself into our daily life but only in places, a bit at a time. The piece feels disjointed and unbalanced because this can be a very disconcerting state. You know that something is not right, that things are changing, shifting, but what and how is not known. It requires an enormous amount of trust to reside in this place and even more to continue on the journey to discover and embrace Spirit.

The following were my final thoughts about this piece and the experience of making it:
“Working on something this nebulous and intuitive requires an enormous amount of trust. I know that I’m not entirely in control of the process, and the work (or any given piece) can seem to take on “a life of it’s own”. This piece seems to have it’s own message and said what it needed to say. I need to pay better attention. So, hopefully I’m back on a productive path, doing something worthwhile.

The next quarter I did a second piece, the one I had intended to make, “Pulling Spirit into Daily Life”, which will be the next post in my Art Story.

Shamanic Connections – Facing the Shadows

Shamanic-ConnecDetail2-sm

Metallic threads are couched onto the hand dyed fabric.

It was the summer of 2009, and I was still searching, trying to figure out what to do with my work. How in the world am I going to make my living? I decided to sign up for a two month prosperity circle with Julie Charette Nunn. At our first meeting, we were supposed to start with a goal and come up with steps or actions to take to achieve it. Since I didn’t really have one, my first goal became “to discover what I want to do”. Within a month, I found it – to make my living as an artist working in fiber and mixed media. It’s what I’ve wanted to do most of my life, so it was more a rediscovery, and giving myself permission to believe it possible.

 

As part of the prosperity circle, one of the homework assignments was a shamanic shadow exercise. We were to go outside at sunset and look to see what was hidden in the shadows. We were to ask what can be used to bring it into the light and to free write about the shadow. This is a very powerful thing to do, as most of us don’t want to look at the dark side of things, especially those dark parts of ourselves. A short time later, an image and these words came to me during meditation: “The Shamans stand in the darkness at the edges of the veil between the worlds providing a path/bridge to those who seek”. This became the inspiration for this piece.

I made this little sign to put up in my studio about this time.

I made this little sign to put up in my studio about this time.

After a month of being in the prosperity circle, I decided to sign up for the Fiber Arts Certificate program at the University of Washington Extension. In my last post I mentioned  that during the certificate program I figured out that I had been asking myself the wrong question. Part of that was facing my own fears about creating the work I really wanted to do. I was afraid that if I made work with a spiritual focus, I would be opening myself up to ridicule, and being mis-understood. The work would be too personal, all over the map visually and stylistically, and would never sell. I came face to face with all of this one night during class. I said what I wanted to do was figure out what I could make to sell. After some pointed comments by the instructor, and a lot of self reflection, it finally sunk in that if I want to make my living as an artist, the art needs to come first.

Dyed and painted silk fabric, beading and embroidery, 24” x 24” created in 2010

Dyed and painted silk fabric, beading and embroidery, 24” x 24” created in 2010

The following day, I got out an old bolt of fabric and as I cut off a chunk for this piece, I could feel the panic rising, all of those internal fears trying to stop me. But I kept going, washed the fabric and dyed the background the next day. There is a lot of personal symbolism in this piece. The wood beads represent humans which are sewn on with glass beads symbolizing the spirit within each person. Grouped in the center is a large cluster of wooden beads; the majority of people who live in the light of the everyday normal world.

Shamanic-ConnecDetail1-sm

The beads in the outermost part are Swarovski Crystals.

Shamanic-ConnecDetail3-sm

The outermost section was hand dyed and then painted with metallic fabric paints.

The beads on the edges of the outer circle are the shamans and spiritual teachers, the crystals are the spirits, angels or beings in the unseen world, and the beads in the rings are people who are seeking the knowledge of Spirit. The silver threads are the connections being made by Spirit reaching out to connect with humanity, and humanity reaching for Spirit.

 

Originally I thought of this piece as being about other people as shamans, and it was to honor those brave souls who heed the calling to look through the shadows and darkness and have the courage to face the fear to see beyond. I see now that it was also how I was facing my own fears, and looking through the shadows to seek guidance from Spirit, and to communicate what I learn through my art.

A couple of postscripts to this piece. I had decided to have 11 “shamans” or connection points between the worlds, 11 being a master number in numerology. The silver threads, connecting through those 11 points started to look to me like dancing figures. Some time later I learned about the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers and realized that there are spaces for two more “figures”. I’ve thought about adding two more. Maybe I will someday.
And one last thing. The day I was reviewing my notes to write this post, Rabbi Brant Rosen was in town, and that evening I attended a talk he was giving about his work and new book on the Israel/Palestine situation. It’s about his journey of looking at the dark side of Zionism, facing his own inner conflicts over this issue, and his calling to seek a just peace for everyone in the Middle East. He is truly a guide who has faced the darkness and is providing a path for those who seek a new way to connect and make peace.

Finding the Patterns in the Puzzle of Life

Back in the Spring of 1987, I wrote in my sketchbook “Trying to put the Pieces together” along with some notes about using jigsaw puzzle shapes in some artwork. That idea lay dormant for about 20 years. Then in November 2006, I started wondering what would it look like if the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle were chosen randomly and painted different colors and then put together? I decided to give it a try.

Puzzle-of-Life-smTo make the process a more reasonable one, I first put together a puzzle, flipped it over and numbered the backside. After giving it a base coat of white paint and letting that dry, the puzzle was taken apart and different numbers of pieces were randomly assigned to eight different colors. Then the pieces were painted one at a time their assigned color. Now came the fun part, putting it back together and seeing the result. It was definitely interesting, I could see it had potential, but it needed something. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures at that point. Meanwhile, we were looking at moving the next year, so it got wrapped up and put away.
IMG_1489webThree years later, I had an idea and pulled the puzzle out. Let’s add another random element. I disassembled the puzzle again, and this time I randomly chose 55 pieces, divided them into five equal groups, and painted each group with a different symbol. The symbols used are the 5 universal symbols; square, circle, triangle, spiral and the equidistant cross. Each symbol has many meanings and associations across cultures and spiritual beliefs. An interesting book on the subject is The Signs of Life, The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them, by Angeles Arrien ©1992.
Puzzle-of-Life-Detail-smWith the symbols painted it was time to put the puzzle back together again, really glad I had numbered the back by this point. Hmm… the symbols were interesting, it needed something else. What if I connected them in some way? After some experimentation on tracing paper, I decided to use threads to connect them in three different ways. The bottom layer is a linear path using variegated yarn that starts at one side of the puzzle and zig-zags from one symbol to the next across the puzzle to the other side. The symbol doesn’t matter, for as in life, where you go from one thing to the next, things keep changing as well as repeating. The middle layer is made of 5 linear paths each connecting a different symbol. Each symbol has it’s own color thread, and represents following separate paths. The top layer has a radial pattern. The symbol is the primary focus for this layer. For each symbol, I picked the one that was painted closest to the center of the puzzle, and enlarged it in some way. Gold thread was used to connect that center symbol to the others of its kind. This layer became about finding focus.
IMG_1490webI was completing the first quarter of the Fiber Arts Certificate program while I was finishing this piece. One of the main reasons I signed up for the program was to find a focus for my work. By the end of that first quarter I realized I had been asking myself the wrong question. I had been asking myself “what can I do?” The answer was that I could do just about anything. I needed to be asking myself “what do I want to do?” Ah… a much more important and for me a difficult question to answer. I started this piece thinking about random elements and what kind of patterns would be created. I wound up looking for ways to make connections and create additional patterns between those randomly placed elements. Several people thought this piece looked like a road map. But I don’t think in a linear fashion. I think holistically, I see all the pieces and how they relate. Like a puzzle. So without intending to this artwork helped me start putting the pieces of my life work together. I am making new connections, looking at different focal points, and creating my own road map to find the patterns in my own puzzle of life.
Next month’s piece will be “Shamanic Connections”.