Category Archives: online learning

I’m not really kidding

moon-and-katy-poster-edge

Back in the years when I sat in a transpersonal meditation circle on a regular basis, Gurdjieff was quoted now and then to address the problem of difficult personality. We were reminded that a disruptive, unlikable person was as “yeast to the bread”.

Walking Finn just now, I wondered with a kind of Irish gallows humor, “What happens to the dough when there is more yeast than flour?”

And more to the point of today, tomorrow, and next week, “Is there anything I can let go of here, in an act of sanity-preserving desperation?” At some point, it is sheer masochism to continue with these patterns.

A sensei I once practiced Aikido with gave his students this idea: “Form your purest intention as you step onto the mat, but don’t for a second think you can practice without your personal history. Everybody brings their shit onto the mat.”

With that in mind, it seems I might work at owning my shit and letting the rest go (right Michelle?) Phew! I hope it isn’t too much to ask that said work produce some relief? Not just more slogging through? I’m going to read Gurdjieff today after writing class. That is my consecration.

Oh, and one more piece of dark humor: dealing with difficult stubborn people (with a pronounced bent on making me wrong) does in fact have a silver lining. It makes my stubborn nasty side look pretty benign.

That image is a picture of a partial picture of a quilt, collaged with paper ephemera to make a card.

Jude Hill – a little look back

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This is a small gallery revealing Jude Hill‘s influence and inspiration. I am feeling nostalgic. It’s been different without her private classes. And I’ve been ‘away’ from her and others’ blogs — more consumed with writing and the ten month project for Charleston. I miss being on a learning curve that was as exciting as it was steep.

Life is all about change. And it’s hard, too. We are all constantly adapting to various burdens, impositions or difficulties — aging not the least of them. One of the things I have admired about Jude the most is her capacity for invention — not just of her cloth creations (the way she can take an idea in fifteen directions, each of them further than I could possibly have imagined), but also of how she has conducted herself online — generously, with poetry and beauty, and with unbelievable technological skill.

The reinvention of late seems to be toward greater privacy, which of course I respect, but the thought of her going away makes me panic a little.

There is so much more I want to say about this, but I haven’t done my morning pages yet and the dog will need walking soon, so it’ll have to wait.

Front and back times two

Piecing on the ironing board is an old way of working. As is piecing on the machine.             Flipping to the back and tacking down seams or opening them and stitching down the quarter inch flap is new.

I am interested to see where this intersection of old (machine-work) and new (hand-stitching) will take me. For years, I have been wondering what a more lively synthesis of the two might look like.

Not sure batting will be involved, as I like the light shining through.

“Explored” on flickr

IMG_5541What a shock to find more than 18,000 views on this picture! The pleasing (and to me, astronomical) number was the result of flickr posting the image to their “Explore” gallery.

It came at a time when I’ve been reconsidering flickr. I’ve adjusted to their new format, I have. But, I don’t enjoy going there so much anymore and I don’t groom the way I used to — don’t always bother to populate my albums, add tags, see that there are comments, never mind respond to them.

Don’t look to it for connections. Been thinking that instagram might better suit. [I also found myself wondering in a paranoid flash, “Wouldn’t it be really, really creepy if flickr somehow KNEW I was ready to bail?!!”]

Anyone else? Where do you put your pictures, with what expectations and what results? Where do you find connection? Have you switched platforms in the last few years? Is blogging dead?
As for the picture, it is another weaving study that came out of Jude‘s most recent online class. Below is a pictorial narrative. I am hoping to make nine woven patches in the cloth.
IMG_5531 IMG_5532 IMG_5538IMG_5544IMG_5547Third of nine, in progress:
IMG_5560This morning, a fall wind blows warm air around. The tail end of last week actually found me putting the heat on. Thankfully, a sweater will do today.

P.S. The vintage linen base came out of my 2012 indigo pot. The dotted indigo fabric and the indigo threads woven in — from recent weekend in South Carolina.

Wrap up

But before I go off to my LIST and my PAGES and the CLEANING I like to do on Mondays, I wanted to assemble a collection of pictures from the summer class I took —  ‘Considering Weave’ with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth.  Just as a place to see what I did.  How much I learned.  These kinds of visual bookmarks make a difference down the road…  it is so easy to underestimate or lose track of the volume of threads/cloth that went through the process with me… this will help me remember!

And, by the way, the act of doing this — its value both now and later — is just one of the many, many things learned from Jude.

in-process butterfly received a needle woven body

in-process butterfly received a needle woven body — idea to embroider words inspired by Cindy over at handstories

some actual weave; some figurative

some actual weave; some figurative

one of my indigo cloths with woven opening

one of my indigo cloths with woven opening — made so many mistakes!

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a woven patch

a woven patch — lumpy, loveable, functional

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the “Triscuit” crater — backing from my indigo vat

woven strip square open and woven at center with butcher's twine

buckling caused by size of opening could not be fixed even with machine stitching to a heavy weight backing

woven 'islands' extending patterning over edge

woven ‘islands’ extending patterning over edge — one of my favorites from the class

woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing

woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing

visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches

visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches

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the crow got a woven base and flew off to Wendy Golden-Levitt

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seeing warp and weft all around

seeing warp and weft all around

continuing on a piece in context of weaving

continuing on a piece in context of weaving — many sections begun in another of Jude’s classes

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more strip weaving because it's hard to stop; travels well

more strip weaving because it’s hard to stop; travels well

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speckled vintage linen from Deb Lacativa’s dye pot

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blue sky — arashi technique with commercial dye — by moi!

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sampler:  Corn Guy

sampler: Corn Guy

as I started 'sewing' more, back neatened up (worked top down)

as I started ‘sewing’ more, back neatened up (worked top down)

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copy of Jude’s waves. Woven on primitive box loom (which was a rectangular basket in my case)

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Planning to order a bead loom so that I can continue without some of the frustrating tension issues caused by wrapping warp around a basket and taping it to the back.

I didn’t get a chance to make any fringe and look forward to trying.  Would like to edge some of my Star Maps with it. And, I can’t wait to try some of the more experimental techniques offered this month. Any more meaningful reflections on the class will have to wait.  It was a terrifically provocative journey (as usual)… and if other classes I have taken are any indication, the fruits of the learning will keep coming over the next months and seasons.

Bye for now!
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Corn guy and Womb

IMG_5131.JPGFunny to be weaving “fall” when it got so sticky hot here today. This guy got his start on a napkin-basket-loom.  I was trying out some things from the weaving class with Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth, side bar), and sort of having fun.  The warp caught in the grooves of the basket edges and stayed put well enough, but I could only use tape to secure it on the back, so it got loose in places — sometimes to the point of near unworkability.
IMG_0009 IMG_4746Mostly today I pieced rectangles of cotton together, pressed the seams one way or the other, and enjoyed the cool of my basement.  I ran the fan all day to churn some of the mildew smell out the back door. That sounds awful but it wasn’t. It was a nice retreat after two very intense weeks of travel and settling the boys in.
IMG_0278In fact, the cool quiet of the cellar was perfect for my first ‘official’ day of the empty nest — a day that found me tired, disoriented, a little sick, and in real need of silence.IMG_0295 I stitched a linen frond to the woven island piece (above, left) and excavated some of the sections representing Africa from the Middle Passage series (above, right)IMG_0297In the little square above, I put some of the ‘Ghost House’ remnants next to fabrics being used to designate ‘Strange Fruit’ in the ‘White House of Privilege’ series. A panel with a moon stitched on it is being blown sideways by the fan.  I like that almost more than anything else!IMG_0302 IMG_0308 IMG_0310Middle Passage scraps partnered with Ghost House piecing (above). Reading the recent ‘Atlantic’ article, ‘The Case for Reparations’ (by Ta-Nehisi Coates) has got me thinking about all this again (as if the events in Ferguson, Missouri weren’t prompt enough)…IMG_0316And all these tiny little ‘doodles’ wanting a home. The grid has one inch squares, so you get the scale.
IMG_5030I’ll close with a few pix from Vermont.  We camped at a state park located on an island in Lake Champlain.  We did this to save money, but it was really wonderful!  So quiet. So pretty.

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IMG_0269The weather was perfect, and it was nice, as it turns out, to break up the drive and the border crossing over separate days. Since we’ve had some really nice visits to Montreal, including a few memorable dinners, there was no feel of a pauper’s compromise in this plan — none at all. IMG_5084IMG_5092Look at those skies!!

flying moon cloth, True Detective and Ruin Porn

Here is a 38-second YouTube video of the cloth I’m working on flapping in the wind during a boat ride this past week.  Watch for the moon.

IMG_4571The white bands of stitching were added to the moon’s surface last night. More needs to be done to stop that off-white square from resembling a Triscuit. Triscuits look woven. So was this:
IMG_3678_edited-1Yesterday, K. and I finished watching the spell-binding first season of ‘True Detective’ — a Louisiana murder mystery with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Holy cow!  The sociopath was deviously smart and a worthy opponent of two driven and clever detectives.  The creep could do voices, accents, and evade capture for decades.  But he also made these very cool pagan-influenced twig and rag and bone sculptures that I just loved (think: Andy Goldsworthy).  It was odd to be enamored of the evil character’s creations.

In looking for an image from the show, I came across this:  “ruin porn“.  I understand the magnetic pull of run down and decrepit structures.  In ‘True Detective,’ the central ruin was a former plantation — complete with greying, rotting big house, rickety slave shacks, and an underground fort.  These sets were beyond creepy, and yet mesmerizing, proving, I suppose the “ruin porn” article’s point. (For the record, they went overboard with the piles of broken, vacantly-staring dolls. They were not needed to create the ambiance).  See add on paragraph below about set design.

My cousin Ginny Mallon (photographer/painter/blogger) has been exploring all kinds of ruination, especially along coastlines.  Most recently she photographed Dead Horse Bay, which is in Brooklyn near the Marine Parkway Bridge.  Its beach, “Bottle Beach” is so full of garbage from such a long span of time, that it’s considered a ‘living museum of trash’.  Inexplicably, her photos of the garbage are gorgeous.

Driving from Newton to Brookline today, I almost stopped to photograph a robust rose bush spilling over with vermilion flowers. It screamed ‘summer’. It was beautiful. This is almost the exact opposite impulse of the one I documented a few weeks back — the desire to shoot pictures of parking lots, guard rails or gas stations, in part to upend a narrow sense of what constitutes ‘beauty’.
IMG_3023I guess I am allowed to feel both urges. This door was captured about a year ago after fabric shopping in Arlington, I think.

Debbie’s comment inspired me to find out who designed the sets for ‘True Detective’.  His name is Joshua Walsh and you can read about him here.   The ‘vulture’ blog post had this to report: “’He’s the son of a family that ran a funeral home, and he’s an avid hunter and taxidermist — basically, the perfect dude for the job,’ DiGerlando told Vulture.”

I had just commented below that Louisiana itself is a landscape of ruination, and one we’ve seen before in ‘True Blood’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.  It is was no surprise to discover that Walsh also did the set design for ‘Beasts’.