Pages

Sunday, June 26, 2011

You Are Worth The Time

                                               
I found this video a long time ago, somewhere...I don't remember where.  But it spoke to me in a very good and deep way.
There have been so many conversations recently about why we do what we do in regards to art, to creation.  I remembered this video that I have been inspired by in the past.
PLUS I think I learned how to embed videos here and I am so excited!
This video was created by Jan Phillips, so in proper Blogland form, follow the link to her site!
I would like to just add that I love her photography (ohhh those photos of elders...Mmmm) and her personal mark, the Spiral Hand.  Way cool!
Sit back, relax and enjoy... In fact I think I'll watch with you!  :)  sigh





Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mistakes in Weaving

 AKA: Disclaimer - I Am Not a Weaver!  I Merely Dabble and Weave with Children!

Sometimes mistakes are just in invitation to problem-solve...to ponder...to discover...to think "What If..."
Starting off, again, with high hopes!
Working on my old, well-loved little 'paper-back loom'.  
Anticipating a beautiful, variegated weaving.
I have not woven on it in over a year or more!  And before that...who knows!
Even though I usually don't, I began by warping each notch you see there.
Well...that didn't work!  Too close a warp for too thick a yarn.
Mmmmm...
Take that one off - set aside...re-warp the loom with a Nice Big Space between each warp thread!  See photo above.
*Note: The 'warp' refers to the threads fixed on the loom in a longitudinal direction.  The 'weft' refers to the threads that you weave in & out of the warp, crossing side-to-side and filling the loom as you go.  Hope that makes sense! 

All trimmed up
Oh no, I wove another hourglass!
This has been my challenge with this little loom.  No matter how loose I try to leave the ends, I end up with a beautiful hourglass!  This weaving was to be a gift, possibly used as a coaster-type-thing.  Nope, I wasn't looking for an hourglass right now!  But hey, kinda reminds me of the funky timer in my Winds of Time post!  Ha!
Remembering a creative way my friend used one of her weavings, I framed it  with fabric, thus eliminating that curvy center.  I used that dyed snake-skin fabric because it was handy.  It worked well with the weaving.  Framed it, invisible stitched it in and thought...
I won't have time to complete this...Ahhh, now what?

Thinking of a solution to the infamous hourglass

And I kind of like this weaving cloth.  I think I want to hang on to it for now.  It feels like a friend to the little hearts sampler.  Mmmm...
Re-warp the loom...AGAIN!!!  Laugh to self!

Begin again...more slowly...more carefully!  As I weave I am thinking I should look at this as 'Slow Weaving'...kind of like slow cloth (at least in the pace of things!)
I weave the whole thing with just a tiny hourglass!  "Good enough" I think.
But, as I hurry (I am on a deadline after all) to finish the last weft threads, I miss some warp threads.  This is, of course, only realized once it is removed from the loom.  Before that...while I am working on it, I see the 'back' side of the weaving.  I hold the little piece in my hands.  It is soft and flexible and has several mistakes.  Wouldn't it be nice to be seen this way ourselves?  To be accepted this way ourselves?  I think of different cultures' viewpoints on leaving a mistake in our creative work.  But aesthetically, these missed threads POP out at me and I don't care for the way they look.  I tie on some fringe pieces.  I like this a bit better, but decide to leave some of the mistakes clearly visible.  
This feels right.  This weaving feels complete.

The little light stitches in the middle are the 'mistakes'


The recipient of this weaving hears the end story of the mistakes and how they can remind us that we are not perfect and that is OK.  We can learn from our mistakes...or not...and we are still OK, for within each of us is much beauty, uniqueness and strength.
Ah, beautiful imperfection!
I look at it and think, "How symbolic that the 'mistakes' let in some light to the center, to the core of this weaving."  And I like it.  The 'product'.  I am satisfied.


All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Where I've Been

This is my office/studio space.  It is in a horrible state.  It is foggy...gloomy...and messy.
Everything looks unclear.
It is time to clean, purge and let in the light.
Studio June 2011
Remember...ya just can't get around it...shift happens!


Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011


Between Two Worlds

Sometimes we can feel like we are between two worlds.  Today is like that for me.  Within my work world and my personal world things are shifting.
Some shifts are bigger and scarier...
and some shifts are so subtle that they can easily go unnoticed.
Sometimes you have to look real hard to learn those lessons.
In the perfect timing that is the coincidence of life, today two children's books came to me.  Two books I'd never heard of.  Yet, two books (among many others) that connect stitches and art with young children.
Two worlds coming together.
The first book: Pocket Full of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Salley Mavor.  The intricate fiber and trinket 'illustrations' capture the child in me.  The little people in their acorn 'hats' grab me, pull me in and hold me there.  This is just the kind of imagination and earth whimsy I adore.  This symbol is on my little hearts sampler in the way of acorn fabric and I have been contemplating finding a way to incorporate the acorn into my work, as it has been of large importance to me since I was a child.  Now, the imagination of acorns keep me connected to the child within!  :)
PS This book reminded me of both "In The Heart" by Ann Turner, illustrated by Salley Mavor and "The Fabrics of Fairytale - Stories Spun From Far and Wide" by Tanya Robyn Batt.


The second book: Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth by Joan Schoettler and illustrated by Jessica Lanan.  Beautifully illustrated, this story speaks of a mother and daughter connection and introduced me to 'wrapping cloths'.   I am intrigued with the subject (direct or indirect) of relationships, the artwork and the custom of wrapping cloths.  It reminded me of the recent conversations connected to The Magic Diaries...cloaks, capes, nests and snugly covers to protect, comfort, celebrate and become companions on our life's journey.
Now I have to be honest, I have not yet read either book but I have read all of the information, reviews etc. at the original sources and at Amazon.  The first book came to me on FaceBook from Reading Rockets.  They are a great source for literacy links for those with little ones in their lives.  The second one came to me via the folks over at Shen's Books.  Their catalog/website is a treasure trove of multicultural books for young children.  I am always so inspired by and interested in children's books for the lovely qualities they share, even if I am the littlest kid around!
*NOTE: I did not link Amazon because I wanted to make sure I wasn't linking my account!  Yikes!  But I trust you can find that well known source.  Also, all this linking makes a quick blog post a far more time consuming task!  Oh well, it's worth it - being able to share with friends!


  Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Story Dresses

I have still been thinking about Jude's post with photos of a little red dress, a family heirloom.  I commented there that our family had a "red dress" too.  My sister and I both wore it as little girls.  I was recently at her house, where it resides, so I snapped a few pictures of it to share here.  When I looked at the tag, the familiarity of the brand name came back in a rush and I could hear my mom's voice telling me that this was a brand she bought frequently as it was good quality, but inexpensive.  Important factors for a single mother of two. 
Isn't it cute?!
My sister wore it first, then it was my turn.  I used to joke that I was the "Hand-Me-Down Queen"  as most of my clothes belonged to my sister or a family friend before I wore them.  But, they were well taken care of and this dress lasted not only for this second girl, but for our 4 daughters who followed.  I am not sure if it can be attributed to my mother's generation or some other factor I am not aware of, but my mom took great care of everything!  Clothing, furniture, family heirlooms...you name it...they lasted her lifetime and she kept it all!  I am so glad she did, so we could share in the tradition of the little red dress!

Here we all are!  We couldn't find the white petticoat the day I snapped the pictures.


There was another dress, by the same maker, that she saved that was equally special to me.  
Maybe even a pinch more so, because the story was this dress was bought for me!
At least that is the story as I remember it!
I believe all the girls wore this one too.  This is it...

So cute!
You can tell it's been stored for a while!  Did mom's actually iron their daughter's dresses back then?!!!  I don't remember that task!  Ha!
I guess now these little treasures will wait patiently for granddaughters to carry on the tradition!
Here are a few more detail shots...
The back
The trim at the neck










The brand: "Youngland"
I love the positive-negative effect











All of this reminded me of an excellent play my sister and I went to see last year.  It was based on this book and it was excellent!  The book is simple, charming and thoughtful.  The play added another dimension, another layer.  It broadened the experience with laughter and tear invoked memories.  It brought the audience together, especially the women, through shared experiences with those we didn't even know.  I thought about it for many, many days afterward.  If it ever comes around to where you are, or if you happen upon the book...I highly recommend both!


All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011
 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Soar



I have never thought of myself of someone who could draw.  But the other day as I sat between meetings, in a long afternoon of stressful meetings...after some very stressful days...days of definite thrashing...Well, the other day I picked up my pen and began to doodle on my trusty steno pad.  I was not even thinking about what I was doing, I was just moving the pen.  I made the two shapes that looked quite a bit like wings.  Then I added a head like shape.  Mmmm... I thought and added a body with some tail feathers.  I placed an eye and a feather floating off and next a spiral down below.  I sat and looked at this little drawing and reflected on the conversations recently about personal symbol.  I thought wow these are all things important to me.  What else is a 'standard' for me?  What other images pull me in, hold personal meaning?  So, I added the little leaf.  I looked again and moved the pen towards the paper.  And then I felt it...the magic spark go out.  I couldn't think of a thing to add.  I knew it wouldn't come out right if I tried.  Because I was ...trying.  I stopped and sat there waiting for the person to return and the meeting to continue.
I sat staring at this little treasure and felt such a connection to it.  I felt such pleasure from not only ending up with a drawing that I liked, but from the process of drawing it.  The flow, without even trying; things moved from my heart, down my arm and out of my pen...landing softly on the paper for me to see.  It was something else!  It was something I have always wanted to feel.  I hope to experience this again one day soon.  Ahhh...
Here is a little perspective on it's size

I have looked at this drawing several times and thought that maybe it came to me so easily so I could manifest it someway in stitch and fabric.  Maybe it would find its way into diaries or on the little heart sampler.  Yes I am still working on it!  I am finding that I am a very slow hand stitcher (Jude you make it look so easy!) and I easily loose focus these days.  I have had so little time, until recently, that I could use for more than zoning out with my computer.  I am hoping that will soon change.  I have however sewn the bear down...wrapped him in a blanket stitch to keep him warm!  :)
Most recently I have been wrap stitching my 'broken heart'.  Take a look...
While I wish I could finish more work, I am really enjoying the slow cloth community I have joined, the recent mental and spiritual stimulation and friendship I have encountered there is breathtaking.  While I wish for fabrics to hand dye or a wider variety of cloth (I've enough quilter's cotton to last 3 lifetimes!)... I will work with what I have in my own style and my own evolution.  If I ever come to a place of completion with this little heart sampler, 
it will stay deep within my own heart for a very very long time to come.  
And if it becomes a life project like my Shoe Project... that will be OK too.
Whatever happens next...I am ready to soar!

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011
 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Riding the Wave

Sometimes you just have to ride the wave.
Even when you don't think you know how.
Even when all you can think of is how much you need a boat.  Or at least a life vest.  Or how much you'd like a big wave simply rinse you out of your rock and hard spot.  Even then.
Some people really know how to ride the wave.  They relax and let the water take them wherever it will.  They don't thrash, they float.  Even when the waters get rough, these folks know that a calmness will return.
They trust.  They let go.
And they wait to see what unfolds in the ripples.
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Apricots- First Harvest for 2011





Outside my front door, we have a small, misshapen apricot tree.  It has been here for the 12 years I have lived here.  What is nice about apricots is they come back each year and this tree has done just that.  No matter what kind of pruning job by the gardener, how awful the weather has been or any other circumstances, this little tree has remained strong.  Each year as spring moves into summer, the apricots begin to grow.  They are the best tasting apricots I have ever had!




Somehow I think there is a valuable life lesson held firmly in the limbs of this little tree.
Now if we can just beat the birds and squirrels to them, we might have a mighty harvest!


All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

The Winds of Time



Time is 
too slow for those who wait,             
too swift for those who fear, 
too long for those who grieve, 
too short for those who rejoice, 
but for those who love, time is eternity.
-Henry Van Dyke






Sometimes time moves in slow-motion...or stands still.  And you wonder why that is.  And you wonder why does this seem to happen in the hard times.
The good times...the great times of celebration and growth race by, leaving you dizzy in their wake of happiness.  Leaving you wanting to grab on and savior every moment before they escape between your fingers and get carried off by the winds.
But then again, sometimes it's the winds that carry in something new.  Something delightful and exactly what you want or need.  The thing is...you never know what you're going to get...a variation on time or the dance of the winds.  You just never know.
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Linking with Love

Well, this is just a quick post to bring to you attention that I have a new button on my page.  In my post Telling Stories, I told you of many places I like to go to find good stories.  Today I had a story from Brene Brown come into my email inbox.  This was not a warm and fuzzy story.  This was more like a, "Are you kidding???  Who would DO that???" story.  You can read about it straight from Brene, but the part that horrified me was that someone would go to the trouble to transcribe her whole TEDX talk and then post it on their own blog and claim it as their own!!!  So, I grabbed the Link with Love button and placed it here in the right sidebar.  You can click right on it to go to the site!  :)  By the way, this took a bit of learning on my part as I had not 'grabbed a button' before!  But I must say, that Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project is right, the challenge of learning something new really does give ya a shot of happiness!  I have found much of what she writes to be true happiness boosts!  I inadvertently left her out of my Telling Stories post.  But, she belongs there.  I've had great fun reading her book!
Anyway, I digress.
As far as the taking what is not yours, telling stories that are not yours to tell and so on...Please Don't.  This has always been a pet peeve of mine, way before this blog, way before an abundance of Internet issues.  Give credit where credit is due. Period.  It is that easy.
Well, it is mostly easy.  I apologize to any mistake in crediting I may make.  Often as I travel from site to site to site, it is easy to forget where something came from.  I don't mean to forget and I work very hard to link or give credit to all original material.  So, if I have made an error, please let me know as it was not intentional.
The second challenge with all of this linking and such is that it can prove to be a distraction in the reading flow and it can take you, my dear readers (lol) off to other sites - never to return to me!  Mmmm...most writers don't want their readers to wander off (for too long!)
However those two concerns are nothing in comparison to the ethical transgression I would feel if I handled it any other way.
Let me know what you think...leave a comment below and don't forget to link back!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

wondering

There are times of wondering and times of knowing.  Here I sit wondering.  In reading Grace's post recently, I started thinking, again, about hard times in our lives.  I have been reading Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way by Ruth Reichl.  You can find it here.  And while my mother was nothing like hers,  I have known mothers that were.  Some of what she writes relates to everyone's mother and the words stop me cold.  I feel safe saying that everyone has hard times now and then.  So, I am left thinking about my mom again, and I wonder when does the missing get easier?  I ask my sister this, knowing there is not an answer that would satisfy the void I carry with me each day. I wonder which are the stories to tell and which are the ones to keep safely tucked away.  Sometimes the wondering is so powerful and unanswerable that I run to a thing of comfort.  I take photos, read for distraction, stitch, or talk with comfortable friends.  Recently, in a time of spinning around questions I took these photos.
I am leaving them bigger than I usually do.  Let me know if that works for you, as a reader.  And as usual click on image to enlarge.
Passion Fruit flower...looks like a helicopter!

Lavender at my place

 
I am not sure what this is...but, oh so fuzzy!


Beauty is a great escape.  
So is fiddling around and experimenting with art.
Here is today's little story:
So, I took these photos today of an interesting flower I had never seen before.  I brought home a piece and a pod too.  Then I lay it down between a shred of white silk (brought home from a felting workshop - never felted!), previously dyed with something I no longer remember, but currently resembling my mothers old nylons!  Then I smashed it with a hammer!!!  The result was not pleasing to the eye, just sort of blah.  I didn't even enjoy the process all that much as I felt like a murderer of that poor flower!  Maybe this is an activity to do when angry!  LOL  Maybe I need to read up on this!  Is there a special technique to flower smashing?   I threw it in the yellow rose dye pot that was sitting next to me.  Take that you experiment, you!  Anyway, next I smashed a couple of pansies.  The result was a little better.  There was a little pansy shape, that I will show you if I ever get those photos to upload!  I hung it on the rock rose and then my guy came out and did the watering.  He did ask me if I cared if he watered it.  Nah.  Just fooling around and it didn't look fantastic anyway.  So now it hangs there, clinging to the rock rose, lightly dyed - mostly sheer, naked in the night.  Oh well, easy come, easy go.  Ha!

Odd new flower & pods


Look at all of those pods!  I haven't opened mine yet.  If you know what this is, let me know!



 This is a bouquet I can recognize!
Now I think I will post this 'as is' because the last few photos are not behaving and I am tired of trying.  This is a good lesson for me as I am hoping to relax and fall into a unique rhythm & style in this blogging world.  But for tonight I just want to post pretty flowers!  (((SMILE)))



All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011