Tag Archives: spring

Tapestries, Monet, and Escher, oh my! Part 2

This is Part 2 of 2 about my recent trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Art in Boston… and to my new favorite bakery.  Is it ridiculous to go to Boston just for some pastries? 

Growing up, there was a print by M. C. Escher at the top of the stairs.  I can remember running up them as fast as I could, only to stop and stare curiously at the other-wordly image of a fish underwater.  But where were the trees?  Are those reflections or the trees’ roots? Was the fish floating in space? Was it in a shallow puddle?  Was I upside down?20180423_131240.jpg

I’m still not entirely sure, and I’m quite happy with that…

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I was surprised to learn that these are lithographs.  My whole life up until now, I thought they were pencil drawings.  The skills and patience required for lithography makes Escher’s art even more impressive…

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I enjoy Escher’s playfulness, especially in this piece.  Instead of simply drawing the mirror’s reflection in this still life (which was probably really boring) the artist chose to create a more interesting reflection.  I wonder if this is a street he had been down many times, or if he just created it in his own imagination.  I could stare at Escher’s work for hours, get completely lost in it, and come back with a whole new way of looking at the world…

 

 

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His tessellations are astounding…

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Some of my photos didn’t come out well.  The room was dim and there were lots of people to wiggle around.  I also didn’t want to stay behind my camera the whole time!

Next, we went upstairs to see the Monet paintings…

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It’s hard to see in these photos, but there are so many bits of color within color.  I wonder how this inspiration will transform my weft bundles…

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Mum wanted to show me some of her favorite rooms, like the Egyptian rooms filled with sarcophagi and hieroglyphs and amulets and mummification tools.  I felt weird taking photos of these things, it felt somewhat disrespectful.  But I took some photos along the way!

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I love this statue of Juno in the Ancient World wing.  She’s probably about 15 feet tall…

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Ganesh!

The last room Mum wanted me to see was one she called the Buddha Room.  Again, no pictures, it felt too sacred and it was incredibly dark.  We sat in silence for a few moments, looking at the various Buddhas from different parts of Asia.

Then we had a little lunch in the courtyard before zooming off to the bakery in Beacon Hill.  It’s called Tatte Bakery, by the way, and you should go like, right now.

It was a super fun and busy day, and I’m already planning on going back to the MFA and exploring more of the Art of the Ancient World exhibits!

Until next time, keep creating!

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The Museum of Fine Arts from the courtyard

 

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Tributary

So I had been planning on starting over on this piece you might recall from a couple months ago.  I was really excited to make this weaving bigger and better than it was before.  And then, everything came to a stop.  One of my closest friends passed away.  Even though I knew she wasn’t doing well, the suddenness of her passing knocked me to my knees.

I have never experienced a loss quite like this before.  My friend was a witness to my journey as a young woman, who offered me courage and wisdom, who saw my beauty and flaws, and loved me for all of it.  She never let me settle or deny myself all of the goodness that life has to offer.  She saw my true essence, my creativity, my soul’s calling, and always supported me in pursuing my dreams.  She was also hilarious and witty and we shared a similar sense of humor that would put us both into fits of laughter that would make my stomach hurt.  She was my rock.  And I miss her.  I miss her every single day.

When she died, a part of me died, too.  I stopped playing piano.  I had no desire to create ANYTHING.  I didn’t want to pick up a pencil or open a sketchbook.  I didn’t want to sit at my loom.  I was lucky if I even thought about coloring in my coloring book.  I wondered when and how I’d ever want to create again, and what would that look like.  The odd thing is that my beloved friend was an incredibly creative person.  A huge admirer of Van Gogh’s work, she was a self-taught painter who had an amazing ability to capture light and shadows, and her colors radiated off the canvas.  During a time when it felt like I should be creating something as a tribute to her, I found that I was just completely empty.

Vincent Van Gogh, Cypresses with Two Women, 1889

Vincent Van Gogh, Cypresses with Two Women, 1889

And life kept moving forward.  I had to continue to go to work and keep myself together.  I still had bills to pay, I had to feed myself, get enough sleep, and most importantly I had to make time to be with the uncomfortable and, for me, unfamiliar feelings of grief.  We don’t really get enough time to mourn and process our grief these days.  There’s this expectation from society that we get about three days to mourn and then we have to be back on our game.  But from my experiences with grief, both mine and that of friends, is that it’s always cyclical and it has its own timeline.  It comes and goes like the tide and the seasons.  Sometimes it just sits there quietly like a dull ache and other times it feels like a vast and painful emptiness.  But I turn towards the grief and honor it, and in that same way I’m honoring the love I have for my friend.

I’ve been listening to a talk by Martin Prechtel, a Mayan shaman, on grief and praise and how both come from the same place.  To paraphrase a line from his inspiring talk: “You gotta love the thing you lost just like you gotta love the thing you’ve got.”   I grieve for my beloved friend, and I praise the beautiful gift that was her coming into my life and sharing in my journey. I’ve used this time as an incredibly humbling and deepening experience.  I’ve never felt so raw or so totally human before.  It’s given me fresh eyes to look at how I’m living my life, how much love I’m giving to myself, how much praise I have for life and all of the beauty that it offers.  And loss, even profound loss, is part of that beauty.

My friend, who is just a tiny speck doing a backstroke down the river!

My friend, who is just a tiny speck doing a backstroke down the river!

So here is my tribute to my friend, one of the many I will create as a way of celebrating her life and her love.  One of her favorite places to be was at the river, soaking in the sun and swimming in the cool clear water.  Like a tributary, her life and her beauty flows into the hearts of her loved ones who carry her spirit onward.  I’ve been spending lots of time outdoors lately, being in the woods and recently hiking to some frozen waterfalls.  Spring has arrived and these once giant frozen icicles are flowing again, and I feel the same sensation of thawing out, melting into water, the soft flow of a river in my soul.   Nature has always been my creative inspiration, so I’m going back to what I know.  I also have plans to create a piece honoring my friend and the beauty she brought to my life.  I’ll let you know how my new journey goes!

Can you find me?

Can you find me?

Open Fields and Endless Skies

The last line from Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” always makes my heart skip a beat, like a wise elder asking you the quintessential question that has the power to change your whole life if you allow it.

Around the end of this past February, I knew it was time to make a change, and not just a change-my-job or change-my-haircut kind of change, but a true life-altering, get-rid-of-your-stuff, move-across-the-country kind of upheaval of everything I knew and loved.  At times I told myself ‘You must be crazy to give this all up’.  But I did it because I felt there was more out there for me, if only I could trust the guidance of my deep wellspring of intuition.

It takes a lot of courage to listen and trust the wisdom of our intuition, because it doesn’t speak in words, but in hunches and feelings.  It can also feel heartbreaking to follow your intuition as it leads you down your path, because that also means leaving people and places that you love behind just to follow a “feeling”.   I wish my intuition would send me clearly written emails saying “Hey, do this” or “move here” or “you should take that job”.  But instead I have to learn the fine art of listening to and following where my intuition wants me to go, and right now it wants me to be back home in New Hampshire.  Forget what everybody else says and does.  Forget if all the cool young people are packing up and moving out west.  The one thing I’ve learned through this whole experience is all that really matters is where I want to be and what I want to do with my life.  There may be loss and deep grievances along the way, but I believe there are also blessings and miracles to be had as well.

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Right now I need to live amongst trees and birds and summer rain and wide open spaces.  A few days ago my parents and I went out hiking with one of the neighbors in Northwood Meadows.

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These are exactly the kind of views I need for my health and happiness, and ultimately for the vitality of my art.  Open fields, endless skies, wind, bird songs, the sense of limitless potential, my spirit soaring among the clouds.  I really don’t know what I’ll be doing here besides weaving and drawing and painting, and maybe even taking a dance or music class.  But I can say, it feels like the next right step, and that’s all I need to have faith in.

20150411_153935Spring will be here soon, in fact the snow that carpeted the yard is almost all melted.  And the one thing that Spring always brings is new growth, new beginnings, new adventures, new everything.  Change is constant in this life, so whether you’re like me and you shipped all of your most beloved possessions across the country, or you’re stuck in an unhappy situation waiting for that calling, listen closely for that little voice of wisdom.  It’s barely above a whisper, but if you leave your heart open and your brain chatter off, you just might hear it’s deep wisdom and simple desire to bring happiness to your life.

 

New Beginnings

Spring always ushers in a time of change.  New ideas, new plans, new dreams, and fresh starts.  To see the world burst into color after the long bleakness of winter inspires us to open our windows, breath in the sweet air, and find new and better ways to live our lives to the fullest.  Spring’s innocence returns us to our own innocence, a place where we can open up to new beginnings.

I had my own fresh start a couple of months ago, moving into my own place so I could have more space to work on my weavings, and I just finally finished getting the warp on my loom.  Getting the loom ready is not my favorite part, so to inspire me to do the final preparations, these lovelies arrived in the mail yesterday

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Besides actually weaving and making art, one of the best parts about being a fiber artist is adding to the “stash”.  As my yarn stash inevitably grows bigger, I will be able to use the variety of colors to add more depth, blending, and liveliness to my pieces.  My painting instructor in college used to tell me, “Put more color in your color”.  At first I didn’t know what he was talking about.  How can you put more blue in blue?  But the colors that we see around us are not quite as simple as they seem.  The leaves of a tree are not just green, they have bits of yellow and blue as well, maybe even some purple.  I can see in my older pieces, both paintings and tapestries, how flat and dull the image can look without this technique.   So with every weaving the stash grows bigger and brighter, and my tapestries will as well.

And in other exciting and spring-timey news…

I am now a member of the American Tapestry Alliance!

I know, I know, I’m such a fiber nerd!  I applied for and was awarded an Emerge Membership Grant, which basically is one year of membership awarded to young tapestry artists under the age of 40.  Part of my free membership includes volunteering some time throughout the year to help this organization, which is where this gets even more exciting.  The day after I was awarded membership, a volunteer position became open that I’m now taking on: I’ll be designing the online gallery shows that happen several times a year and feature beautifully curated tapestry weavings by artists from all over the world.  This will be a fantastic learning experience and I’m thrilled to be a part of this community, work alongside so many talented artists.  Everyone in the ATA has been very welcoming to me, and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my tapestry weaving career.

So Happy Spring!  Go outside, breath in the fresh air, smell the flowers if they’ve come up (and if they haven’t yet they’re on their way!), and marvel in the excitement of this season of change.

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