Wednesday, November 23, 2011

unbearable ennui

"ennui is the echo in us
of time tearing itself apart."
-emile m. cioran

perhaps it is the onset of the holiday season. a season that has not been a favorite these past several years. can i be so shallow as to lose interest in the holidays simply because i am alone? is it because my family lives so far away? or because i still live in the same house, the same town, that holds so many broken dreams and the sad memories of yet another failed romance? because the holidays are filled with families celebrating life together? because they are filled with loved ones displaying affection? and yet, i know these things are all aspects that will rise and fall away. change. have nothing to do with my inner sense of peace. and yet, this blanket of ennui wraps tightly about my heart and soul. dulls colors and cheer.

a little thread chanting is in order...and my grand start on the dia de los muertos cloth has been neglected of late.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

a snow lion or two...

tattoo the pristine flesh
what is permanent anyway?
this ink only lasts 'til the grave,
skin and ideas decompose
that which we did compose.
-corri alius

the finished lion...

the lion yet to be completed in blue and green.

i have been working entirely too much once again. but yesterday found me relaxing (ha!) in the tattooist's chair for seven hours while he worked on my new sleeve. it is taking much longer than originally expected. yet another argument against expectations. but the results have so far been entirely pleasing! the first is on the back of my right forearm and the unfinished one is on the front of the same forearm. both bracket the ganesh that is on the inside of my forearm (pictured here). snow lions (also sometimes known as fu lions or fu dogs) symbolize fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, east, and the earth element. snow lions are traditionally white with turquoise manes...but these longed for the joy of color and i saw no reason to deprive them!

yes. my body is a temple. and what temple should remain so low and mean as to be void of decoration?

i think i shall begin digging through scraps and see if a snow lion might like to manifest beneath tonight's quiet needle chants...


Sunday, November 13, 2011

reflection on challenge

“life’s challenges are not
supposed to paralyze you,
they’re supposed to help you
discover who you are.”
-bernice johnson reagon

i have no words to add. just something i've been thinking about quite a bit on this cold winter day...


Monday, November 7, 2011

allow the unexpected

"our brightest blazes
of gladness
are commonly kindled
by unexpected sparks."
-samuel johnson

while grumbling about snow and the cold and the inconvenience of it all as i was getting ready for an unscheduled shift at work this morning, i was caught unaware by this little fellow. he was only a few feet from me and i hadn't even noticed him until he announced his presence with a resounding "blaaaaaa!"

don't you just love the unexpected ways the universe reminds you to be present when you aren't?


p.s. more needle chanting pics to come very soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

first snow

we finally received our first snow of the season, here in billings. it's rather late, like many things this year. including many of my own projects and aspirations. perhaps i will catch up with the weather soon...

sometimes snow can do a wonderful impersonation of draped cloth.

or even like a manipulated cloth quilt (found on scouttyboy's photostream)

or even like one of jude's woven strip boro cloths (found on ojos_azules's photostream)

or this bit of quilted snow (found on daddynewt's photostream)

so, even though i have had little time to stitch these past few days, i have found many sources for inspiration!

tonight, i think, i may find some much needed needle chanting a nice crackling fire!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

body bling concept sketches

since i've been asked both in comments and via email (thanks to valerianna for the idea for the term, body bling!), here are the initial snow lion concept sketches for the next phase of my sleeve (you can click on them for larger images). they'll be changing a bit as the male is being redrawn to be moving up toward the female and then i'm having the space around them filled with chrysanthemum blossoms.

i'm still toying with colors...i'm thinking of having the male (2nd pic) done in red with yellow accents and the female (1st pic) in blue with green accents. of course, knowing chris (my amazing tattoo artist), there will be a full pallet (the tibetan skull has 16 colors in it)!

onces these beauties are completed, i'll have to have him go back in and fill some of the blank space around the ceremonial skull with something to close the space up a bit... i'm thinking cherry blossoms. or bamboo. i'm not sure. it's still open for suggestion.

it would seem that i am taking my storytelling into new realms... there is definitely a story being whispered by my body ink. perhaps it will want to be told in cloth as well at some point....


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

feliz dia de los muertos

as dia de los muertos descends and thoughts of ancestors and the temporal nature of life and time come to mind more often, i find my clothwork has begun to reflect these whispered stories. to this end, i have decided to finally begin manifesting a quilt that has long been whispering in the dark hours of the night. this quilt. this dia de los muertos quilt that has haunted my thoughts for over two years now, will no longer rest until it's stories have been whispered and finally told.

i had hoped to be further along on this first block. but this past month has been busy beyond belief! but i am pleased with it's beginnings. i had thought to begin the quilt by starting on the central panel. but, being a large panel, decided that during these busy days, it would be more advantageous to tackle some of the smaller border blocks first. in the coming days, i shall share the sketches of other blocks and panels. but, for now, this one will have to serve to entice your interest as it has mine.

meanwhile, los dias de los muertos is a time for remembering friends, family and ancestors. a lovely tradition that resonates with the center of the belief goes something like this:

people die three deaths. the first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning. the second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight. the third death, the most definitive death, is when there is no one left alive to remember us.

i've always been intrigued by these thought lines and have found them in most cultures in some form or another. to this end, i have collected skull art and other related expressions from around the world. recently, i've acquired these wonderful camel bone beads from egypt:

...and look forward to creating something wonderful with them...not sure what just yet, but there are a few ideas percolating gently in the back of my mind...

i have also just received these lovely dyed turquoise howlite skull beads, from which i intend to make a wrist mala:

while thoughts of change and the temporal nature of life have been on the forefront of my mind lately, i also went in for the second stage of my sleeve the other day and had this lovely tibetan monk's ceremonial skull cup added to my arm:

after four pain-filled hours, it was finally done! i only wish this photo did the colors in the skull itself the justice it deserves. i have him working on translating the lower front part of the sleeve design now: a couple of tibetan snow lions i designed.  i can hardly wait for the appointment to get them inked!

but for the moment, it's back to needle chanting and thread gathering...and perhaps a shop update or two in the next few days...