Tuesday, June 28, 2011

atarashii boro

after seeing some of jude hill's fun boro and strip woven jeans (and shirts and more), i thought i'd poke around the web and see what anyone was doing that had a more masculine look (being male, after all, and frequently lamenting that men really have very little exciting clothing).  the first image to pop up was this fun one from last year's polo line.  of course, the jeans are fantastic, and just what i was looking for...but i couldn't tear my eyes off that amazing flag in the background! maybe it's because independence day is right around the corner (for those of us who live in the u.s.). maybe it's because i've always liked tattered american kitch. i dunno...but i'm thinking i may have to have a wade through my stash this week and see what i can tease out of it that might make a wonderful flag similar to that one (at least in concept).  

but, for the moment, back to boro and/or strip woven jeans...

i found a ton of ideas and fun things to do...even a few tutorials on ripping, fraying, fading, and other destructables that bore a lot of promise for many fun days and nights this summer... at least, toying with the techniques and seeing what i come up with and all of its accompanying variations, derivatives and explorations!

from the denim blog:

"ripped jeans have been worn as a fashion statement since the 1970’s. many chose to deform their jeans in an effort to separate themselves from mainstream culture. ironically, the mainstream eventually embraced ripped jeans.today ripped jeans and patched jeans have become part of the fabric of american culture. both styles are now welcome in places that range from the dorm room to the board room, the art studio to the art opening, and the vegetable garden to the garden gala."

dolce & gabanna has made an art of ragged and patched jeans...not to mention a fortune what with them ranging upwards of $85 a pair and more!

i remember mom throwing jeans out long before they reached this stage of deconstruction, no matter how much we protested!

but i have to say...my most favorite pair by far has been an 8 year (and counting) project from lucy b's flickr stream:

now that's a pair of recycled & reused jeans to aspire to!

one more thought...a crossover piece...an atarashii boro denim flag:

this extraordinary patched american flag was handcrafted from recycled vintage denim by american textile artisan judy augur in 2009, and is a true piece of modern day folk art, measuring 125” x 75”, and backed with sturdy canvas.  it is currently at auction to benefit ralph lauren's pink pony fund. perhaps something a bit smaller would be within this artist's grasp at creating?

in any case, i'm off to answer the louder than usual whisperings of a couple cloths...


Sunday, June 26, 2011

a little frayed around the edges

"it was not...that she was unaware
of the frayed and ragged edges of life.
she would merely iron them out
with a firm hand and neatly
hem them down."
- p.d. james

i love it when an old quilt (or any cloth...or for that matter, bit of furniture, crockery, cook pan or whatever) has been lovingly enjoyed so much that it bears its story proudly upon its edges!  unlike p.d. james, however, i'm more inclined to simply allow them to tell their stories of love and delight rather than hide them beneath new borders and forced gloss.  if everything were to always stay looking new and unused, where would the evidence of a passionately lived life be found?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

the creative process

the creative process is not
controlled by a switch
you can simply
turn on or off;
it's with you
all the time.
-alvin ailey

added more paisley feathers & have
begun adding beads & stitching

i am always amazed by the way creativity enters our lives. sometimes creeping quietly in with the dark. other times, crashing through the thicket with a great ruckus! but i have learned that there is definitely a process to it...

preparation: dinking around with your medium of choice; seeking out inspiration; observing

incubation: working on an idea (sometimes without even realizing it); making new connections; coalescing ideas; allowing the conscious and unconscious mind to sync

illumination: that "eureka" moment; that driving creative urge that simply can't be ignored

implementation: when the ideas and attending drives begin to "flow" and the creation manifests; when the "process" begins to shine and pull you toward the "finish line"

it seems, in my observations, that most people "mess up" their creative process in the first two steps. for me, it is usually the incubation period that gets derailed. but i am learning that by sharing my ideas. exploring them with others. that i am less likely to be derailed here. unless, of course, i begin to grasp at too many possibilities instead of just allowing them to coalesce into one distinction.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

having taken pause...

sometimes, a guy just has
to stop and re-group...

i'd like to say that the floods and tornadoes have caused me to take time out and reflect upon the nature of life. that the impending summer has caused me to spend countless hours out of doors and away from my needles and fibers. or any other myriad of deep and insightful reasons for why i have been so nonproductive over the past couple of weeks. i'd like to say this...but i can't.

i've simply stepped back, hid beneath the covers, and watched the world drift by...

however, i can say that it appears to have been cathartic as my needle seems to be dancing across the fibers tonight! i'm not entirely certain what caused the stasis in which i found myself. perhaps it was simply a matter of needing to create a little space in which to allow germination of new ideas and the regrowth of old ones.

today i was inspired by this and this.

Monday, June 6, 2011

tornado watch update

fortunately, it would seem the worst of it is over...or at least, has past by my area and is now moving north and east of here... it was pretty scary! we had to move all of our elders at work from their beds to the dining hall (only room with no windows and surrounded by load bearing walls) for at least an hour...and weren't allowed to leave work until just now when they finally lifted the tornado warning in billings proper.  here's some pics of tonight's storm:

from just before the storm hit

here it comes...

tornado clouds moving in by the airport

spinners forming...

lightning and scary clouds...

there are reports of baseball sized hail out from big timber and as far east as columbus...and golf ball sized hail up in the heights and beyond!  winds here hit 45-60 mph, with speeds topping 90 mph in surrounding areas.  they have settled a bit for the moment.

for now, i and mine are safe, if a little shaken. my thoughts and prayers go out for those still in harm's way, both from this storm and others!


tornado watch

i'm beginning to wonder about the weather around these parts.  all of sudden, mother nature seems to think that ours has been too nice these past several years and has been plaguing us with floods and now tornadoes!  granted, i love wind! always have...but don't think i like much the idea that it can carry me away! nor do i relish the idea of more impending floods. but, as it stands, we are on tornado watch AND flood watch!

if i go dark for a few days, it'll be power issues... but let's hope it doesn't come to that...


Sunday, June 5, 2011

notice space

noticing the space around people and things provides a different way of looking at them. developing this spacious view is a way of opening oneself. when one has a spacious mind, there is room for everything. when one has a narrow mind, there is room for only a few things.

there are many kinds of spaciousness – there is spaciousness of physical form, of time, of presence, and of love. in quiet moments of solitude, i have been turning to the spaciousness of the present moment. allowing this feeling of spaciousness within me expand. just to see how far it can go. observing what the experience of it is for me. the intensity of this experience is subtle.

in the simplicity of observing the present moment, noting what thoughts come and go, hearing the flies buzzing by and the soft clucking of the chickens, feeling the warm breezes on my skin, and observing my own breath… there is a prevailing fresh quality of resting in the present. i still don’t know how far this can go yet, because there is no end to the in-the-moment experience. each moment of feeling spaciousness is a new moment. you feel it expansively and freshly. the experience of this for me is of open possibility, and a quiet peaceful serenity. 

of late, while lingering in a sort of pause mode, i began to become still more aware of this interior spaciousness – of an emptiness within me. this emptiness is not incompleteness. not at all. this emptiness implies possibility. a place of receptivity. of room for something huge. in this space there is no finiteness of capacity. no walls to confine. no social constraints to limit. this kind of space is freedom. freedom from confinement, from preoccupation, from oppression, from drivenness, and from all the other interior and exterior forces that tend to bind and restrict one's spirit. this space gives elbow room for one's passions.

spaciousness is always a beginning. a possibility. a potential. a capacity for new awareness. if i can bear the truth of how things are, and actively seek the truth, not just what is comfortable, i eventually find myself in the midst of a peaceful present moment.
we seem to be given what we need as we need it – this space opens before us at precise increments. space becomes brutal when we try to force it, make it a project, or demand that it meets our expectations.
to the extent we make our own spaciousness holy, and intend it for love, pointing it toward love's source, this space responds. in my experience, our increasing availability to the truth, to love, happens gradually, gently, and with grace.

may you find spaciousness in all that you do. in each and every moment.


Friday, June 3, 2011

more than words

"all our words are but crumbs 
that fall down from the feast of the mind."
- kahlil gibran

most of us have life mottos that we like to live by. a collection of inspirations to live by. or maybe just a motto to get us through our day to day lives. great thinkers before us have shared enduring inspirational quotes that will resonate through time. visionary quotes that give us all a tiny glint of life. gandhi, buddha, einstein, emerson, confucious, jeffereson... the list could go on forever of those who have given us words to live by.

words can take us many places. can evoke in us an awakening to be a better person. enthuse a new direction in life. spark a change.  they help us get through times that seem unbearable. teach us to love. be happy with what we have. or just appreciate ourselves and the earth from which we came.  sharing words that we believe in...or a quote that drives us and inspires us...with another person is something very special. indeed, even more so when our shared words touches someone in a way that manifests new thoughts...or a new way of life.  but, for many of us, there must also be more than words.

this is why i create. manifest art. explore visual interpretation. musical interpretation. i use words to help explain my process. to engage the reader. but i use thread, fabric, bead, dye and whatever else comes to hand to evoke emotion. response. comprehension.

sometimes, i falter. reset. try again. sometimes, manifestation is elusive and the medium lies silent. sometimes, it flows without an end in sight... the challenge is to find equanimity. harmony. balance. frank herbert once said that there is no secret to balance. you just have to feel the waves.

may we all feel the waves more often than not...


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

art as contemplation

"a day spent without the sight or sound of beauty,
the contemplation of mystery,
or the search of truth or perfection
is a poverty-stricken day;
and a succession of such days
is fatal to human life."
-lewis mumford

art is contemplation. few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own artistic experience. there are moments when i think i am one of those who have yet to do more than scratch the surface of my artistic experience. though i imagine the moment that i attempt to define my place along this path, i am lost for whenever we try to tack something down by defining it, labeling it, we limit it and thereby inhibit its expression.

there is nothing i enjoy more than sitting down with needle and thread in hand and contemplating through thread chanting. creating art out of salvage and discards. something from a perceived nothing.

being buddhist, i have experience with many forms of meditation and contemplation. being an artist, and carrying forward my meditative practice into my art and, indeed, the rest of my life, i find such things as thread chanting deeply contemplative.

i feel like i'm stepping into a place of spiritual contemplation every time i enter my studio. it bears a certain magic for me that has never faded with familiarity. it is also my fervent desire that you might feel this in my work...or, better still, in your own experience when you sit down to "contemplate" through whatever medium you express yourself in, both artistic and mundane.