Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letter to a Weaving Friend

Hi Dorothy,

Just a quick note as I am now in the throes of packing. The movers come on Monday, and there is so much to do. But I wanted to take this moment to share a special picture with you.

This trip to Montana was amazing-- truly a once in a lifetime experience! Just to be clear, I wasn’t weaving FOR the Dalai Lama. I was weaving FOR a group of people who carry the vision of creating a place so sacred in the middle of the remote Flathead Reservation---that the Dalai Lama has accepted an invitation to consecrate this “garden” upon completion. I created the Dalai Lama's horoscope weaving as an offering to help raise money (which they dearly need) to complete the project within the next year. The result of this offering, so far, has been nothing short of a miracle, and I haven't even delivered the completed weaving yet. Call me if you want details as it is a story that must be told rather than written.

On the last day of the trip, I looked through the glass front door into the little house I was to rent and took a picture through the glass

and saw the future......(grin)


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Words Cannot Describe.....

There is so much to "tell", but I am starting off with the "show" part---enjoy!

These are the last 5 pictures in the series, something besides me decided I am supposed to show the last pictures first.

From the natural-dyed silk warp to the recycled cashmere weft, each thread was individually selected to correspond to a color sequence unique to HH The Dalai Lama.

You simply have to see and feel this cloth to receive the full impact of the quality.

I will tell you about the finishing process as I move backward in time.

Time is weaving

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hanging Around Town

Back in 1975 when I was living in Missoula, I had an exhibition of my wall hangings---cleverly called Hanging Around Town. As I was doing some sorting back in Seattle, I happened upon the poster I made for the show. It is interesting to see where I was on my weaving journey back then.

I'll have to recopy the text below.

I specialize in custom weaving, a part of your environment that is an expression/extension of yourself.

These hangings represent--in part--a pleasant portion of the past 5 years.

It is easy to weave beautiful things---Anybody who wants to weave can weave something beautiful--but it is very difficult to see something in your mind and then weave it.

When someone says, "I want you to weave something for me." They are really asking me to weave a portrait of their soul, but most people don't realize this when they ask so casually. I think that is where the real magic of weaving lies.

When you weave for nobody in particular, you lose focus. You have to look too hard for the answers; but having a person to hold in your mind when you work puts you in touch with the truths of the universe--not that you always remember---but you always know where to look again.

I can surely see I was on the way. This was a few years before Color Horoscope Weaving and just at the very beginning of Almost Ikat.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weaving Together

Here are some images I like that didn't make it into the earlier posts.

Sharmila and I look at our weavings at the same time on opposite sides of the world.

Hands working together......
This doesn't really relate to the Dalai Lama weaving except that I happened to bring the Mary Meigs Atwater merino wool, horoscope/ikat blanket with me and someone asked to see it.

As you may or may not know, Mary Meigs Atwater was the Dean of American Handweaving and lived much of her life in Montana.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buddha Garden Weaving Day #3

I came out on the porch and examined my progress--with just one more day to weave.
I am pleased with the amount I have left to weave. I am also pleased that there are not gale winds and rain today. I didn't take any images until I was ready to cut the weaving from the loom. (It was then that the sky darkened and thunder and lightening filled the sky). This is the big moment. I used to say that the reason for weaving was "having woven". Although it may not be the reason, it is a very good part. I know it is the journey-- not the destination, and this has been one amazing journey.

Here is comes!
I just accidentally erased the picture of my hands untying the knots that attach the weaving to the front beam. Oh well....

I never can resist mugging with cloth. I wonder what it means to have that dark cloud hovering over my head? I just noticed that (grin)

I am sitting in Butterfly Herbs in Missoula taking advantage of the wireless connection. I am running out of time, but I will post some more tomorrow. I am not able to connect from where I am staying, so I will have to get used to becoming more efficient. Tomorrow I will attempt to upload more than 5 pictures as per Connie's suggestion.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buddha Garden Weaving Day #2

Did I mention that my daughter in spirit is weaving a rendition of the Dalai Lama's horoscope in Hyderabad India at the very same moment that I am weaving at the Buddha Garden in Montana?

Here is just one of several pictures that she sent me. Isn't it wonderful! We think this is a great way to have a "peace demonstration"
Meanwhile, back in Montana the wind was howling and the rain pouring and people dropped by to watch and to weave. I was glad I brought a turtleneck jersey and socks although it did warm up in the afternoon.
There young weavers.....
And not so young weavers.....
For some reason blogger will only let me upload 5 pictures, so I don't have picture of the woman on the right weaving. Nor did I get to put in an arty picture of the woven part.

The day ended with thunder and more rain followed by a nice rainbow. I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow. It was a fun and exciting day. I should have no trouble finishing the weaving tomorrow.

A lovely woman from the Ronan newspaper, The Valley Journal, came today and took lots of pictures of me, so I will be in the news. I will put in a link when it comes out on Thursday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Buddha Garden Weaving Day #1

Wow is the word of the day! Check out my Facebook page and see the daughter of my spirit, Sharmila ,weaving along with me on the other side of the world. I haven't figured out how to lift those pictures and put them on my blog, but perhaps it will come to me tomorrow. I shared the Dalai Lama draft with her, but I didn't know she was going to weave along with me---what a treat!

If anyone would like a copy of the Dalai Lama draft, I am happy to share it with you. Just contact me via my email with your contact information. Although I am saying this now, I have no way to doing this until I get back to Seattle after the 19th.

At first I was concerned that the cashmere was going to cover the silk too much, but not the case.
The colors are rich and subtle. My little visitor seemed like a good omen.

About a year ago, I sent Connie Rose some skeins of white recycled cashmere to over-dye. I am thrilled that I saved it for this project. The variegated skeins look very rich, indeed. Thank you Connie!

And then my friend Linda, from out of the past, showed up to weave a little bit. Actually there were a half dozen folks who stopped by to weave. I wish I had taken pictures of everyone who sat down at the loom. I will be sure to ---if people stop by on Tuesday, although I suspect tomorrow will be a quiet day.

Interestingly, I taught Linda to weave 25 years ago when we both lived in Seattle. Linda now lives 3 miles or so from the Garden. It was sure great to re-connect with old friends. It feels more and more like I am "coming home".
I easily got 1/3 of the weaving done. At about 3:30 we had a huge down-pour which cooled everything off. Then the wind came up and we had to batten down the loom for the evening.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Warping in the Garden

It is a most interesting experience warping a loom outside on a windy day. I had to give up trying to keep the threads aligned as they went around the back beam.

It is equally interesting to realize I forgot to bring the lease sticks I usually use to support the cross while I thread through the heddles. Those of you who are weavers should find it somewhat amusing that I used the breast bar and the beater bar to support the lease. Fortunately I brought lots of rope and string to lash everything up tight (something I don't usually do)

I also didn't bring a low stool, so I was sitting up a bit higher than I usually do which made threading a bit slower.
And although it was a hot bright sunny day, you can see it is actually somewhat shadowy from where I was sitting. But it was divine having the prayer flags flapping in the breeze all around me.

Can you see the figure of Yum Chenmo off in the distance? It's quite a bit different than my apartment in Seattle. (grin)

Knots are tied and I am all ready to begin tomorrow on the first day of the new moon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Visit to the Garden

Even in a picture, it is hard to imagine the scope of Garden, the amount of work that has already been done, the amazing speed in the which the garden is taking shape, and the vast amount of work yet to be completed.

Seated at the center point of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas is the 25-foot figure of Yum Chenmo, or the Great Mother. In the Sanskrit language she is known as Prajnaparamita, or “Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom.” She is depicted in feminine form because it is said that it is this perfect wisdom that “gives birth” to all of the Buddhas, as well as the bodhisattvas,those who are striving for enlightenment to benefit all beings.

Here I am with Konchog Norbu, the Buddhist Monk who is overseeing this grand project. He gave me a most welcoming tour of grounds, and took me into the barn where the 1000 Buddhas
are being made and stored.

Here is a Buddha still in the mold.

And here is the just shy of 600 Buddhas.

Although it doesn't look like it, it does smell like a barn. Konchog told me the property used to be a working sheep ranch. I just found out that the land for the Garden was acquired 11 years ago, and it has taken all this time to get to this point in the process.

We unloaded the loom in the garage, and I will be back on Sunday to thread the loom to be ready to begin the weaving on Monday.

To read all about the Garden, click here to tour the beautiful website.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Journey Begins---

Where is the line between excitement and hysteria (grin)?

Grace is happily packed and ready to go.

Onward into the future....

The trip was somewhat of a blur, and in the next post I will be of my initial visit to the Garden. I didn't take a single picture during the drive over (must have been because I didn't get more than 3 hours sleep) However, if anyone really wants to see some road shots, I will fish some out from previous drives to Montana. I promise to post pictures of Arlee, the Jocko Valley, Flathead Lake, and the Mission Mountains as my Montana saga progresses.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weaving in the Garden--- Final Preparations

I wound the Dalai Lama warp all the way back on the warp beam. I wrapped a nice towel around it all and secured the lease sticks in place. I have never done this before. It should work though.

Awaiting the arrival of the chariot.
Grace and Gary have changed places. While I am weaving the Dalai Lama on Grace in Montana, Breanne will be weaving her horoscope on Gary---her first weaving. I left her Peggy Osterkamp's new book, so she should be just fine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Weaving in the Garden--- More Preparations

I really am leaving early tomorrow morning (grin).

The silk is wound into balls.

The 5 yard lengths (360 of them) are all counted out.

Here is the first view of the Dalai Lama's horoscope.

The threads are put in order.

And now you have a better look at what the weaving will be like.
Since I will not be able to transport the loom assembled and threaded, stay tuned for the packing. I love taking pictures of packing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weaving in the Garden---Preparations

For several days now I have fallen well below the learning curve as make the switch over to a laptop. However, Irene over at the Cotton Clouds Blog is going to beat the band. Take a look. It is fabulous!

It is now just about 36 hours until leave for Montana with so many chapters of the tale to tell.

So let me bring you somewhat up to date.

To create such a special weaving in a special place at a special time, I decided to use natural dyed silk. Of course Cheryl Kolander of Aurora Silk came to mind. In case you are not familiar with Cheryl, here she is:

Cheryl Kolander, who has created these colours, is the senior natural dyer in the world today. For 42 years she has practiced and perfected her art. A meditator since the age of 8, she has actively prayed and worked for peace all her life. She practices Thibetan Vajra Yoga in the Shakya tradition.

Cheryl lives at her Urban Peace Silk Farm in Portland, Oregon. She has written and published many books, including “A Silkworker's Notebook”, currently in its third edition; “Brilliant Colours with Natural Dyes”; “Dancing Darvisha”, pictures of Uzbekistan and inspired poems; “Lem'me Help” , a novel; “Working Words”, poetry of activism; and is currently working on “Stones that Talk”, Buddahs' Wisdom from the caves at Ellora, India.

Cheryl has raised four children and modestly supports herself and many others thru her small business “Aurora Silk”, a source for quality textile art materials, information and education, about natural textiles, natural dyes and especially Peace silk. ( As “Mama D.O.C.” (=”Mother, Doctor of Caring”) she does non-profit, natural health work in her community and around the world, with small, independent projects in the Dominican Republic, India and Uzbekistan. Cheryl has donated the dyework and the dyes for these colours: “Every action, every word, every thought creates its vibration, that flows out, continuously.”

Dyes used:

1 – Buddah's Yellow and 2 – Aurora Gold

Fusticwood from Cheryl's Dominican Republic Logwood Project – Eco harvest and Way Beyond Fair Trade.

3 – Ruddy Orange

Madder root from village plots in Turkey, part of a multi-national effort to restore the art of Natural dyed Turkish carpets. Organically raised, village produced.

4 – Scarlet, and 5 – Crimson, and 6 – Plum violet

Cochineal, the rare natural dye that comes from a domesticated insect. Raised in high mountain valleys of Peru and Chile, these sedentary scales live on prickly pear cactus, and are harvested at the end of their life cycle. Organically raised, women's farm co-op produced.

7- Purple

Logwood from Cheryl's Dominican Republic Logwood Project – Eco harvest and
Way Beyond Fair Trade.

8 – Dark Blue

Indigo, naturally fermented by Cheryl to make a permanent dye. This Indigo is raised by women farmers in El Salvador, and processed in vats built during Spanish colonial times. Organically raised, village produced.

9- Light Blue

Indigo, naturally fermented by Cheryl to make a permanent dye. This Indigo is from the oldest continuously producing Indigo farm in India. Organically raised, traditional farm produced.

10 – Blue Green, 11- Emerald Green 12- Spring Green

Indigo blue base, with varying amounts of Fusticwood yellow to make green.

Variegated colours: Indigo, Fusticwood, Cochineal

Colours are permanently fixed according to ancient techniques, using food grade alum and the nutritional supplemental minerals tin and iron. All these colours are good for the health of the wearer: physically, emotionally and mentally. All these colours benefit the planet and all its people: ecologically, economically and socially.

All Cheryl's dyework is a spiritual practice. These colours were begun on the Spring Equinox 2010 and completed for the Summer Solstice.

What is there to say after that--except get started winding skeins into balls!