Sunday, December 23, 2012

All the Best to You...


© 2012 Linda A. Miller

 We bless this year for all we have learned,
For all we have lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

 -- John O'Donohue -  excerpt of  "At the End of the Year" from To Bless the Space Between Us
I also leave you with this link from Miriam Hall and a thoughtful reminder about gentleness as you gather together this holiday.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!  I am taking some time away from the blog, and will see you again in the New Year. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Let the Light Shine

© 2012 Linda A. Miller

May I live this day

Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

-- John O'Donohue -  excerpt of "Matins" from To Bless the Space Between Us


© 2012 Linda A. Miller

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Remembering Them


So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?"

---Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet




I have not been able to find the words to express my sadness..however here are some writings that have touched me:
 
"This is the most incomprehensible tragedy of insanity. There is no way to even begin to understand what has happened. We can only sit with the overwhelming sadness and loss of the innocent. The guardian of humanity could not have to face anything more grave than losing the young unopened buds that were on their way to bloom. We pray that some relief may come in this time of loss and to the broken hearts of the parents, family members, and our countrymen and women. This kind of tragedy is happening way too often in our country, where only a few miles away in Canada, it is a rare occurrence. I join my palms in prayer for America to find a positive resolution to this problem."  - the words of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche shared by Pema Chodron.
 
"One simple act you can do in response to this heartbreaking thievery of human life is to let yourself feel the deep grief of it.  Notice when you want to push it away, or numb yourself, or find a distraction.  This capacity to sit with the pain and let it work its way through you is the first and fundamental response. The second response is an embrace of love as the deepest and truest thing, what makes life bearable under the most grievous of circumstances.  Hold someone you love close, make amends with a loved one with whom you had a falling out.  Extend yourself in this circle of love.  These things matter deeply.  Then comes the hard work of conversation and change of policy and ways to protect lives more vigorously.  But this work must emerge from a place that has allowed the river of grief to flow through and the deep well of love to nourish and sustain.  We must remember the extravagant source of life as we consider the reality of death." - excerpt from the December 17th Abbey of the Arts newsletter by Christine Valters Paintner  (Thanks to Christine for the reminder about the opening quote by Rilke!)

This flag will be posted on the Prayer Flag Project site on December 20th.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Underway


Yes, I am finally beginning to do the baking....



And remembering to take the time to play...



While I finish what is on the needles.



Hope your preparations and holidays are going well!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Creative Inspiration Artists

Congratulations to all the artists whose wonderful work will be exhibited in SAQA's Creative Inspiration at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts in January!

Artists:  Andi Perejda  Karen Cunagin  Ann Turley  Kathleen McCabe  Annette Guerrero  Kathy Nida  Barbara Friedman  Kathy Piper   Belinda Hart  Laura Bisagna   Carolyn Ryan   Linda Friedman  Dan Olfe  Linda Miller  Doria Goocher  Lorna Morck  Gail Hansen  Mary Tabar  Gay McNeal  Ranell Hansen  Gillian Moss  Sally Wright   Heather Urquhart   Sandra Hankins  Jeanne Surber  Sandra S. Lauterbach  Jeannie Moore   Sharon Hightower  Jill LeCoissette   Sherry Kleinman   jo griffith  Terry Waldron  Tracy Potter

Very pleased to be among these fine artists!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Thread

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.


-William Stafford, The Way It Is

How could I not share this poem?!  Thank you to Abbey of the Arts for bringing this quote to my attention.




Needles are flying with much WIP at the moment...however, I cannot reveal these until after the holidays. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Creative Inspirations




Elevate   © 2012 Linda A. Miller
Elevate   © 2012 Linda A. Miller



I hope that everyone who celebrates it, had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Having been under the weather I am finally getting around to sharing this good news (those of you on Facebook already had advance notice).  "Elevate" and "Articulated" have been accepted into SAQA's Regional Showcase Creative Inspiration on exhibit at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA) January 3 through January 29, 2013.  The curator is Mary Tabar, one of our regional SAQA Reps.  The opening reception will be on Saturday January 5,  1 - 3p.m.  Directions are here.  Gallery hours are: Tuesday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The quilts will grace the walls of both the lobby and second floors of the beautiful PCPA venue located in North San Diego.  Looking forward to the exhibit! 


 Articulated © 2012 Linda A. Miller

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

I am grateful for the friends and family who enrich my life.

California Leaves © 2012 Linda A. Miller

Gift making begins...this 12" square quilt is going to my Aunt.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Finding Spirit






"The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable." - Robert Henri

Of late I have been reading, in very slow stages, Robert Henri's "The Art Spirit".  Born in 1865, Henri was an American artist and inspired teacher.  The book, published in 1923, is a compilation of his notes, articles, talks and letters about art making and art appreciation containing much that remains timeless.  Not the sort of book to go through all at once, but one that I feel I will revisit again and again.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude




I am grateful for the all love, connection and support that gently encourages me 
to open my heart wider.
This for Laura Hegfield's Gratitude Quilt.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

After Effects

"When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other." (Margaret Wheatley)

I can speak to the reality of this quote from Robert Genn's current newsletter.  This past week's TAFA Tour profile posts opened the door to new connections with the ladies I interviewed, or who interviewed me.  Linda Friedman lives locally and it turns out we share much in common, including groups beyond TAFA.  At yesterday's regional SAQA meeting, Linda and I were able to finally meet face to face.  It was great to be able to catch up in person.  Linda Marcille is the artist who wrote about my work, and we have been talking online since we live across the country from one another.  Thanks to Rachel Biel, hardworking TAFA founder, for coming up with this creative idea!  Look for more in the future.

Continuing with the theme of connection...our SAQA meeting was lively and inspiring, as you can see by photos on the link above.  Met new and old friends, participated in interesting art discussions and ate delicious food donated by the group.  The energetic Jamie Fingal, artist, author, curator and more, was our exceptional guest speaker.  She shared her unique, diverse work and ideas with us.  It is wonderful to make these connections with fellow artists on the path.  Friendship is such a cornerstone of our lives, isn't it?  Many thanks to our SAQA reps, Deborah Stanley and Teresa Shippy, for organizing and hosting this thoroughly enjoyable day!

And may I also say how much I value the monthly meetings with my mini art group, Fiber Fanatics...these always are enriching times of friendship, fun, art and food!

PS- Here are links from the posts about my work by Linda Friedman and Linda Marcille.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

TAFA Tour - Linda Friedman Profile

"Escape and Return" © Linda Friedman

Textile And Fiber Art List (TAFA) is on online international community of artists and businesses engaged in the textile arts.  As part of this week's TAFA member tour, I would like to introduce quilt artist, Linda Friedman.  Linda has had a life long love of the written word and art.  Her achievements include publishing poetry, teaching business writing, and working in management in a surgical fellowship program at the University of Southern California.  Her commitments are balanced between education, family and the arts.

Linda was immersed in watercolor and oil painting when she discovered that painting and other nontraditional elements could be incorporated into fiber arts.  As this new passion grew she moved beyond paper and canvas, expanding her horizons and joining art quilt groups.  Linda relocated upon retirement from academia, where her hilltop home has become a studio filled with an array of color and fabric.  Although often balking at labels, Linda calls herself a fiber artist, surface designer and quilt artist.


"Flight" © Linda Friedman



Linda's wonderful art quilts have been well received in exhibits, resulting in sales and commissions nationally.  She finds inspiration from life in all its varied forms.  As with any passion, there are never sufficient hours in the day to follow her muse.  In Linda's own words, her mission is "to create lasting works of art that elevate the spirit, bring joy and pleasure to others through visual and tactile interaction, and thereby spark the innate creativity in others".










"Koi Reflections No. 4" © Linda Friedman



Lindas Art Quilts


To learn more about Linda, visit her TAFA page:  http://www.tafalist.com/members/lindas-art-quilts

or her blog:  http://lindasartquilts.blogspot.com/

Drop by her excellent Etsy shop, too:
www.etsy.com/shop/lindasartquilts




You can also visit my page:  http://www.tafalist.com/members/linda-miller-designs



Saturday, November 3, 2012

It is November

The Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition  just completed its run on October 28th. The exhibit was well received in both venues this fall, and the quilts will soon return home. Below is a photo of my pieces from the exhibit, pictured with Lin Hsin-Chen, President of Taiwan Art Quilt Society and TIQE curator. I  can only assume photos were taken with all the quilts. Very commendable!  As I did not see the exhibit in person, I was thrilled to see these pictures of the display.  Many thanks to Lin Hsin-Chen for her support, and for all her efforts to bring about this monumental event.  I am looking forward to seeing the catalog of all the quilts.
Lin Hsin-Chen with "Flowing On" and "Flowing Through", TIQE 2012

The traveling exhibit, Black and White with a Twist, has been at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this week..closes tomorrow, Sunday.  I feel honored to have "Linear Moves" on display in this exhibit.
Have you seen my online Etsy shop yet?   I have added some quilts and additional bowls to the shop, so I hope you will drop by and visit! 





Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post Storm




Sending sun and healing wishes to those who were caught in the devastating storm back east.  May some normalcy return, and the damage be repaired as quickly as possible.  Let the work begin...


Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Advice

Carlsbad, CA 2012





Distraction is fact of life..so how do we get things done anyway?  Can intention help to shift things?  Today's edition of Robert Genn's newsletter has some simple and practical advice.  Set a timer for 25 minutes, work on your project.  When the timer goes off, take a break for 5 minutes, and then repeat the cycle.   Read more in the newsletter. This could be an interesting experiment to better manage time.  Are you up to the challenge with me?  It has already helped me to finish writing some artist statements!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ouilts and Flags

Several of us  took a day trip to see the Quilt National 2011 and Prayer Flag Project exhibits at the Oceanside Museum of Art over the weekend.  A fabulous day out.  I was happy to see the QN exhibit, which included one third of the original 85 quilts from that year (3 traveling exhibits are being shown all over the country).  It is inspirational to see the work that was accepted into this exceptional venue.  Always more impressive in person than in photographs, of course.  Many superb quilts, techniques and ideas.  Yet sometimes I found myself wondering what the juror was thinking in choosing a piece.  It is a reminder that, in the end, viewing art work is a subjective experience.  What one person is drawn to may not resonate with others. 

I was very intrigued by the Fiber Dialogues quilts adjacent to QN.  Here, a select group of regional artists, including Jane LaFazio, Terry Waldron, Joanell Connelly, & Sheila Frampton Cooper, were invited to submit pieces that spoke to works in the QN show.  It was an effective and interesting idea. 

Sorry, no photos allowed for any of the quilt exhibits.

 



Happily, they were allowed for the Prayer Flag Project 
in the lobby area.  
Exciting to see the many flags sent in from artists all over, 
including myself


























Friday, October 19, 2012

Sculpting Bowls

Ruffled Thread Bowl 2012

I have been creating these small fiber bowls, which began as a means to recycle leftover thread cuttings, yarns, and lint.  The results always have an element of the unexpected.  Previously I had used Solvy sheets, a water soluble stabilizer that looks like plastic wrap, in making my own fabric out of threads and stitching for appliques on my quilts, as you see in the center of one of my "Squiggles Series" below.

Squiggles 3  © 2008  Linda A. Miller

So, I began to wonder about the possibilities of a three dimensional piece... and how would that work?  Three years later you see the results.  I thought it time to share the process with you.


Fibers set up in hoop - top side

Back side of piece

To begin, I set up layers of lint, thread cuttings and yarn between two sheets of Solvy.  This package is then put in an embroidery hoop before stitching.  I find this keeps everything together as I stitch.  I use a 10" hoop that allows me access to all areas under my machine's arm.  Then I use free motion stitching all over the surface to keep the materials together once the stabilizer is gone.


Stitching completed

Once the stitching is finished, the materials are taken out of the hoop.  I trim off the edges of the Solvy (I now have a bag of those cuttings to use in some project!)  and wash out the Solvy in a water bath, leaving some residue remaining which will act as glue for bowl.


Post washing

Now the material is ready for forming into a bowl shape.  I am using packaging from store bought muffins currently. You can experiment for yourself with different forms.  Once molded, I let it dry.


Shaping the bowl

The bowl is very light, almost paper like in texture, and holds it shape.  I seal it with acrylic sealer or matte medium to protect it.  Voila..you have fun fiber bowl!  You can see more bowls in my Etsy shop.

Ruffled Thread Bowl - top

Using the soluble stabilizer to create is not a new idea.  I love seeing how others have gone down a similar path to develop their own style of three dimensional art.  In the current  issue of Quilting Arts (October November 2012) Julie Richardson talks about her own process of turning scraps into sculptural bowls.  She uses AquaMesh Wash Away embroidery stabilizer.  I may have to experiment with that!  Let me know what you come up with.

Ruffled Thread Bowl 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Exhibit Month


 This seems to be the season for exhibit openings.  Over the weekend I attended two receptions. Sandra Lauterbach, friend and fellow Fiber Fanatic, is one two featured artists at HaleArts Space in Santa Monica.  Her exciting energetic pieces will be on view until October 17th.

Extreme Quilters "Art from Cloth" held their reception yesterday out in Newbury Park.  It was a lovely Southern California fall day for a drive.  My friend, Sally Wright, and I were fortunate to be able to gather with a group for the pre-exhibit SAQA lunch, allowing time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.  The exhibit is extensive with a variety of offerings...sorry no pictures were allowed to share with you, however you can go to this preview of their catalog.  I was particularly drawn to Loris Bogue's and Pamela Price Klebaum's pieces.  And purchased several delicious hand dyes in the gift shop! 

Next weekend, at the Oceanside Museum of Art three concurrent exhibits will open on Saturday and run until February 2013- Quilt National (selections from QN 2011), Fiber Dialogues and the OMA Prayer Flag Project (one of my flags is a part of this exhibit).  Looking forward to seeing these!

Finally, Visions Biennial Brainstorms will open on October 20th.  I am eagerly awaiting this always innovative, inspiring exhibit!




Monday, October 1, 2012

The Unexpected


 I had planned to meet up with an out of town friend yesterday.  Here in L.A. a major freeway closure was in effect over the weekend due to bridge construction, and my friend was on the opposite side of town.  I thought I would be able to take my familiar surface street route to get there.  Well, think again!  I found my route blocked off, later learning there was a triathlon event on those streets.  It was disappointing that getting together was not meant to be that day. Reminder that some things are out of our control.

Back home, I instead enjoyed a quiet, peaceful day.  Some sketching, gardening, and finishing my reread of John O'Donohue's inspiring Anam Cara

Over the past week I have been listening to the audio book of Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization...which I had also read some time ago.  I find Cahill's Hinges of History series thought provoking.  Wonderful writing about points in history that impacted Western culture.  I encourage you to read his books....

I leave you with this beautiful quote from T.S. Eliot-
"And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time."


Monday, September 24, 2012

Quietly Elevating


"When you come patiently and silently home to yourself, you come into unity and into belonging."  
John O'Donohue, excerpt from Anam Cara

I unplugged from all the electronics yesterday to give myself some space and silence to reflect and rejuvenate.  It was lovely.  I intend on doing this on a regular basis.  Why, you might ask?  Over the past year or so, I have noticed a rise in subtle feelings of overwhelm.  Not that my life has such stress to warrant such feeling, so I have watched it with curiosity.  I have also seen an increase in my online and "connected" time...often feeling a direct response of agitation on those particularly long days of computer time.  (I don't think I am alone in this reaction.)  I think it will be helpful to be more selective with my time and commitments by choosing a path with less external distraction.  I don't know, but I will let you know.  It may indeed allow more time to be really present in my life.  More time, possibly, to create work like the recently completed "Elevate".

Elevate   © 2012 Linda A. Miller
Elevate   © 2012 Linda A. Miller














Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Arrives

Though it has been hot here in Southern CA, the light has softened and the arrival of fall is
unmistakable.  I am ready for it!  Apples are back in my local farmer's market.  Figs are still a plenty.








The squirrels are busy in the pine and oak trees.  My yard is littered with chewed pine cones.  And soon they will start to bury acorns all over the yard, including my potted plants! 


Squirrel's Leavings

Fall is a transition from the expansive energy of summer to a more inward quiet time.  According to my acupuncturist and TCM tradition, this season change is the most challenging for the body.   This is a good time not to over do, particularly as we get older.  Been there, done that, so I now approach fall more carefully using the time for nourishing the body.  Happy to be back with Feldenkrais classes.  This movement technique freshens my outlook with new discovery, and gently informs my yoga practice....along with my creative practice.

On another note, I had the good fortune to see the exhibit "Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line", a retrospective of his drawings, at the Getty Center.  Superb!  I love the rawness of the images, half finished, that catch the figure he was observing.  Great opportunity to view so many wonderful drawings in one place, most that were new to me.  He drew models everyday, and was a master draftsman, allowing those images to inspire his paintings.  Watch this video about the exhibit.

My own work continues...new piece almost completed which I will soon show you.  I have been working on flags for the Prayer Flag Project, too.  Follow this link to learn more.

Energy - for the Prayer Flag Project

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Solitude


As you may know by now, I am encouraged to discover other alternative choices rather than always swimming in this frenetic pace of our modern life.  I love the paths that rely on the quieter view to seek balance.  My online friend and fellow artist, Margaret Blank, blends her creative path within her spiritual practice.  As part of the tradition she follows, September is a month of seeking moments of silence and solitude on a daily basis, and then sharing through photography and/or poetry.  Does this intrigue you?  Read Margaret's post to learn more.


For the Artist at the Start of the Day
May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,
A Morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.
-John O'Donohue
From  "To Bless the Space Between Us"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sand Mandala

This last week the monks of Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery created a Sand Mandala within the Pacific Asia Museum galleries in Pasadena.  They began with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, worked on the mandala through the week, and dismantled it with the Dissolution Ceremony on Sunday afternoon.  I was fortunate to see the working process once again (though missed the ceremonies this time), and in such an intimate setting offered at this museum.  It is truly amazing to see the details being added with the colored sand. The sand is filtered out through a funnel shaped tool called the "Chakpur" that you can see in the photo below.  I love watching the creation process.

According to the informational hand outs "Sand painting is one of the oldest artistic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.  Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning 'cosmogram' or 'world in harmony'.  In Vajrayana Buddhism, it is said that whenever a Sand Mandala is created, all beings and the surrounding environment are blessed."  The purpose of this particular mandala construction is to encourage everyone to generate a compassionate heart for the benefit of all.  Very appropriate for this day.

Monk working on the Mandala 9-8-2012  Photo by Cloud Backus
Thank you to the monks for sharing this tradition with us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Connectivity




Her Circle Magazine has published a wonderfully written article by Rachel Biel about founding the Textile and Fiber Art (TAFA) list and the organization's subsequent growth.  Terrific reading that demonstrates what connection, focus, and energy can create in the world.  As Rachel writes, "Two years ago we had nothing—now we have something."


Visit the TAFA site to discover more about this fine group of international artists and textile businesses.



Rachel gives her time and energy generously to support TAFA and its members.  As a TAFA member I know, I have experienced her assistance personally.  Thank you for all you do, Rachel!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Shifting Perspective



"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist...destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful."
-Thomas Merton






This quote came to my attention recently through friends' posts.  Since then it has been working its magic on my mind and in my reflections.  With this shift in season from the expansive summer to transitional fall, I aspire to keep my focus on what is important, and lessen the distractions which suck my attention away and spread it thin.  Oh to lessen the busyness!  Let there time for silence and reflection as well as time for quality action and interaction.  Let there be kindness for myself and others.


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