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 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


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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer Fades

Were you able to catch a glimpse of  the blue moon the other day?  According to Wikipedia  "A blue moon is the appearance of the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, instead of the usual three. It is never visually blue. Because a blue moon occurs only every two or three years, the term blue moon is used colloquially to mean a rare event, as in the phrase 'once in a blue moon'."  With that, a fitting close to summer.

Of late I have been MIA from doing artwork due to much needed house projects, like repainting the bathroom.  What used to be short projects now take much longer, but oh so satisfying at the end to have a fresh new room!  I am always amazed at what a coat of paint can do.

One fiber project I have completed is this "Entrelac Scarf" that will be a birthday gift for my Mom.  I love the woven look.  This free downloadable pattern from Freckles & Purls was fun and looks fantastic.  You can find on Ravelry, too.  Noro Silk Garden yarn was suggested, but I preferred Mochi Plus by Crystal Palace Yarns for color and softness.  Try this scarf for yourself...not as difficult as it might look. Here is great video tutorial by VeryPinkKnits.


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