This is a very large bag!  I designed it specifically for going to the Farmer’s Market, but have been using it to carry things to my classroom as well.  It is made from burlap in tangerine and kiwi, and features hand-stitched wool felt design on the exterior (I adore those 70′s graphics).  I actually made it in honor of the 40th Earth Day, because I was remembering the field trip I took with my class for the very first Earth Day celebration.  We spent the day at a nature preserve, and I remember it being very lovely.  Farmer’s Market totes will be available for purchase shortly.

The Root of all that Is

April 10, 2010

About 5 years ago I found a huge volume in the library on medieval persian paintings.  I was so fascinated and struck by the beauty with which the natural world was portrayed, the amazing overgrown gardens, fountains, landscapes.  I also loved the integration of the man-made into the scenes: intricate tile patterns, embellished instruments and furniture, architecture.  I spent several months doing studies of my favorite aspects of these paintings in my sketchbooks, and set out to do a rather large painting using these works as an inspiration.

After working for a few weeks on the underpainting which was just the springboard for the more personal, integrated vision I was discovering as I worked, I woke up one morning with tremendous pain in my hand.  Off I went to the doctor, and to this day have been unable to finish that painting ( no more big brushes for me, hence the fiber work and small drawings).  So that painting still exists in its unfinished, gestational state.  I pulled it out recently ( I couldnt look at it for so long, because it cried out to me to be transformed into its next state of being,  and I would just look at it with frustration).  I hung the painting up on the wall.  Underpainting, drips, incomplete vision and all.  I think I will move the image to its next place, but on a different work, maybe a textile piece.  I am certain that the finished painting would have looked completely different than the work as it hangs now.  But, in the end, how often do we leave traces of our process, as we battle with our vision and ideas as the image evolves out of our struggle?

 The Root of all that Is, Detail

 The Root of all that Is, detail

  The Root of all that Is, unfinished work, 2005

 A couple of years ago I was asked to participate in a group show, the theme of which was Love.  At the time, I was reading the poety of Hafiz, and decided to do some drawings in contemplation of his expression of divine love and his yearning for the Beloved.  What emerged in my work had to do with light, essential nature, and the soul soaring on divine wind.

I worked on hand-pressed paper with Senelier oil pastels, so happy to find that I could build up surface like I could with paint.

Only that Illumined One
Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form
Had the charm to win my heart.
Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word Two
Can make you know of love. – Hafiz

spring in process

April 2, 2010

More contemplative work.  The “Spring” tapestry is progressing as spring awakens here in the desert.

Meditation

April 2, 2010

Meditation III

More from the sketchbook.  I am using drawing as a form of mindfulness meditation, responding to breath and sound in the environment.  I begin with no direction, letting the hand guide the work, with no prompting from the mind.  This work could be the springboard for a more finished work in drawing or fiber later on.

Notes to Self

March 19, 2010

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Pages from my sketchbooks.  I draw during meetings at work, in waiting rooms, on airplanes, in parks waiting for soccer to be over.  I also draw when I can’t sleep, or am ill or ill-at-ease.  I know this is what settles and balances me.

 

At these times, I am able to draw with an uncritical mind.  Drawing becomes a process of reflection and mindfulness.  I am taking notes on something, but not aware at that time what that might be. Activity and talk and noise is usually all around me, but somehow through this process, the mind is free.

 

The material can later become a springboard for other works on paper, or in fibers, jewelry, whatever they are meant to grow into.

prototype

March 11, 2010

I am always looking for a bag that really carries the things I need.  I become very frustrated when I have to dig through my bag for something.  I thought about this for a very long time, wondering why even very expensive bags are poorly designed for comfort, organization, and looks.  So, even though this canvas tote looks like it would just carry everything in a big jumble, the interior is actually designed with practicality and accessibility in mind.  So, here’s the run down:

Exterior is heavy canvas, with suede bottom (harvested from used leather/suede clothing).  Basting stitches in carpet thread remain to honor the process of constructing the piece. One side features a large, flat pocket perfect for magazines, files, papers, etc.  Leather loop on wide shoulder strap is for hanging your keys on (no more digging thorugh the bag for the keys!!!!)

Interior is indigo-dyed cotton from Mali (made by friends of mine).  There is a concealed zipper pocket along one side, nestled between the lining and the exterior of the bag, to hold wallets, checkbook, etc. in an easy to reach and safe way.  On the opposite side is an easy to reach pocket for cell phone and pen.  The interior also features 2 stretch pouches made from recycled tshirts to hold water bottles/ large travel mugs in place. The rest of the tote is free for sweaters, sketchbooks, lunch (I am working on a canvas lunch bag) etc etc.  I have been carrying my laptop in this tote very comfortably, using one of the stretch pouches for the power plug (although just yesterday I completed a design for a canvas and silk laptop tote, stay tuned).

All designs have an emphasis on style, usability, and sustainable materials.  I am having so much fun sketching and making patterns.

One more thing:  I am very interested in the extreme simplicity of the canvas as an exterior, while creating a world of deep color, surprise, and elegance in the interior.  Makes me think of living a very simple outward life, while cultivating the vast richness of the soul.

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