Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today I began weaving into the walnut inside the green outer hull. I'm happy with the results, so far.

I'm over the 1/2 way point now and should be able to roll the tapestry down several inches tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I dedicated most of the studio time today on the black walnut tapestry. The walnut itself, with the chartreuse green outer husk of a freshly fallen nut, is coming up soon--I'm weaving the supporting curve now on the right side. This point is 1/2 way. As I looked at the maquette today I'm thinking I may still make changes in the trunk near the top...will have to decide within about 10" if I should do that.

On the walk back home I noticed a white something at the base of the old maple tree in the front yard. When I checked it out I found a hawk feather. As I picked it up, I also saw a blue jay feather nearby. Then there were two or three more small, fluffy tufts of hawk feather. Obviously, there'd been a confrontation near the tree! Since the hawk seemed to lose more feathers I wonder if the blue jay was the winner.

As I looked around the tree trunk for more feathers I realized that the "bone yard" that's there (an owl uses a limb of a tree for perching, eating and digesting) was incredible visible. I've picked apart lots of owl pellets near that tree. I guess because it's been so hot and dry over the past two weeks, the grass has died back somewhat, the earth is crumbly and so more of the tiny rodent bones have been exposed.

I've collected numerous bones from the owl pellets over the past year, intending to draw from them. I haven't yet begun it but with this wealth exposed I should begin!

Why would I draw from these bones? I'm not quite sure but they are definitely compelling.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I read the following this morning in a book by Paulo Coelho:

"After a great deal of practice, we no longer think about all the necessary movements we must make; they become part of our existence. Before reaching that stage, however, you must practice and repeat. And if that's not enough, you must practice and repeat some more.

"Look at a skilled blacksmith working steel. To the untrained eye, he's merely repeating the same hammer blows, but anyone trained in the art of calligraphy knows that each time the blacksmith lifts the hammer and brings it down, the intensity of the blow is different. The hand repeats the same gesture, but as it approaches the metal, it understands that it must touch it with more or less force. It's the same thing with repetition: it may seem the same, but it's always different. The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you're doing. You become the letter, the ink, the paper, the word."

from The Witch of Portobello

I think the same thing applies to weaving tapestry, or at least it does for me. "The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you're doing." Although those moments are still far between there are some times that I become aware that I've been weaving along for quite awhile without having to make conscious decisions about what to do next, with technique.

In a eulogy for my dear friend and mentor, Bob Owens (a potter), I described his hands as being "grace-filled; graceful" and I think that I was not only talking about Bob but about all who work with their hands in careful, educated, skillful, thoughtful ways.

Friday, August 10, 2007

IT'S TOO DARN HOT here in Dahlonega (around 100˚) so I thought I'd get some relief by posting pictures of our one significant snowfall of the past winter. I wasn't sure when it happened but looked back in my calendar and found I'd noted it on the 1st of February. It was about 3 or 4" here in town but deeper around the county and throughout north Georgia. The top photo is the east end of the town square and the bottom, my current studio at Stanton Storehouse (circa 1884). I have the bottom floor as studio.

I hope to be weaving on black walnut again today, with cool thoughts in mind!