It’s been a rough week, month, year! So many ups and downs. I been telling myself I would write a blogpost almost every single day these past two weeks but…well I just couldn’t didn’t. I read your blogs, FB pages, twitter and a few books, and took lots of stitches. First off, my dear friendlies, one of my favorite FB friends/writers/ NYC poet of life, Michelle Slater passed away. I never met her in person but here, through the blog when she began commenting many years ago. I think she came here via Spiritcloth as many of you have for so long (and even for some, more recently). We had so many wonderful exchanges over the years, through social media as well as the mail. She lived alone in a rent controlled apartment in Manhattan and gave us the gift of so many views of the city she had lived in for over 60 years. She also wrote a blog (actually several) filled with observations of life, photos, and poetry. Just reading the sidebar of her blog could change your life and worldview. She commented on my blog many times over more than a decade and I will treasure each comment once more whenever I come back to one. In the years prior to our friendliness on FB, she gave me glimpses into her world as they related to mine in her comments but it was only 4 years ago she left me the following comment that told me even more about herself than i had known:
She was found in her apartment, apparently in her usual chair, when friends noticed she hadn’t posted for several days and wasn’t answering the phone. In my mind I imagine her setting up a new post with a fabulous link or video or simply typing “Goodnight dear friendlies” with a photo view out her apartment window as she did so often. So here’s to you Michelle… Goodnight with gratitude my friend! Link to the last video she posted…here. And my original post (2016) where Michelle left the above comment.
other parts (2 and maybe 3 to follow). comment link is at the top of post.
I am seeking to set a mood in my life this coming year. The mood is peaceful, healthy, green (my favorite color!), with blurred edges mostly (but with some straight lines and hard edges for structure). I will fight when necessary, keeping the path in focus through all times.
If I seek to change something in or about the world around me…I will think of this quote:
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” –Paul Coelho
Additionally, I will remind myself that to recognize life’s beauty is a gift, to share it a treasure. I will seek treasure.
Wonder up- not down.
It’s been a belief of mine that we need more wonder in the world. We need it now more than ever. Apparently, Socrates said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” I looked it up and it has been argued that this was actually said by Aristotle, or even Plato as he was interpreting Socrates’ ideas on the matter. Another interpretation yields this- “Wisdom begins in wonder“. No matter who said it, when or where , it is a timeless thought, don’t you think? The Greek word “filosofia” means “lover of wisdom” as in philosophy.
So, I will continue to seek wisdom through wonder. To ask the question- “what if?”
Turning the page now…see you on the other side.
Love, enjoy, wonder-
and especially for Judy. faith, family, and persistence are her constant companions-plus a needle, thread, and some cloth.
it rained!! and one of my favorite things is to walk around the garden the morning after. here is only some of what i saw…
i had hopes…the drought apricots are falling …
the garden maiden is probably a matron by now- she had been surveying the garden for quite some time. a long-ago gift…
the dwarf holiday avocado seems like it might rebound!
i spied her on the underside of the blue agave. it always pays to look at things from different angles!
evidence! possum? raccoon? squirrel? rat?
picking more today- and spreading the wealth around the neighborhood…
a beauty down under-the matchstick plant bloom was hiding under the ever expanding brugmansia
never to be tamed-the brugmansia marches on scenting the garden
hello old friend!
the milkweed aphids are being farmed by a expanding family of ladybugs. they were shy to the camera.
but got one resting in the crevices-burp!
and the cake is gone! was delicious and enjoyed by all!
also gone as well are the natural dyed fabrics i loaded into the shop yesterday- many thanks! the last payment on my little health interruption last Dec. will be paid off! took the whole year but DONE!! where would i be without you?
the shop will stay open for ribbon buyers only through Wednesday.
It’s a good thing I don’t share all the letters I receive as some just make me want to throw something and others make me want to shed a tear. Some are so uplifting, yet too personal or bittersweet at times to publish on the blog. This week so far I have received one of each. Just for balance.
Remember Balance? Balance has been a theme here over time on the blog and in reality, everyday.
Which brings me to an email I received this morning.
I ran across a piece of art that I thought was public domain but have traced it back to you. I work for Hanes, and was thinking about using the art “Indigo wall panel” in a panty print but doing it in different colors, modified digitally so that it can be rotary screen printed. Would you grant me permission to use? If not, I will do something different and try to create the look of the technique digitally and that’s perfectly fine. Have a great day.
Thank you either way,
So, basically he is saying that they want permission to use the image of my shibori work as a shortcut to a graphic design to screen print onto underwear. And if I don’t grant permission, they will “create the look of the technique digitally” and carry on. In my mind, I hear- “we will alter your image enough (digitally) so as to be able to call it our own or derived and skip your permission altogether. Have a great day!
So what happened to common courtesy? How about “I came across your work (while searching for patterns in indigo and shibori images online that we could glean for free use of artwork for our commercial product line) and would love to use your image and compensate you modestly (say $500) for it’s use.
I don’t know. I really don’t know anymore. Why? When a company that has reported net sales of $5.7 billion in their most recent report has their design staff searching the internet and basically bullying artists(my opinion) into granting permission for use of their works I just don’t know anymore.
So what say you, fair readers?
Should we say yes and allow them to use this artwork knowing that every time we see this pattern on Hanes panties (and we will see them) we will be reminded of the corporately owned world we must now operate within? It might be a good thing to remind ourselves of this on a regular basis. It is in all our lives daily in even the smallest of things.
Or should we say no, allowing them to feel like they did the right thing by asking and either remake my design in their own image (costing them a bit more) or even just to continue searching online for some other image they can use without actually having to do more than work the keyboard.
Indigo Blues was published in 2012. Like many images of my work, I find them regularly online without attribution. This is a detail shot of the full piece that was sold through my online shop quite some time ago. The full image here.
On the other side of Balance, I received an order for moons the other day with an immediate email follow-up note from a fellow undergoing a very serious health challenge. Having been hospitalized for many recent months he tells me the following:
I have decorated each room I’ve spent time in– sometimes 4 to 6 weeks at a stretch — with fukuro obi hangings and other silk kimono fabrics, which have always brought pleasure to me and to visitors. A calming healing environment visitors would exclaim! I will continue this “tradition” of Japanese design in the rooms when I re-enter for hospital for the transplant, a “cure”, in early September. I plan to add your beautiful moons to the room. Many thanks.
and I reply(in part)…
It will be a privilege to make some moons for you. Thank you for your order.
I can imagine your room…your creating it with a certain peaceful attitude that promotes calmness, enjoyment, and healing qualities for both you and your visitors.
I will be thinking of this as I dye your fabrics. My favorite thing to do is to create intentional fabrics that I can infuse with thoughts and intentions for their recipients as I make them. Thank you. Be well, take care…
Just a little follow-up to the day at the elementary school. I love these letters.
I received 33 letters from the kids at Menlo Elementary. I love each one. I will share a few- just know they were all special and heartfelt. Each one included an illustration. Mine were from one of the 3rd grade classes. I love how they saw me. I would include more but this would be a
V E R Y long post.
he was also a husband, a son, & a brother. it was not unexpected but in the moment of loss, seems sudden and harsh. we neighbors and friends do the small things so they can do the larger things and begin to heal this wound. we can offer few words really, but we can be good listeners.
it is in this spirit of healing, of listening, and being of service that we continue on ourselves in our daily lives where everything seems so much smaller and unimportant… but simply continuing remains important.
i took this photograph last week while at the beach- it has special meaning to me and now i post it here for them…
for now, we’ll be here, listening and story-sharing.
another act of incredible violence has occurred in the city adjoining ours. many lost their lives and many others directly affected not to mention the town as a whole. how will they ever recover from this? please send love.
last night as i walked the dog late with the full moon high in the sky i wondered…and today still wondering after i also heard that this tragedy was the worst mass killing in the history of Orange County-second only to one that occurred in July of 1976 in Fullerton where a gunman walked into the CSUF campus library, shot 9 people killing 7 of them.
i lived and worked in Fullerton that year- i was 18 and waiting to head off to UCD at the end of the summer, taking classes at FCC and working at a porcelain studio with several ceramics majors from CSUF. it was a day where sorrow hung heavy in the air. we all breathed of it. like today in Seal Beach and into Long Beach, Huntington Beach and further i imagine. i had almost forgotten that day until today when that feeling overwhelmed me and triggered that memory.
wondering, i googled July 1976 and looked at the full moon calendar for that month- July 11, 1976 2:08pm. the CSUF library shooting occurred on July 12, 1976. both events clearly occurring within the 24 hour period of the full moon.
it now seems to be no mere coincidence that i grew up as the child of a mentally ill mother. fortunately, the time and place (early 60’s in WA) was right and the family recognized the need to have her institutionalized for the benefit of us all. fortunately for my mom it was the safest place she could be over the following decade as the paranoid schizophrenia took its toll on her and robbed her of the life both she and my grandparents had envisioned for her- and of the relationship she herself had envisioned with her two young daughters, potential grandchildren and more.
i bring this up for a couple of reasons. of course being mothers day, we honor our mothers in whatever size, shape, color or mental state they come. and although this day in the US continues to be one of the most commercially successful holidays where small and large tokens of appreciation are exchanged, no gift can quite compare with the gift of a mothers love over time, space and distance- even when the distances it must bridge are those tangled in the confusion and chaos of mental illness.
love endures, it really does.
in hundreds and hundreds (possibly 1000’s) of often confusing letters over the decades, she writes into the void expressing her thoughts and concerns (there are many!), keeping me posted on the day to day happenings in her life as she sees them- always ending each one with “Your Own loving Mother” then signs her full name including middle initial. as if each one is an official document.
she will be 80 next year and spends her mornings 5 days a week as she has done over the past 15 or so years as an assistant in a kindergarten classroom in No. CA helping children learn to read and write. we are very fortunate that she has lived a full, if somewhat unusually difficult, life. i am grateful for that. through her loss, i learned to appreciate my own motherhood in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
may is also mental health awareness month- for what it’s worth. there are many kids out there who are not as fortunate as i was. who have to deal with the ups and downs of living with a mentally ill parent and have challenges to meet on a daily basis that are often confusing, hurtful, and even downright scary.
it seems while we have loads of new medications that can be used to treat these illnesses, the support system for administering them to the mentally ill is very lacking. i always feel that we were fortunate in that when my mother was ill, it was the norm to institutionalize them for treatment. now we just write out the scripts and turn them back to the families to deal with- often with terrible outcomes. how many of the homeless are mentally ill? i don’t know what the answer is but i do know that there are plenty of kids out there in need of support and on this mothers day, i am thinking about them too.
( a good read- The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut was a book i stumbled on in high school when one day at the bookstore i could no longer find any Kurt Vonnegut books i hadn’t read. again, no coincidence. the anniversary republished version has a new forward that is worth rereading the book for if you read this many years ago)
happy mother’s day to all the moms out there-a day early, as i will be attending to various “mom events” tomorrow. enjoy-
it was a glorious day in socal yesterday. the sun was out, green has replaced brown in many places thanks to nature’s bountiful recent rains, and we took a drive to one of our favorite socal spots to take in all we have to be thankful for-not the least of which is, each other.
i’m not sure i’m ever happier than when i am near a coastline-maybe it’s the pisces in me-hearing the ocean sounds- or maybe it’s just the ability to let my mind and spirit roam freely across an ocean where everything seems possible.
thought i’d share the love-