I meditate every day and find a lot of wisdom in Buddhist teachings. When I had my hip replaced last fall, there was a lot of time on my hands. Embroidering looked like a good idea for sitting around, so I tried a few things and liked it. I wanted to have a theme and book to assemble with the stitching I did, therefore, this is a book of drawings based on the paintings by Shubun, a Chinese artist of the 15th century. The cover of this experiment into fiber books is one of my drawings, but the interior pages are all mostly copied from the Chinese paintings. The Zen tradition has often taught that there are ten steps to enlightenment.
Front and back covers spread out.
Inside the book, the first step is trying to discipline the Ox, which is a metaphor for one's mind. The meditator chases the ox around and around.
Step two: The meditator finally gets a rope on the ox, and thinks that beating it will tame it. [Have you ever beaten yourself up for some perceived transgression?] As the path continues to be accomplished, the ox becomes empty of color--or -- the mind loses it's delusions and begins to understand reality.
These last two pages are the moon on the left, with a note inside about materials used, and a barn on the right with an encrusted ox that goes inside it.
Caregiving is a mixed bag. Mostly one hears about the self-sacrificing, magnanimous, ungrudging, and saintly characteristics of the caregiver. Not always so. I'm here to tell you that in addition to the above, we caregivers have our bitchy and dark humor characteristics and we talk about it to each other. Just saying. Mixed bag.
I'm experimenting with embroidery techniques combined with whatever I can think of to use to get the thing across. The above is "Hard Day With the Sick One." The outline is embroidered with color pencil shading. A black paper border is sewn to the linen canvas.
The piece above is an embroidered outline of one of my morning drawings. "A man with the moon." 5 in x 8 in. The yellow paper border is sewn around the cotton canvas.
On Tuesday of this week, my friend Kaffie and I went to the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech. http://paper.gatech.edu. The history of paper was fascinating and there were many historical paper-making machines to be seen. But the exhibit, "Formation," was breathtaking. Will be up through March 1. Kaffie took all these photos--way better than the ones I tried to take!!
My aim is to combine embroidery with weaving small tapestries with spun paper, along with book design and construction. I think empty-headed Little Miss Muffet is an attempt along the way. The background board is dyed 140 lb Arches, the tapestry is linen warp and dyed paper yarn, and the dots are French knots using embroidery floss. Maybe I can work into making such a thing into a page in a book.
First, I dyed some 140 lb paper in a random splashy manner. Then cut a 2 3/4 X 4 inch rectangle in the blue paper and warped the rectangle with orange linen. I'd never tried to weave in the wedge weave technique, and since it looked simple enough to do, (spoiler alert: it's not simple), I chose some colors and began to weave. This is my first attempt at weaving with all this yarn I've spun. I find that the thinner yarn weaves more easily and looks better for this technique than the coarser spin.
I've been dying, then spinning paper into yarn, which is a lot of fun plus comforting somehow. Listening to radio, music, and especially recorded books while I do it. I've now got an array of colors. At first I thought a thicker yarn would weave better on the widely placed warp, but thick is clumsy and doesn't bend easily.
For years I've wanted to know how to spin paper into yarn. Thanks to Sandy Webster, I can now do that thing. She showed me a simple way to spin and referenced me to Susan Byrd (link to a Youtube video of paper spinning) for further information and instructions. A good source for Thai Kozo paper is at the Dick Blick online site, for I discovered that any old so-called mulberry paper won't necessarily spin well. Below are a few trial spins. I colored the white kozo paper with some fabric dyes I have on hand. The samples are resting on a surface type cinder block (only about 1 1/2 inches thick) which is supreme for getting a tight spin. Susan Byrd has the whole dang big block in her demonstration. Just saying.
Here's another tapestry from my self-made book, The Moons of 2015. This one is for January 4, 2015. In my enthusiasm for the diary-like idea, I made two drawings for this full moon. At this time, I'm still completely unaware that my husband and I will be moving to a continuing care retirement community.
There's more information about that moons book at the 11/15/2018 post--(see way below).
Since no one wants my knitting efforts, I need some other hand work to do while waiting in all those medical places I am frequently prone to be in. I've taken up embroidery and it is satisfying. Combining embroidery with constructing books produced this book, "Taming The Ox," which is an adaptation of the ten steps to enlightenment probably painted by a 16th century Chinese Buddhist monk along with his commentary which I downloaded from the internet. Surely copyrights don't last as long as 300 years.
Anyway, my objective was to have images ready to embroider so I could practice stitches. Which I did. After embroidering all those ten paintings, I felt like there needed to be some color painted on them since the embroidery looked scanty. After all that huge amount of time spent, these 10 steps wanted to be in a book. See below.
Pat enjoys designing and weaving tapestries, designing and constructing books, knitting, cooking, and fooling around in Atlanta, GA. Member of the American Tapestry Alliance, Tapestry Weavers South, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Southeastern Fiber Arts Alliance and Atlanta Shambhala Meditation Center.