Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist. My current emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with me on Facebook at Drye Goods Studio.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Zen and Cats

 "I have lived with several Zen masters-all of them cats."

Eckhart Tolle

I have been rereading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart, an advisable book in the middle of a pandemic that seems never ending. It is tempting to keep thinking that things "will get better when fill in the blank". I keep doing that to myself over and over. Not long after the year began I was reading an article on the Black Plague in Europe. It started in 1346 and faded out by 1351, or about 5 years give or take depending on who you ask. This may seem somewhat depressing, as it did to a friend who said something to the effect of-"But that was before modern medicine and electricity!!" But, really, I found it to be helpful. Especially with all the talk about lack of enough vaccine doses (for the first time in a very long time I am "too young" for something) and now teenage mutant ninja virus variants and all the rest. This isn't going away anytime soon, so it seems to me that it is better to have that expectation than to be constantly disappointed that things don't go "as planned".  There are just some things that are out of our control, and the pandemic has pointed that out in spades.

I especially started to put this altogether when I read the chapter in Ms. Chodron's book called "Nonaggression and the Four Maras". As to what is a Mara, the story goes that on the night when Buddha was to attain enlightenment, he sat under a tree. While there he was attacked by the forces of Mara (basically demons) but when they shot swords and arrows at him, their weapons turned into flowers. The Four Maras are described as Devaputra mara, seeking pleasure or partaking in activities that kill pain in a detrimental way, such as addictive or compulsive behaviors for instance; Skandha mara is our reaction to having the rug pulled out from under us; Klesha mara is reacting emotionally to a situation in a way that makes whatever bad thing happen even worse; and Yama mara is basically thinking that if you just do enough, you will be in control of your life, and when totally uncontrollable things do come along, like the death of a loved one or plans change due to a pandemic, you basically bring the other maras crashing down on your head. Read her book, she says it a lot better than I can.

So, while I was pondering all this I decided to work on some small collage pieces to be placed into Pottery Place Plus. I have some small stretched canvases (9" x 12") that were calling to me. I started with enough eco printed fabric to "slip cover" the stretched canvas, and let it go from there. There was a lot of digging around in the studio, not to find anything specific, but to see what looked like it wanted to be together. So these were a meditation of sorts.

I am also trying to take a page from this little sentient being. When I feed her in the morning I sometimes ask her what her plan for the day is. She tends to blink slowly at me as if to ask "Plan? Who needs a plan?" If the weather is good it might be a day to go have a walk about in the yard, if the weather is bad it is a day for sleeping on the bathroom rug in front of the heat register. This day she saw that I was changing the sheets, one of her favorite activities! Never miss an opportunity to chase the sheets around! 

I guess the takeaway here is that I am not sure when we will have art fairs again so focusing on my online stores is the way to go. I do have work in several galleries, which are hanging in there, so I have to keep them stocked. Soon it will be time to order silk to have things ready to go when the fairs start back up again, albeit fall or beyond. One day at a time.

Speaking of, you can see my eco printing HERE and my handmade supplies HERE. My work is showing at Pottery Place Plus in Spokane and Essential Art in Moscow Idaho and hopefully this summer at Entree Gallery in Nordman Idaho. 

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