Sunday, September 30, 2012

On the Island

Sitting at my desk in the study in Anadaré, gazing at the ever changing view of the bays (this morning there is misty, low fog that softens the fields and trees and even the air around them), I am still in awe that I am really here.  The trip on the ferry was uneventful, a beautiful ride as always, and we quickly unloaded the truck. (Notice the “we”??  Okay, so I played manager and directed where things went.)  For ease in moving the furniture and conserving costs of a larger truck and even larger ferry costs, I had it all delivered unassembled.  My husband and bonus son had their work cut out for them – assembling the two beds alone until 1 a.m.!  (To their credit, they are both very adept at assembling… they just accused me of choosing the beds by the number of pieces they required.)  But we had gorgeous and comfortable pedestal beds to sleep in that night.

The next day my husband took the truck back to the nearest dealer, a feat requiring negotiating 5 hours of travel and ferry time.  Son and I continued with assembling furniture, but took a break to go to the beach, and found the perfect piece of driftwood to hold our house sign and number.  Just two hold-ups so far – the repairs to the kitchen counter (which will be complete on Monday, so couldn’t unpack the kitchen or cook all weekend) and the stupid, malfunctioning modem that the phone guy will also fix on Monday, so I will have internet service at the house.

But how can I complain when I’ve seen otters playing at my beach, heard an eagle, saw wild turkey, dragonflies (they still enthrall me) and of course the deer, and have these sunsets to inspire?  Oh yes, and the ever growing pile of driftwood I’m collecting….

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nine Star Base Basket

 The truck is packed to the gills, my car is completely full, and there is just room for me and Bailey (my psycho kitty) to squeeze in for the drive this morning to the ferry.  With my husband driving the rental truck, and one of my bonus sons driving up to help us unload and put the furniture and cabinets together, the adventure begins in earnest.  I'll let us all know tomorrow how the actual move went...assuming the computer hooks up easily once we unpack the docking station and we get the internet working!
So instead of fretting about the move, I wanted to share a new basket I'm working on.
The other morning I woke up with the design in my head for an open-weave, flower-like base for a basket. At the time I thought that five petals might work. As is often the case, what appears in my mind doesn't always translate smoothly into reality when I start weaving. The number nine is important in the Bahai Faith, so needless to say I was delighted when the five petals convinced me they should become nine! (And yes, I do realize that this basket won't be appropriate for holding any small items.  Some baskets come into being to just look pretty.)
"First, regarding the significance of the number nine; its importance as a symbol used so often in various connections by the believers lies in three facts: first, it symbolizes the nine great world religions of which we have any definite historical knowledge, including the Bábí and Bahá'í Revelations; second, it represents the number of perfection, being the highest single number; third, it is the numerical value of the word 'Baha'"
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 414)
Since I am forever experimenting with bound weaves and lattice twining techniques, I am trying two new techniques on the sides that are done with only one lasher: a spiral-bound lattice and the braid is an interlacing bound lattice.  Both a bit more difficult with only one lasher, but worth it, I think.


Once we have the truck unloaded and a semblance of order at Anadaré, I'm hoping to get the basket  finished this weekend.  And I can hardly wait to get my hands on some driftwood.....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Details and Potholders

While running errands with my youngest grandson yesterday, I glanced down and discovered this precious surprise at the side of my driveway.  Even with all the lists (yes, still!  won't we all be glad when THOSE are done and I can write about something else), and remodeling woes and trying to get much accomplished in just two more days, it's nice to know that I can still be "in the moment".  It speaks to me of determination, persistence, and a reminder to open my eyes to what is around me every day.  Life truly is in the details, and I don't want to miss them.

And I really must be nesting a bit..... here are two new potholders I just crocheted for Anadaré. I know, I know, I have a lot of packing yet to do.  And this sounds a bit random. But I'll go crazy if I don't stop and create at times!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dragonfly Symbolism

On our last visit to Anadaré to paint and work, I noticed quite a few dragonflies flitting about.  Intriguing, since there are none where we live in Renton. On a quirk, I looked up dragonflies and their meaning.  Oh my!  The following is a testament to having chosen exactly the right spot for my studio/nest!  I'm sharing this inspiration today, because I had to go back and read it myself this morning to stay centered, after receiving the news that there is water damage under the counter in the kitchen, so the entire counter and part of the cabinet need to be replaced.  Sigh. Breathe.  Anything worth having may not come easily!

Symbolisms of the Dragonfly
Maturity and a Depth of character
The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

The traditional association of Dragonflies with water also gives rise to this meaning to this amazing insect. The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life.

Power and Poise
The dragonfly’s agile flight and its ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise - something that comes only with age and maturity.
The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour, hover like a helicopter fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up, down and on either side. What is mind blowing is the fact that it can do this while flapping its wings a mere 30 times a minute while mosquitoes and houseflies need to flap their wings 600 and 1000 times a minute respectively.

The awe inspiring aspect is how the dragonfly accomplishes its objectives with utmost simplicity, effectiveness and well, if you look at proportions, with 20 times as much power in each of its wing strokes when compared to the other insects. The best part is that the dragonfly does it with elegance and grace that can be compared to a veteran ballet dancer. If this is not a brazen, lazy, overkill in terms of display of raw power, what is?

Defeat of Self Created Illusions
The dragonfly exhibits iridescence both on its wings as well as on its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colors depending on the angle and polarization of light falling on it.

This property is seen and believed as the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions.

Focus on living ‘IN’ the moment
The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis.

This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly.

The opening of one’s eyes
The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. It also in a manner of speaking symbolizes a man/woman’s rising from materialism to be able to see beyond the mundane into the vastness that is really our Universe, and our own minds.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trying to Enjoy the Process

Now comes the tedious part - packing, lists, worrying it will all fit into the truck (which it will, if I would only believe my husband, the master packer), and last minute shopping.  I want to BE there, not sorting and packing.  Back to the one step at a time thing.  One and a half bays of the garage are devoted to Anadaré furniture, supplies, dishes, new screens, computer hook-ups, Nordic track, new refrigerator - and the list goes on and on.  (My daughter - it is no surprise where you got your list making gene.)  My little car will be so happy to have her space in the garage back after a month in the driveway.

But also packing some tools and weaving materials - and of course, baskets!  The electric drill is a must, for driftwood handled baskets and wall pieces, as well as a driftwood coat hook bar that I just decided to make.  Oh darn - I'll have to go the the beach first thing and look for driftwood!


My lesson for today (and the rest of the week): it's a process, so try to enjoy each step.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Just enjoyed seeing 'Memphis' (the musical) in Seattle with my dear husband. So what in the world does that have to do with being an artist on Lopez?  Simply the realization that living so close to Seattle has its benefits, and a reminder to appreciate each place for what it has to offer.  I think I take the abundance of the arts in Seattle for granted, most of the time.  They are simply always there.  Living part time on the island may sharpen my awareness of the richness and variety that are available on the mainland.

Lopez has a thriving artist community and will have its own blend of inspiration and offerings.  I hope to embrace it all, as much as my part-time living and working there will permit.  (I do need to get some work done.)  So there are certainly no regrets for working on Lopez; a reminder, perhaps, for an attentiveness and wakefulness.  Mindful living?

The challenge will be BALANCE - my word for this year.  While I am organized and it certainly appears that I balance things well, internally may be another story.  (Obviously -  why else am I yearning for tranquility??  And then there are the shingles outbreaks!)  Prayer, basketry, beads, sketching, writing, and do I dare add music?  There is much to balance. Life is a smorgasbord*.....and a blessing.

* per Auntie Mame

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blog #1 - How to Begin?

How does one start the first blog of their life?  By simply beginning, I'm finding.  Rather like my new adventure of creating an artist's haven/nest/refuge on Lopez Island - named Anadaré ("I will nest"). To make dreams come true, as in any venture, it means putting one foot in front of the other.  And it all began with a single step - the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and the "safe" path.  To act on a wish, a dream, and give myself permission to believe.  Perhaps I'm crazy, but if so, craziness definitely brings a smile to my face.  And it absolutely helps to have such an understanding husband!

All my life, I've yearned to be back by the salt water - preferably a protected bay or on the Sound, not the ocean.  And as long as I was dreaming, why not add in white wicker furniture (and I have no idea why that is so important to me), a view, and tranquility.  So yes - I found the perfect little place on Lopez Island.  And I'm in love with it!  (We'll probably review that thought later on when something leaks or breaks down or I'm stuck because the ferry isn't running....)  The minute that I step foot onto the island, though, I feel peaceful.  It is home.

View from our "private" beach.
Most of the major renovations (such as they are) should be complete this week, and this weekend we'll move in some furniture.  For these past few weeks, daily I find myself planning, yearning to be there, making lists of what to pack, and thinking about what I want to do there.  At times it feels like I have two lives -one on the island, and the other here "in America", as the Lopezians call it.  Unraveling some of my commitments here is an on-going challenge, but it is time.  This certainly has helped me clarify my priorities, and recognize my "shoulds".

And so we begin!  For this year I want to document the joys, the challenges, the art, the inspirations, the people - in truth life as an artist on the island.  And I'll try to learn from my daughter, that blogging also takes a bit of discipline!