Tuesday, November 24, 2015
It's dark out all the time now, we've been through a tough fall, my husband getting used to a new job, all of us mourning the suicide of our daughters boyfriend, Paris on lock-down. White people are outraged. I watch it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
News through the filter of Facebook is contrived, let alone the media itself is so very skewed by revenue. The honest truth is that I feel better when I avoid social media all together. When I can search out information on my own, read an article or two, not just skim the headlines in my feed. I'm doing it, you're doing it. We're selling ourselves short. Facebook makes us shallow and vain.
I think it's preferable to develop ones own opinions based on facts from multiple sources rather than from the biggest group think exercise ever. Somehow the Facebook algorithm only shares news about certain topics and this troubles me. I feel like difficult subjects are less likely to be seen. I posted a Guardian article this morning and didn't get a single like. Had I posted a photo of my daughter as a baby I would have received a lot. Facebook seems to train us to share certain content by rewarding us with likes.
It is better for me to do and keep doing, rather than do, broadcast, and then check-in relentlessly to see who has approved of my doings. It's a sad empty feeling and more and more I find myself staring longingly at my device, wishing for something to happen, instead of making something happen. Constantly comparing yourself to others can be destructive and time consuming.
Overall I am trying to check in less and when I have the urge to look at my phone that is a cue for me to refocus on my work or pick up my knitting or reading. Sometimes I succeed and other days I fail, some days I bargain.
Is it all bad? Personal development done privately in quiet spaces is ideal but one cannot ignore the aspirational qualities of social media, and like it or not it exists in our society. Does this make us falsely more cautious about how we represent ourselves, or do those representations stand up as a higher view of our selves, an ideal to work toward.
I hope for the latter.
I believe strongly in the importance of daily exercise. I walk 3 miles each day, up and down my rural road. I often record observations of those daily walks to use as markers to myself and also to help inspire others in their daily practice of movement. This is one of the positive aspects of a site like Instagram, building connection and community through the use of common hashtags. In this way we connect to others and this is beneficial for creatives I believe.
I live in a place of tremendous natural beauty, I enjoy documenting my surroundings. These photos are a record and also a clue to what I am reacting to in my environment and why. Occasionally I make a good picture and I genuinely want to share it with others whose opinion matters to me.
These days, I use Facebook less and less. I rarely type in a status update any longer for fear of the resulting sidebar ads. It's bad enough that my search histories reflect what appears in my news feed.
Instagram is charming and easy and a picture is worth a thousand words. I find the feed inspiring and my own feed has become a great archive of my daily activities which I find useful for seeing my progress. Plus, I care about posting interesting well composed photos as a part of my #dailypractice. More and more I see social media as a great archive and record of my state of mind and that is actually a useful tool for me. I look back and see difficult moments represented in photos and written clues. When I first used Facebook I suppose I might have been more direct (although restrained, as I was trained to be in public) in my expression of my feelings about things that were happening in my life. Life changes of course and I can see how my relationship to social media as it develops as a norm within our culture is changing as well. The creepy algorithm that directs what Facebook presents to me is troubling but I accept that it exists, so I use it cautiously.
There was a time I thought I could go without social media altogether but I must be honest, there is a tiny voice in me that wants to shout out to the other humans in the universe now and then, you never know what you will get back. The feeling of being connected to others is affirming. We are all going through similar life challenges.
Moderation and self reflection go a long way when faced with how to interact with social media. This experiment whose effects—developing for a decade now—will be felt and discussed for a long time. In my opinion it is an interesting tool but it's not the whole universe. Ok, better get this on Twitter...
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
When we make our own things the activity feeds us, slows us down and puts us in touch with a slower pace. For me, breaking things into tasks helps me move multiple projects along in a manageable way. I tend to sew in drips and drabs, sewing a seam here and there throughout a day. It is a pleasant and simple activity when broken into it's component parts.
When I look at the clothes I wear regularly, most of them are made by me, in fact as I make a mental list, it's impressive how many items I have produced over the years that I still wear. (taking a moment for small pat on back). This gives me impetus to try a little harder and add some new items.
So far this month I have finished the Miette Skirt in brown corduroy but honestly the fabric is way too heavy. I am thinking of deconstructing it and making it smaller, all the way around and then find some better weight fabric for the waste band and ties. Ah the joy of remaking...
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Week 1, October 1-4: YOUFirst let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Sensible working outfit. Needs to be comfortable and durable in case I want to run my chainsaw. Pockets are a must. Large jewelry takes attention away from wear and tear on basic pieces of; pullover top, criss cross linen apron, second hand guess jeans. And boots! Of which there are many pairs to choose. Depending on weather and activity and ground to be covered on any given day. For a person who whines constantly about a lack of access to cute shoes, I sure have a lot of footwear.
Monday, September 7, 2015
She came home Wednesday from her first day of school and talked my ear off for almost an hour about her classes, her friends, her new teachers. It was a welcome change from the usual one word answers spoken with an attitude of contempt.
Parenting has been a challenge for my husband and I lately but we are in the home stretch and we must stick to our principles for her sake. I can see how teenagers end up out of the house. Their parents are exhausted and fed-up and the solution seems to be to kick them out. Show them what it is like to be on their on own. I am not saying we have come anywhere near that point but I can see how it happens. I see us a bunch of birds in a small nest, she is experimenting with new things all the time and we have to be the sounding boards, reflecting back to her what she needs to know but it's not always magical or even comfortable. Occasionally one of us gets a wing in the face, growing pains, space constraints and we feel like we'll fly apart or fall out of the safety of our tree. We haven't fallen yet and ruffled feathers soon settle down and smooth out and there are moments of brilliance woven into all of it.
Here she is in our campsite at Golden Ears Park. This was our 12th year there and I was struck that it might be the last one as next year she'll have graduated and be on to other things, her things. I suggested this to her and she gave me the 5 yr old face, oh mom don't be silly, we'll do this always. A part of her wants to stay this way forever, but we both know it won't.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
In some phases of your life, you have been a wanderer. You've had a fuzzy sense of where you belong. It has been a challenge to know which target you should aim your arrows at. During those times, you may have been forceful but not as productive as you'd like to be; you may have been energetic but a bit too inefficient to accomplish wonders and marvels. From what I can tell, one of those wandering seasons is now coming to a close. In the months ahead, you will have a growing clarity about where your future power spot is located -- and may even find the elusive sanctuary called "home." Here's a good way to prepare for this transition: Spend a few hours telling yourself the story of your origins. Remember all the major events of your life as if you were watching a movie.
from Freewill Astrology.
I am moving forward, always moving, even though my direction is unknown, and my movements at times are imperceptible, I am moving forward.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Monday, June 8, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Just wondering about what easing restrictions on weed means to society. More slacking, more woodwork, more obesity? Only time will tell. I'm not sure what goes on in this "lounge" I spied on Broadway in Vancouver the other day. Pot is still illegal here but the cops maybe look the other way. In Washington pot shops are popping up everywhere but it still feels like an underground society to me. Business conducted behind frosted windows under plentiful surveillance. The distinction between recreational and medicinal use is blurry as you'd imagine.
Click on the gif to make it play.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
I heard Jenn Grant perform this song live on the radio the other day as I was waiting in my car in the border line-up. This song was written after the death of her mother and so it struck a chord with me. I had a good deep cry as I sat there, inching forward in the pouring down rain.
It was 17 years on March 3, since my dear mother died. Amazing how it can be so long ago since I saw her. She is with me always.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I understood that I needed to make a living and I chose graphic design and that is what I have been doing since I set foot on the pavement outside my college. Internally I made the distinction between art and design. Design was a living, art was uncertain. I chose a life with some certainty of an income and for many years I supported myself and my artist husband while he suffered along making art but very little money. We both suffered and I think art suffered too.
What I now understand about art is that it's a practice, and in the 29 years since I graduated from my college with a degree in Fine Art, I have been practicing my craft and my craft is art. I feel a sense of relief at this revelation. There was no time wasted—as I had thought—not making art because I was making art, and I was living a life that I had solely created for myself. In the 29 years since graduation I have been honing my visual acuity and my discipline toward art making and art theory.
Lately I am working on projects that seem to blur the lines, or bridge the gap between art and design. I am supporting myself and my child by working hard at what I know and love and I am challenging myself all the while enjoying the life I have created for us.
I will always work. I think working in collaboration with others is what really makes us whole. I am sorry for those who lock themselves up in their suffering and superiority in the name of art. Art doesn't ask that of you. Ultimately being self supporting is the most freeing of all things. To be an independent person, a free thinker, unencumbered seems a good goal to me and the right thing to do to really begin to explore creativity.
There is a subtext here about the person who told me this story. We have to pay in this life. We either work and pay our own way and carve out time for what we love, or we find a way to integrate work and art, or we siphon our living off the backs of others, our spouses, parents, the government. Whatever you choose you have to eat and keep the lights on and someone has to pay those bills. Someone has to get up everyday and have a plan for how you are going to eat and I think it's reasonable that everyone who is eating is contributing something in some way, artist or not.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
In the meantime I am picking up clues, like stitches. Did you know you can start making something and in the end it can be much larger than where you started? Thinking about art all the time is like this and that is what I have been doing. Thinking about art is an odd activity, I guess it's similar to thinking about enlightenment, maybe they are the same thing. I am trying to see what is unseen and make an opinion about that. I am trying to hang onto the opinion just long enough for it to be shot down by some other observation and subsequent opinion that has formed. It's like watching the tide come in and go out, like watching the day pass, minute by minute, the light changes, the trees move. It is a symphony. It goes on without any input form me. My role is inconsequential but I am so fascinated to watch.
I am waiting for something to emerge. Last week I suddenly understood a series of dreams I've had over the years. The dreams were uncomfortable and odd and I could never see what they meant at the time but now I can see more clearly what they were about. The common theme was deep dark spaces that I was required to go into. In almost every dream I was surprised at the existence of the dark space, down a hall, behind a room, under the stairs. These were dark spaces with no head room and I never went in. They were close spaces with cold dry walls. Out in the open of my yard it struck me that these dreams were about this work. The deep work, the unknown knowing that goes on during exploration and reflection. I never wanted to fall into those spaces afraid of what I might find and fearing getting stuck in there. Now I think I am beginning to scratch into those deep places, put my fingertips on them, feel the rough edges of what could come to be known.
Maybe you are curious about the sweater. It was a gift from one of my brothers. It is a classic west coast design and it is one of my most cherished belongings. Here are some links to the original DNTO story that inspired me, a film about the history of the Coast Salish knitting, and the writer whose thesis inspired the film.
All for now. Keep on making, keep on seeking.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I began 2014 thinking I might die shortly but it turns out I likely have a way to go on this earth. Realizing that, I have made a list for 2015:
Embrace my mammalian existence