Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Contemplative – Personal, so skip if you wish……

free motion quilting practice

This has been an interesting two months of contemplation, not just on politics, which will certainly govern how I live the rest of my life, but also in terms of how to lead the best possible life in the years I have left. Note to self – aiming for three digits. The work on the resistance quilt brought up a lot of unresolved issues concerning emotional abuse by my mother ever since I can remember. The work I’m doing in attempting to lose weight talks about getting to the root of whatever is unconsciously holding you back. It’s my relationship with my mother.

So between energy work, meditation, reading, and hypnosis, I am coming to terms with issues. I feel mentally healthier. I am slowly letting go of some of the dramatic episodes – I no longer hyperventilate when that issue rears its head. It has been an extremely productive 6 months for art, although not for writing. My mantra needs to be “writing, creating, marketing every day.” I

know I need to get a therapist to help me bring closure as a result of the work I have done so far. Especially after Saturday – I was scheduled to teach a free motion quilting class, and I called on Friday at 11:30 AM to see if it was still canceled, as she had called about it the week prior. No, it was a go. So I hurry around getting ready, and when I show up Saturday morning, there are only two paid students. When I asked her since she knew one canceled the night before, why she didn’t cancel, she verbally attacked me, saying that I owed a class to those who had paid, it was my responsibility, I owed it to those who had paid. I was so stunned at her attack I wasn’t able to respond.

Gaslighting, just like my mother always did to me. I realized that was what had shut me down – I was being attacked in the same way by someone else. Yes, I need to definitely figure out how to bring closure to my family issues, but I also need to do what’s right for me when I’m teaching. After time to think about it, I emailed and asked her to send the check – she didn’t even have it ready for me because I was in the way of the printer during class. I told her to cancel the August class, as we had already talked about that, and she knows from experience that classes don’t go in the summer. If she decides to call me to schedule new classes, there will be a contract for her to sign. She also didn’t want to make copies for me (a total of 12) since she is leasing a printer and it costs her money. Keep in mind she is getting 30% of the class fee and I told her I was holding strong at a class of at least 3 in order for it to be a go.

The contract will indicate a whole bunch of things: she gets 25% if she doesn’t want to raise the class fee, she will make copies as needed, and anything less than three students the morning of the class, she will cancel it. If someone doesn’t show and doesn’t call, I receive half the class amount to compensate me for my time. (Yes, one of the two for the class didn’t show….that’s $7.00 an hour for my work…positive me, I may have a lead to teach in another shop.) Usually I have been able to work very simply with people in the field, but her personality is not right for me or her long-time customers and business. Lesson learned….

Thoughts are welcome….

“Experimenting with Textiles”

I am currently (like right now) watching a video from the fellows who bring you textileartist.org. I’ve subscribed for several years, and they are introducing a series of videos on finding your voice with your textiles. So far, 11 minutes into the video, I can see the various paths I have taken and why I had problems with them.

First, early on in working with stitching on marbled fabrics, I felt intimidated by mo own machine quilting skills, and I felt like I needed to do a huge amount of practice on smaller pieces before I came to the bigger works I wanted to do. A cyber friend kindly said to me – do the work you want and the skills will follow….and so they did. I started weaving strips of marbled fabric after I machine-quilted them, and I didn’t look back.

Second, I’ve always experimented with lots of techniques – marbling happened to be the latest one (embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting), but the marbling hooked and and hubby. Now I have a body of work that utilizes marbled fabric and new means of quilting and embellishing. I picked up bead work only in the sense it could add to the overall design.

Lots of ups and downs in learning and trying to determine a niche for ourselves, as well as work within limitations of what we could afford.  I finally decided that what other marblers do is fine – so is our work in its own unique way. I didn’t want to marble paper – I wanted fabric – first limitation, and we made it work. We perfected our style on white fabric – very unforgiving – a second limitation.

How can I push the boundaries of the basics? Hubby and I laugh about what I have him end of trying to marble – “pushing” to do ribbon, silk flowers, canvas…all because I don’t want to waste paint in the marbling tray. Lots of additional projects opened up, mostly with embellishing what we were already creating. Any new techniques were pursued in how they could expand our marbled fiber art.

Making marbled art is expensive –  a pound of carrageenan is about $50.00 now. So because of our extremely limited financial capabilities we had to work within a very tight budget – and we succeeded. Looking at a display of our work several months ago, both of us marveled at what we were able to create with so little resources.

Embracing what we can do on our limited budget led me to learn how to manipulate my 1008 Bernina workhorse sewing machine to do what I wanted it to do. Yes, I miss “needle down” and variable speed….but my skill with this basic machine has led me to teach very successful machine quilting classes to folks who think they can’t machine quilt unless they have a long-arm or other fancy sit-down machine.

In terms of skill level, I am completely self-taught, with only one marbling class from a master (Galen Berry). Everything else has been trial and error….no color theory of design, so I started with putting everything with black fabric. Hubby has the color sense, and I slowly came around to improving mine. Now I can put marbled fabrics with a range of other colors and designs. I attended a workshop with Tony Conner, water colorist extraordinaire, who talked us through a painting he created. It was like a design class with a master, listening to him talk through his decisions. I kept referring to pieces I was working on to see that I was naturally doing some of the design elements. I was trusting my “eye” and myself.

You owe it to yourself to watch the first of these videos – maybe you are new to the idea of limitations. We had natural limitations through finances imposed on us, and it led to who we are as artists now. Check out our web page to see our range of work. Find textileartist.org on Facebook and get your free video.

PS – no more pima cotton fabric, special order didn’t work because it was too light, so we “over-marbled”…and it’s good to go…..making due with a limitation……

Thursday Thoughts

Lots of ramblings through the mind this week, a good chunk on medical care. Last week I checked into possible vision therapy as a result of losing the vision in my left eye. My insurance would not cover any of it, not even out of network, and the treatment is very expensive. So there is no way I can do this. Now I am already paying a lot of money each month on my COBRA, until Medicare kicks in.

Keep in mind I have always felt like I needed to pay my fair share, and I realize I am lucky to have health insurance. But come on, people, we shouldn’t have to feel lucky. We should be able to access what we need without going broke or going in to bankruptcy….and I know whereof I speak. Every person in this country should have access to affordable health care. I don’t think this necessarily means the government needs to be completely involved, but I think the attitude of “medicine for profit” is hurting the average American.

In line with the previous thought, I am making a effort to try and read more “conservative” blogs to try and widen my views on current issues, as well as be sure what I believe is accurate. This has been a challenge, because I seem to see – and feel – a great deal more vitriol on these blogs. Michelle Malkin’s blog has so much sarcasm that it becomes difficult to plow through to find nuggets. And yes, she seems way more sarcastic than Rachel Maddow, who does have her share of sarcasm, but then there is a footnoted nugget to follow.

Notice I am reading women. I think if I want a truer look at “the war on women,” then I need to read women. This is not a conservative or liberal issue. Women’s rights are being attacked.

Which is just another reason why I get so incredibly depressed, thinking about the amount of evil in the world, and it’s no longer just outside our borders…yes, I have managed to stay pretty darn naive all these years, and this global/national/local evil is coming unrelentingly….

Which is why I lament the lack of good history teaching in the schools, that now brings me to….

…my tutoring session this afternoon, where I am helping a college student prepare for a philosophy test….a class I never had. I spent a lot of time on the internet looking up information to help me understand the topic and then help my student understand what could possibly be asked on a test tomorrow. And all this led to a really interesting hour and a half of philosophical questions on topics in history that would illustrate deontology and consequentialism. From Harry Potter to the movie Black Hawk Down to the killing of Bin Laden – quite an interesting 90 minutes.

To tie this to teaching history in schools, how can we have philosophical discussions and look at morality if we don’t understand our own history, what makes us a country, and how we fit with the rest of the planet? That’s a good philosophical question……

I must say, however, that the philosophy book stinks…..no index, the glossary is worthless, and the table of contents leaves much to be desired. When you are working with a student on study skills, being able to access an index to find information is critical. How can a textbook NOT have an index? This is such a basic skill for any of us wanting to access information from a text and not just the internet. Yes, Google is essentially an index, but its algorithms bring up results based on our previous searches. And let’s face it, not everyone uses the internet, especially if they have spent a LOT of money on a class text. I would think for 80 dollars a book should have an index.

Yeah, the mind is all over the place this week…..who knows where I’ll be next Thursday?

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