Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Wanda comes up with some great exercises. Recently she introduced us to a concept called "Notan". From http://www.wikipedia.com/: Nōtan (濃淡) is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark next to the other in art and imagery. This use of light and dark translates shape and form into flat shapes on a two-dimensional surface. Nōtan is traditionally presented in paint, ink, or cut paper, but it is relevant to a host of modern day image-making techniques, such as lithography in printmaking, and rotoscoping in animation.
Here is my first try - this is cut from a 6X6 piece of black paper...all I can see when I look at it is a woman dancing, dressed as a gift box!
Next I did just a couple of little things which I think would be great in a hooked rug border...wonderful reminder to look for the light/dark in my rugs and other projects.
As I worked on this process, my brain grappled with the idea of positive/negative space and the play of light against dark. Sometimes as I was cutting, it was hard to remember what I was looking at - is this a black part? Or is it the edge of a white space?
Reminds me of life...sometimes I get so focused on the "dark" parts that seem to have so much more weight and form than the white spaces. Troubling situations, stresses, circumstances are all that I can see. But if I train my eye to see the "negative space" - the white/light parts - as well, I realize there is always peace at the center, a calm that underlies all that is happening on my palette of life. This blank page is mine to create the shapes I wish to see manifest in my life and in the world. It has been said that the imagination is the scissors of the mind - let me cut those shapes wisely, ever remembering the peace that is the foundation of my heart, mind, and soul.
Here is the progress on "World of Harmony" after one week...
Friday, September 25, 2009
Some oils are carrier oils - emu oil is like this, penetrating deep into the layers of skin and taking with it the healing properties of other oils with which it is combined. Rubbing some tea tree oil on your skin is good, but if you want it to really penetrate, emu oil will help "carry" it's healing properties deeper. Affirmations (essential oils) are great - they remind us of Truth with a capital "T". They point us in a positive direction. But unless they penetrate deep into our hearts, minds, and souls, their effect is somewhat superficial and not lasting. Consistently and persistently coming from a place of love rather than from fear acts like emu oil. Love carries positive affirmations deep into our consciousness, helping to heal and transform us.
Other oils are protectants - shea butter is particularly helpful for damaged skin, helping to restore elasticity. Prayer and meditation act as a protectant from the negativity and limited thinking we encounter in the media and in the world around us. It keeps our mind open and flexible - elastic.
So here's what I learned from my foot cream - remain centered in love, transform through positive affirmation and protect your sweet spirit with prayer & meditation.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Cooking (or just putzing around in the kitchen) is one of my favorite ways to relax. I love the colors and how they change with heat, the aromas, the sizzle in the pan and the pure magic that takes place in the kitchen. And yes, of course, I love to eat!
We've been trying some new things lately (aren't we always?) - we harvested our shiso and and made shiso juice using my mother-in-law's recipe. The first challenge was to have Takashi translate it from Japanese and the second was to convert grams into ounces and then use the postal scale to measure ingredients. Shiso juice is a refreshing summertime drink - a concentrate is made by boiling the leaves and then adding sugar and citric acid. We've always had red shiso juice in Japan so we were curious to see what would happen with our green shiso. Yep...there's that magic I'm talking about! It turned out a beautiful shade of crimson, diluted with ice and water we have lovely and delious pink juice.
Next on the list of "we gotta try" was takoyaki or "octopus balls" (yeah, I know what you're thinking). This delicious street vendor food is like a crispy, yummy, gooey dumpling filled with octopus, ginger and other goodies. On our way home from Silverton last weekend, we stopped at the wonderful Asian grocery in Eugene - Sunrise Market, where we uncovered a takoyaki pan. After some searching in the backroom for the handle, we headed home and Sunday was takoyaki day.
After watching a number of youtube videos on how to make takoyaki, we headed for the kitchen. We had been forewarned that the first few batches might stick. They were right. So we have photos of them cooking, but not the finished product. Rest assured, the taste was not affected.
This week was also time to harvest basil and make pesto to freeze for use over the winter months. Basil can be finicky in our coastal climate but we bought quite a few plants this year and should be set for the winter.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sometimes I think it was easier in the "old days"! Today we have to download our own photos, edit them, file them, print them, and then what the heck do we do with them?
Well I've decided to combine a few select photos with miscellaneous memorabilia to celebrate selected special memories. Today I started with a trip to Koyasan - Mt. Koya - in Fall 2007. Here are a few samples. This is also an exercise in learning to post & move photos in a blog post...
We were able to spend the night in a Buddhist monastery. The monks served us an incredible vegetarian meal...the 3 trays of food in upper left corner were for just one person! In the morning we were able to join them for prayers/chanting. It was a wonderful experience.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I am now on my second sabbatical. When it was written into my contract all those years ago that I would receive a six-month paid sabbatical leave every seven years, I don't think any of us could foresee my tenure lasting that long! This time around, I have chosen to divide the six months into two three-month periods. I was off March, April, May - back to work June, July, August - and now here we are in the second half. I find it takes several weeks to find a rhythm of more "being", to let go of "to do" lists and schedules, and to do whatever I feel inspired to do on any given day.
In the Spring I took a wonderful online class called "Tempting Techniques" to explore a variety of mixed media techniques. Here is a sample of using alcohol inks on photo paper. The background was created by using a really cool material that looks like a big blue sponge. You heat it up with the heat gun and press textures into it to make a stamp.
For the cover of the book I used some fusion "fabric" that I made from soy silk - a byproduct from processing tofu. Who knew!
So now that I'm figuring out how to post pictures (well...sort of figuring it out), there may be more to come!
Now here is one of the most difficult aspects of blogging - what is the topic?? You see, I am a very fortunate person - I love the work that I do AND I love the time that I have off to enjoy a variety of other activities. So on what aspect of life do I concentrate? As usual...ALL of it!
Unity of Bandon, located on the southern Oregon coast has been my spiritual community for 15 years. It is the first in which I have served as minister and will most likely be my last as I can not imagine ever leaving here. It's not called the "Odd Flock" for no reason!
I am currently on a three-month sabbatical leave (Sep, Oct, Nov) so now seemed like a good time to try this venture. My plan is to spend this time of renewal engaging in activities I love: