Monday, November 21, 2011

The Artist's Way

This past week I had the good fortune to listen to a wonderful presenter, Mary Tafoya, at the Handweavers Guild of Boulder.  She is quite an accomplished beader and a humble and humorous speaker.  Her pieces focus on women, spirituality, and myths.  Right up my alley!  I especially enjoyed her explanation of her creation of La Llorona and how she needed to focus on her experience of her, not what others had written about this mythical woman.

Three other important take aways/reminders:

Discipline: the only way to work on a piece, whether large and complicated or not, is by daily "practice."  For her, she figured between working full time and raising a family this equated to "one arm's length of thread" a day.  As long as she threaded her needle before going to bed, and had her materials out where she would see them throughout the day, she would be able to work on her piece, little by little.

This is just what I've been telling my knitting students.  Set aside a time, everyday, to pick up your knitting.  Even if it's while you're waiting on your son/daughter's lesson, or during an afternoon cup of tea, just do it, and do it with intention.  Set the intention to pick up your work daily, and soon you will start to manifest your vision.

It's not so different than what my Yoga teachers say.  Even if all you can manage is one Sun Salutation or one Breathe of Fire a day, make it count.  Approach it with full conviction.  But do it DAILY.

Inspiration:  Not surprisingly, she shared that most of her pieces started as a dream, a vision she received in the middle of the night.  Lovely.  It makes me think about all the times I'm woken in the middle of the night, and tried, in vain, to fall back to sleep.  I know its been recommended that this is the best time to meditate, but I must admit, I struggle with leaving my cozy bed to go sit somewhere in a dark, cold house.  Then a student had the brilliant suggestion of "why go anywhere?"  She grabs a pillow to sit on, right in bed!  So I've tried this and although it didn't take the first few times, now it works!  A lot of times I receive answers or insights to things I never even knew were living in me.

As You Work on Your Piece, Let it Work on You:  I LOVE this.  This is what I'm talking about when talking about Knitting As A Spiritual Practice.  Infuse your piece with your prayers, good thoughts, dreams, wishes.  The energy builds on itself.  Meditate on what your piece means to you.  She had one particular piece, shepherdess angel, that she created in support of the teenage girls she was working with at the time.  She didn't create a piece to give to each and every one of these girls.  She worked on this one piece and while she did, she held each one of them in her heart and mind.

These were great reminders for how I want to approach my life and it's work.  Whether setting a Thanksgiving table, baking a pie, or, heck, even doing the family's laundry, I hope to approach each chore with the highest intention.

Blessings on your day!


Mary Tafoya said...

Mommy Chicken, I LOVE YOUR BLOG. 'scuse me, off to read more... Thank you 8-) Mary

Melissa said...

Thank you Mary :) Your comment means a lot to me!

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