sunlight filters warmth into the library windows while Bob works with tiny brown leaves places them on small white papers lines up the leaves rolls all the leaves into a tube my five year old self mesmerized My favorite part he licks his tongue on the white paper so it all stays together
The tubes are my fingers’ size
he make the tubes over and over I love Bob mother calls him father others call him Doctor or the Maj
he sits back in his favorite chair in the library he stretches puts a match to the tiny tube then into his mouth he breaths out puffs of white and gray
I was just lying curled around myself like a slinking snake in a basket filled with slinking strand creatures like myself in blue, green, purple, black, brown, white and yellow. Yes, we are such a peaceful world even with our many colors.
Please, please stop. You are hurting me.
I don’t know why I am having so much trouble making this little sweater for the baby Noah who was born at the end of last year. It is as if the yard is fighting me. I need to be kind to the yarn maybe it was not ready for this birthing process. Perhaps if I just soothe it by giving it a gentle touch and not so much of a tug. It could be that this yarn has feelings like a tomato when it sinks screaming into boiling water.
Wait just a moment. Suddenly the pulling and tugging has stopped. Now l feel fingers laying on my strands and petting me in the direction of my strands. Oh, this is so comforting. I could almost fall a s l e e p.
Now that is so much better. The yard has begun to relax and not resist. Maybe I was just being too rough. I will be gentle with the yarn. Perhaps if I think of this red yarn as baby red yard it can grow without so much pain. There, there, baby red. Your great-aunt is just making you ready to surround a new human baby.
Oh, I must have dozed off. I can feel I am being twisted and pulled but so gently. It is like the gentle stretch I did before starting the special yoga class for strands. Breathe in and breathe out. Feel the pain. The pain is not bad. It is transforming me into a new shape. I am not curled up around myself. I am a super long twisted, coiled. . . I don’t know what I am. Now l feel fingers laying on my strands and petting me again. Oh, this is so comforting.
Oh, I feel like I am transferring my quiet happiness to baby red. It is so soothing to be relaxing on this park bench. Oh I better not fall asleep. If I fall asleep, they may send for the paramedics and think it is my time to pass. I am not ready for that. So I will take up baby red, put him in my lined yard basket along with all the other yarns. OK, baby red, I am lifting you back so you can join the other yarns while I walk back to . . . .
“Hey, lady. Are you all right? Who are you talking to? Do you live around here? Is there someone we could call? I thought you were talking to someone but there is no one else here.”
“Oh, Officer. I am just fine. I was here knitting. I just got up to leave. No need for concern.”
No one else here? How could you say that? I am baby red and I am right here in the basket with all the other strands. You be nice to this lady. She was kind to me.
“Well, I was concerned but I can see that you are with it. Do you want me to walk you home? “
“Thank you, Officer. I can walk by myself.” That was a close one, little red. We almost got caught.
Servas is an organization whose main purpose to promote peace in the world. Servas facilitates the meeting of individuals from different cultures by having a host and guest component. The organization checks into each new member applying to see if he/she would be up to the task of hosting such international guests or or to stay in the homes of others. You can apply to be a host or to be a traveler. Here is a way to not only meet but get to know someone from another culture. My feeling in travel is that I learn as much about the country from those who live there as I do from seeing the physical sites. As a guest you are not to expect your host to pay for personal items or to buy tickets for you. As a guest you are not to pay for your stay but certainly to reimburse your host for items purchased on your behalf. With Servas you are expected as a host to show your guest the area or how they can do it on their own. As a guest you are expected to have conversations with your host.
When I was active in the Esperanto (International Language) movement, there was Passport Servo which had allowed members to request to stay with other members or to host other members. I hosted many from a variety of countries. I also stayed with other Esperantists in Austria, Australia Brazil, France, Peru and the UK.
When I had the opportunity to travel to India, the thought came ringing back to me. I want to meet the people who live there, not just taxi drivers or merchants in a store.
In Sarnath, not far from Varanasi, I met Dr Jain who runs a small guesthouse. Saroj, Dr Jain’s wife made wonderfully delicious vegetarian meals. Both made me feel so welcome and comfortable. Dr Jain and Saroj are so very kind to everyone they meet. It is something that you sense immediately. I only spent one overnight there but I still feel the effects of the caring people I met and talked there. Dr. Jain seems to be catalyst for bringing about necessary action that will help others. Specifically to enable both girls and boys to have an education. Many families can not afford to send their children to school. Also to set medical clinics to provide for those children’s health needs. These are outlined in detail in the link below.
Others, I also met in that one brief afternoon at Dr. Jain’s guest house were a woman concerned with care of the cows. It appears that though the sacred cows can wander where they will, there is no one who supervises their care. It is in fact quite frightening to see cows wandering the streets and even on the highways. I met another person who was interested in seeing if some of the many stray dogs all over India could be adopted by families. I may not have mentioned this but in every city I visited, I was surprised by the number of stray dogs in the streets. They were often lying on the pavement. I was not sure if they were asleep temporarily or permanently.
In Udaipur, I stayed with a lovely Servas family. The wife of the couple was also an artist but additionally had taken on several projects of her own. She told me that in India, private schools were now obliged to offer 20 percent of their enrollment to underprivileged students. She told me that these children spoke only Hindi at home while all their school classes were in English. So, of course, it was most difficult for them. Renu is teaching them English and getting reports back of how well the students are doing. The children she is tutoring seem to adore her and realize what she is doing for them. Renu is also active in getting a garbage collection service organized in her area. I was quite appalled that all over India there are patches of ground that are covered in paper trash and waste.
Note: I will be writing more of my experiences with my Servas host the family in Udaipur in the near future.
In Noida, not far from Delhi, I stayed with another Servas couple. Ravindra is an artist and sculptor so of course, we had much to discuss.
But his caring came to the surface, when he told me that he was tutoring a fifteen year old student who had mental challenges. Ravindra was teaching the boy how to make clay models and showed me some of the boys’ s work. How wonderful for the boy to see something positive he had made. Ravindra’s wife, Shyamali acts as a full time caregiver to her elderly mother who lives with them. Shyamali told me that her mother had a breakdown after the death of her husband. In India it is quite hard for widows but I think things are much better now than in the past.
More about these wonderful Servas hosts when I write about Noida in the near future.
I still marvel at the extraordinary kindness of the people I met in India.
I attended the reception on Wednesday, March 26. The art was so globally aware and media diversified. I found all the art to be well executed and each artist had his/her own style. Conversations with viewers and artists alike were compelling. The additional artists’ who were were given decades frequently included in their work references to what the artist had done in the individual year. For example the decade of the 1990s image and artist’s statement included reference to Mandela.
The year 1990 holds much for the world to contemplate. It was a year of explosive launches, connectivity launches, creative launches and the ultimate release of a beloved world leader.
In this work I’ve translated those states into textured layers, the radiance into colors seen by the Hubble spacecraft. As visual reference I use images of what Hubble has seen and Mandela face in different situations. To represent the world wide web I simply constructed the www. Creative launch is keyed in as the Grand Palais Museum in Paris, France where I presented my art to the public.
I work with a water media background to which I add handmade paper, fabric, bits of found or forgotten objects.
I improvise and float the layers over a period of days, adding and subtracting color and texture. I refine the composition by moving the groupings around or completely off the paper. Each day I leave the work, cover it and contemplate the whole in my mind. It evolves over a period of time until the layers find their own altitudes and the colors their own latitude and the textures their own longitude.
The Full Story:
The artwork starts in my mind as I research for events that have happened in the year 1990. I print copies of the face of Mandela as he rides with Queen Elizabeth, as a face that peers out of prison bars, as he reflects on “Notes to the Future”.
I troll thru images of what the Hubble space craft has seen. For me the most symbolic was the Whirlpool Galaxy as it appeared to have a large bright central area. Clustered around the area and were splotches of bright pink, brown and gold. So the Whirlpool Galaxy became the backdrop for Mandela’s face and the backdrop for the entire work.
Then the world wide web has brought knowledge to our fingertips. How could I represent that? That was the easiest of all with the simple letters. I had started to use a type of gold decorative ribbon but eliminated that as it seems overly contrived.
I ended up with constructing the letters from handmade marbled paper– representing the interwoven information on the web and outlining them with thread.
Just in case these forms and figments of my artistic spirit were not enough to indicate what year I was representing, I put in the numbers 1990. I cut and patched pieces of red fabric and a piece of a batik to form the numbers.
My personal creative launch was to show at the Salon Des Independants at the Grand Palais Museum in Paris, France. The Grand Palais was my canvas to start my career as an artist. I felt deeply moved by history as I brought in my two pieces in late 1990. The Museum is so massive and it glass roof and form always intrigued me. If you look at my images for representing the Grand Palais, it started out as a simple piece of fabric that represented the lines of the glass roof. That seemed so blatant that I covered it with an open type of handmade paper and outlined some of it with a pale blue ink. That did not seem right so I settled on using bits (of the universe from the whirlpool galaxy in my mind) torn, cut and constructed marbled paper to represent a nebulous building and grounded the building by outlining the roof with black thread. I chose to place by signature at the foot of the Grand Palais to pay homage to my birthplace as an artist.
I took photos along the way to keep track of my progress. You can have a look.
This artwork is a part of a current exhibit running through July 11, 2014 . See previous post 85 Years 85 Artists for information on the exhibit at Menlo College.
Launched and Released Visual History
Click on any image to enlarge.
A visual history of how the details for the numbers changed :
Numbers begin 1/19/14 Numbers grow 1/22/14 Numbers take form 1/28/14
How the Grand Palais began, changed and evolved:
Grand Palais 1/25/14 Grand Palais 1/25/14 Grand Palais ready 1/29/14
A visual history of the www:
Trial gold w 1/19/14 Placement of www 1/28/14 www finalized 1/29/14
Mandela’s face and the insertion of the Whirlpool Galaxy:
Mandela’s face fully underway 1/19/14 Mandela’s face takes form 1/22/14
Face of Nelson Mandela Changes 1/25/14
Trial placement of Whirlpool Galaxy 1/26/14 Placement of Whirlpool Galaxy 1/26/14
Taking Shape 1/28/14 Finalizing at 10:30pm 1/28/14
“The exciting form of this exhibit is that each artist will show work that spans more than a decade. Statute of Liberty is the earliest piece in my series of four and dates from 1996.”
PSA: SF / Oakland Bay area
City of Oakland Parks & Recreation
Malonga Casquelourd Center For The Arts Annex
mccatheater.com / wheelchair, walker accessible
1428 Alice street, off 14th st. downtown Oakland CA 94612
“Paths Of Seasons 2” Fine Arts Exhibit
Janet Brugos, Patricia Patterson, Deborah Rogin, Salma Arastu,
Sue Matthews, Anna Edwards & Mary Loughran
M o n . A u g . 2 6 – F r i . N o v. 1, 2 0 1 3
Free Public Event : First Friday Sept. 6, 5:30-8:30
5:30-6:45 Greet Artists , 7-8:30 Network: Open Mic Entertainment, Refreshments,
Viewing Hours: Mon-Fri. 9:00-12:30; Call for other times
Contact: Visual Arts Recreation Specialist (510) 238-2786; email@example.com
Security (510) 238-7217
Stop Date: Sat. Nov.2, 2013
“Paths of Seasons 2″ is the 2nd part of a Fine Arts Exhibit presentation at the Malonga Casquelourd Center For The Arts Annex for viewers, interested in seeing if Artists change their subject matter, perspective, media or techniques from one decade to the next. The Seven Artists, Janet Brugos, Patricia Patterson, Deborah Rogin, Salma Arastu, Sue Matthews, Anna Edwards and Mary Loughran
share their evolution”…increasing simplicity in one way, increasing intensity in another” states Collage Artist Mary Loughran. The beautiful Beaux Arts historic City of Oakland popular performance facility located at 1428 Alice street, in downtown Oakland CA 94612, is almost of equal distance from Lake Merritt BART and Downtown 12th St. BART.
The public is welcome First Friday Sept. 6, from 5:30-8:30 to greet the Artists, network, enjoy Open Mic entertainment and nosh!
The exhibit remains on view Mon-Fri. 9:30-12:30 and other times by arrangement, ending Fri. Nov. 1, 2013. Please contact Visual Arts Recreation Specialist T. Neal-Madison for details (238-2786 or firstname.lastname@example.org)