Spring Arts & Crafts

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Along with continuing to read (just finished Annie Proulx’s Barkskins), I’ve just happened to start using my hands to do more than hold a book, write, and type on a keyboard.

It started with short workshops held by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas to augment one’s experience of their various exhibitions.  There, I made an abstract (it had to be abstract) print, and then learned to fold paper into “pocket book casings” which can hold all sorts of small things in their various enclosed places.

This new-found pleasure propelled me to take an Arabic calligraphy class at the Dallas Museum of Art.  I learned how to use a bamboo calligraphy pen and a small pot of ink, patiently practicing “perfect” squares and the much more difficult aleph (the first letter of the alphabet).  There was patience, silence, relaxation of body, concentration of mind…and even the poet, Rumi…in the room.  The master laid down an aleph on my sheet of paper as an example, a subtle and smooth stroke, and I put my first attempt next to it, a lumpy bean pod.  It was wonderful and humbling.  I got a poem out of it, too, which I titled “A Taste of the Ocean.”  That taste is what the master calligrapher said he could offer us in such a short period of time.

And now, after finding a Beginner’s Origami Kit in the Kimbell Art Museum’s gift shop, I have made a simple envelope and my first crane.  Paper folding is addictive, and very different from the other things I do with my days.

 

Aleph & Not-Aleph
Aleph / Not-Aleph

I hope you’re enjoying this flight into Spring!Teri's First Crane

9 comments on “Spring Arts & Crafts”

    1. Barbara, I want to thank you for your interest in my poem. For many people, that would be like volunteering to watch someone’s vacation videos–very brave! I gave my poem to the calligrapher, who gave it to the event organizers with my permission, so I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to post it in an open forum like this (not that I’m expecting it them to do anything with it). But I can tell you that my poem starts with Rumi and ends with Rumi. In between, it explores the rhythm and tempo of the practice of calligraphy.

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  1. I don’t know how I missed this post, strangely I was thinking about origami this morning. Part of the Japanese state work exams is to fold 1000 paper cranes- or so I have read. I have always considered this an overwhelming task- yet, it occurred to me randomly this morning that paper work can often be mundane. It seems apt to know that you can do what you need to do perfectly 1000 times over and see that it be beautiful.
    I have wanted to get out my calligraphy pen, but I lack an ink pot. I also wish I had purple ink. I only have black. Indian Ink is a mess if you spill it and I don’t even have an egg cup.
    Rumi has a lot of wisdom. His words have kept me company on many long drives.

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    1. So good to see you again, and finding you thinking about origami. I made another crane today and this time I remembered to write a wish for the recipient on what became the interior surface. 1,000 cranes with 1,000 good wishes inside them will help a person in need. Isn’t that how it goes? My neighbor gave me 4 of the flock of cranes given to her husband by the folks who owned a shop he frequented. They are quite small, starting with a square of 1-7/8″. Very fiddly folding.

      Is your calligraphy pen bamboo? We had little ink pots that fit into the web of skin between the left thumb and forefinger. I don’t know what the ink was, but it washed off our hands. The calligrapher told us that calligraphers are careful with the shavings they create when carving their pens. They are returned to nature, or some calligraphers save all of the shavings in a bag and then when they die, the shavings are burned in the flame that heats the water their loved ones use to wash their bodies.

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      1. Thank you Teri. I don’t think I have heard about the shavings before. It sounds romantic. I have 3 fountain pens no brushes anymore. All the handles are different. One might be bamboo but it is intricately carved and painted. I’m no expert

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    2. And on the subject of Rumi: I first heard about him in an artist’s talk years ago. He said that he struggled to get this or get that when embarking on his life as an artist. What else do I need? was on his mind. Then he saw this, written by Rumi:

      I have lived
      on the lip of insanity
      wanting to know reasons,
      knocking on a door.
      It opens.

      I have been knocking
      from the inside.

      The artist realized that he had had everything he needed with him the whole time he had been thinking otherwise. Changed his life.

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