“Tradition comes from within…”

Kathy M’Cluskey speaks of tradition in her research of Navajo aesthetics and quotes Irene Clark who says, “weaving goes with prayers, songs. Thank Mother Earth for plants, for sky, the air, good feeling to dye..it’s all in the weaving..in your hands, tools, in your mind. Design and coloring, how you think of yourself is how you weave..good thoughts, prayers, songs. When you start to weave, design comes in your mind, in your hands.”

I have hooked several prayer pillows for friends. Prayers for a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, prayers for healing, prayers for service men and women… There is a spirit of peace that is felt with the repetitive motion of hand work.

Do you pray or sing when you create a craft?

Do you think how you feel about yourself is a part of your craft?

What thoughts come into your mind with your handwork?

Leave a reply below and let us hear your thoughts.

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To read more about M’Closkey’s research go to: http://see.library.utoronto.ca/SEED/Vol4-1/M’Closkey.htm
“Towards an Understanding of Navajo Aesthetics”

To see our Navajo style designs, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpiritofthePlains

Generational connections…

Just as Navajo weavers passed down the process of rug making to the next generation so have my Scandinavian ancestors used their hands to work fibers into their crafts. My mom’s dad and mom came to Ellis Island in the early twentieth century from Sweden and Finland. My mom and her three sisters learned knitting and crocheting from their Finnish mother, and my mom has taught me and my daughter to knit and crochet. Feeling driven to create fiber art with my hands could have a genetic link.

What do you think?

What are your family connections to creating artwork?

Leave a reply below and let us hear your thoughts.

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To see our folk art, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpiritofthePlains

 

Navajo weavers’ feeling for beauty, harmony and order…

Kathy M’Closkey conveys an interesting idea about Navajo weaving as a form of metacommunication. Her explanation ties the sacred and secular aspects of Navajo life together and the result is “hozho”, “the combining of “beauty/harmony/ local order”. Many others who describe the beauty of Navajo weaving separate the sacred process of creation from the aesthetic beauty of the object and thus fail to understand the “holistic” beauty inherent in Navajo weaving.

I can relate to the Navajo weavers’ feeling of “metacommunication” as I find a spirit of the plains is part of the creative process in hooking a rug from beginning to end. Deciding on a geometric pattern, drawing it onto a backing, selecting wool colors whose values coordinate with the pattern, cutting the wool fabric into strips, hooking each loop, and finishing the pillow/rug are all part of thinking about communicating with others the “beauty/harmony/local order” of the piece. A peace often permeates the act of rug hooking. A prayer or meditation is often spoken or thought as the repetitive motion of the hook entwines the wool strip below the backing and is brought through as a loop above the backing.

Explain how you experience “‘hozho’, beauty, balance, harmony, health, peace, blessing and order’ in your craft. What process of creation do you follow?

How do you communicate with others the essence of what you have created?

Leave a reply below and let us hear your thoughts.

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To read more about M’Closkey’s research go to: http://see.library.utoronto.ca/SEED/Vol4-1/M’Closkey.htm
“Towards an Understanding of Navajo Aesthetics”

To see our Navajo style designs, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpiritofthePlains

“Something in those stitches…”

In A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Count Alexander Rostov speaks of a memory of his sister, Helena, while reading a Pushkin passage to her as she embroidered a piece of lace…

” ‘Perhaps there had been something in those stitches,’ thought the count, ‘some gentle wisdom she was mastering through the contemplation of every little loop.’ ”

Rug hooking is a contemplative art. Not only is the artist connected to the plains, where sheep are raised, through the handling of wool fibers but also is mindful of the peacefulness of the plains as each loop is pulled through the backing to create a previously thought out design.

What do you contemplate as you stitch?

What gentle wisdom have you mastered as you pull loops through your backing?

Leave a reply below and let us hear your thoughts.

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Penguin Publishing Group. 2016.

To see our folk art, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpiritofthePlains

What is Spirit of the Plains?

For many moons I have observed my mom’s love of creating with her hands. As a young child, she taught me to knit and crochet. This was not an easy task as she is left-handed and I am right-handed. With patience and love, she showed me how to crochet a granny square and eventually I made a blanket. Mom also showed me how to knit scarves and eventually I knit a sweater vest.

In junior high, my mom encouraged me to hook a rug when my art teacher suggested that project as one of the fiber art choices. Because we were living in the “Age of Aquarius”, with mom’s help, I drew my zodiac sign, the crab, onto a linen backing. Next I cut wool strips and hooked them through the backing. This finished project was entered into the State Fair of Texas fiber arts competition, and I won a prize for my age group.

Now at 95 years of age, my mom is prolific at crocheting. She finds joy in making headbands, hats and scarves for others. In order to be present with her, I have taken up rug hooking again. We sit together crafting our items and thus enjoy spending time together. Once in a while I sew her granny square strips onto preformed pillows and we create an item together.

Spirit of the Plains documents the fun we are having creating fiber art together.

To see our folk art, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpiritofthePlains

We hope you enjoy our stories, crafts and life on the plains.

Leave a reply below and let us hear your thoughts.