Sunday, January 31, 2010

“If Hope Had a Scent, It Would Be the Smell of the Air on a Warm February Day.”

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More than any other holiday, Groundhog Day is the "looking-ahead" holiday, a holiday of transition.

“We're not so much celebrating the day at hand, February 2, as we are a day that is on our horizon, the spring equinox. The spring equinox is simply being celebrated ahead of time, as Groundhog Day, on February 2. Asking us to bottle up our hopes until three weeks in March have passed would be unreasonable, don't you think?”

“…Let's explore the origin of Groundhog Day by taking a look at Imbolc, Saint Brigid's Day and Candlemas Day.

“In its earliest incarnation, Groundhog Day was Imbolc, a pagan celebration associated with fertility and weather divination.

“The word, Imbolc is Gaelic, the language of the Celts. There is a strong association between Imbolc and Brigid, a Celtic fertility goddess. When the pagan holidays were transformed into Catholic equivalents, two new holidays emerged from Imbolc. One, Saint Brigid's Day (a.k.a. Saint Bridget's Day), was celebrated on February 1. Saint Brigid's Day honored an Irish saint, named after the Celtic goddess, who was a contemporary of Saint Patrick's.

“The second holiday deriving from Imbolc was Candlemas Day and was celebrated on February 2 (Groundhog Day). Candlemas was the feast of Mary's purification and was marked by a candle procession.

“But how did a groundhog become the symbol for a holiday that was marked by a candle procession?

“Well, the Romans, for instance, had celebrated a rough equivalent to our Groundhog Day in early February -- only a hedgehog was in charge of the weather divination, not a groundhog. And such beliefs survived the Christianization of Europe (going "underground," if you will), attaching themselves to Candlemas Day as folklore. European settlers in North America kept the pagan tradition alive, but substituted the native groundhog for the European hedgehog. Clearly, Imbolc and the older traditions have won out: today in North America, almost everyone in the general public has heard of "Groundhog Day," while mention of "Candlemas Day" would generally draw expressions of puzzlement!

“Most people have now distanced themselves from fertility rites, purification rituals and weather divination (well, except for meteorologists, perhaps!). Nonetheless, on some level, don't we still intuitively associate fertility and purification with spring? Nor can we help but spend our winters speculating on spring's arrival.”

“If hope had a scent, it would be the smell in the air on a warm February day.

this post was excerpted from an article by David Beaulieu on Groundhog Day on, here



Friday, January 22, 2010

New Photography by Jean Albus

Dark Before Dawn by Jean Albus

Dark Before Dawn, Jean Albus, 2010

If you were visiting my blog last year, you might remember when I posted some work by Montana artist/photographer Jean Albus.  Click here to see those posts. 

And now here’s more wonderment from Jean.  The next images are from her 2009 collection “What Else is There to Say About Land.”   

Hot Dirt by Jean Albus.

In The Grass by Jean Albus.

Into the Storm by Jean Albus.

Hay Bales by Jean Albus.

Jean’s work combines images that speak to me:  the often harsh landscape of Montana, where four generations of my family have lived; images of women; the feminine and flowing lines of beautiful fabrics and clothing. 

Somehow, these are related.    

Even I, not given to conscious stereotyping about my home state, can conjure a cowboys-and-tumbleweed image of Montana in my mind. 

But Jean’s work shows a woman here; finding her place in this land….touching, feeling, literally immersing herself in place.  In a part of the earth where geography so clearly dominates human movement, I have needed to do the same.  I have spent hours and days making my peace with the land:  leaving my footprints, ski tracks, tire marks in deep recesses of mountains where I might not be found for days if I got lost.  I have needed to lie down, dive in, dig my hands deep into the elements of the earth. 

Nowadays this urge is not so strong.  I have reached some kind of equilibrium—unconscious, mostly—with these external forms.  Always aware of them, always knowing on the edges of my consciousness that they’re there, the mountains and the forests hold me like primeval mothers’ arms.  Knowing this, I spend more time indoors, exploring the inner wilderness of line, form, and color. 

Jean Albus’ work reminds me of who I am in this place where I came into the world.


You can see more of Jean’s art, and contact her, at her gallery on Flickr.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Use Your Cell Phone to Help in Haiti.

As of sixteen hours ago, Americans with cell phones had raised $11 million for relief in Haiti through sending text messages to relief phone numbers. 

If you haven’t seen these numbers yet, here are several easy ways to donate small amounts of money.  Your donation is added into your cell phone bill.

Relief organizers are reminding people—like me—who are tweeting and blogging about this--to actually make the calls themselves.  That’s a good point.  In my effort to round up numbers for my post, I initially forgot to make the calls myself. 

I chose Yele Haiti, which is working with Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean to mobilize their effort.  You can $5 donations up to six times to Yele Haiti. 

Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti, which is working with Wyclef Jean.  

Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross

Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee

Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada

Text RELIEF to 30644 to get automatically connected to Catholic Relief Services and donate money with your credit card

Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way

Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation

Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Non Resolution about Beginnings

winter1.jpg image by findstuff22

I love New Year’s.  I mean, I love January and the deep breath of forward-looking-ness that comes at the end of the holidays. 

I love it, love it, love it.   

Many blog friends have been writing about the new year.  Blissfully absent have been resolutions and promises to do better or be better.  Instead I’m finding thoughtful introspections about what it means to go look ahead, to see possibility, and to use the past as a launching pad.   

I’d like to share a couple of quotes I found today about new beginnings.

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.”  Buddha. 

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” Roman philosopher Seneca.

“There is a woman at the beginning of all great things.” French poet Alphonse de Lamartine. 


What are you beginning in 2010? 



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Favorite Etsy Sweaters and My Own New Designs


Amelie Sweater in Cashmere and Felted Merino, Size M, Blue Kimono Studio

Is it warm yet? 

Two hours after taking the dogs for a morning walk, my legs are still thawing out.  There’s a blanket of ice in my yard, and the doors on my Subaru are frozen shut.   

The stores are stocking bathing suits, but I still need sweaters—wool sweaters!  

And I’m still making sweaters for my recycled clothing shop, Blue Kimono Studio. 

Here are a few of my favorites sweaters.  Some are my own, and some are from other Etsy sellers.   

I’m proud of the one at the top of my post.  It was featured on Etsy’s Front Page on December 28.   

burgundy heather  pullover

Burgundy Heather Pullover, Size M-L, $75 USD, RagaissanceWear. 

Ella pullover sweater with recycled cashmere and wool in red and plum

Ella Pullover Sweater with Recycled Cashmere, Size L, $168, Foundry Designs

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Sara Sweater in Felted Wool and Stripes, Size M, $118 USD, Blue Kimono Studio

Wow     Orange Merino

Orange Merino Felted Pullover, Size S-M, $90 USD, RagaissanceWear.

Ella pullover sweater in felted cream, taupe and cocoa wool, made from recycled knits, with red creek jasper cabochon

Ella Pullover in Felted Cream, Taupe and Cocoa Wool, Size S, $168, Foundry Designs. 

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Amory Sweater in Wool and Felted Merino, $118, Size L, Blue Kimono Studio

How about you?  Are you ready for spring yet, or are you still pulling out your woolens? 

Have a warm and colorful weekend…love,