We share our home with two cats. They were rescue cats and we have observed over the years that some of the skills their mother might have taught them are absent, but for the most part it hasn’t been an issue. (They are both kind of scared of bugs, and have had to be rescued on occasion from ferocious spiders or wasps that get into the house by mistake.) The male cat unfortunately has developed the habit of wanting attention, and more importantly A TREAT and expressing this desire earlier and earlier each morning. We don’t have a room we can put the cats in at night, and we are in a (relatively) smallish space, so some creative measures had to be taken. Baby gate – nope, really didn’t work and a large slab of plywood, ooooh that’s attractive in the living room! This project was borne of sleep deprived desperation – and it was a lot of fun to create.
Cat door – we close off access to the stairs at night with this, and it is “art” in the daytime.
“the “SA” of SAORI comes from the zen vocabulary meaning each one has there (sic) own individual dignity. and “ORI”
is Japanese for weaving. SAORI weaving was started over 41 yrs. ago by Misao Jo…she says ” SAORI WEAVING IS NOT MEARLY (sic) THE ACT OF WEAVING A PIECE OF CLOTH:IT IS AN ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY TO OUR TRUE SELVES”…SAORI weaving is having the courage to break with the conventional… crooked selvages, skipped threads, missing threads are all human and not mistakes but produce interesting affects. “
I don’t claim to have studied this, and don’t know if this is a definitive quote. I am a beginner in this world. But the resulting work I have seen on the net, and occasionally in person, the lively colours and the mix of textures, and the “loosening up” of the craft are very beautiful. Like so many disciplines, one has to learn to be skilled in the craft to be able to move on to break the rules. The pieces of cloth behind the Thankha were experiments, not on a Saori loom, but on my rigid heddle, using all sorts of hand spun and hand dyed yarns. The cloth from a monk’s robe and from worn out altar cloths are also in there, providing texture and colour. The selvedges are definitely wonky and awkward, and it has myriad “mistakes” that make it all whole and an interesting (to me anyhow!) piece. (The Thankha is an odd mix of depictions, according to someone who knows these things very well. Not entirely Buddhist, with Hindu influences we are told. It is a tourist piece we found, not what would be used in a temple and certainly not a valuable piece to anyone but us. However, it has a lot of personal meaning and carries some great memories from our travels.)
There is wonderful creative expression seen in many ways in daily life. Not all Buddhists use altars but the ones in this household definitely do. Grant spent some time this weekend creating what he calls our “healing altar.” It sits in front of the living room window, and when the curtains are open the view is of the trees and the myriad birds in the neighbourhood. It is not a traditional setting up of an altar to be sure, but it expresses itself clearly.