Today I learned that embroidery hoop art is a thing. A good thing.
This week is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, aka the Festival of Booths, which involves building a small booth in your back yard and then having your friends over to eat snacks in your small booth. As with most Jewish practices, there are numerous rules about the booth. Also, this holiday involves shaking a bunch of leaves with a citron. It’s a whole thing. Today, my parents took us to a holiday party their friends were having down in Vail.
Typically, your booth—the sukkah—is decorated with various items of produce hung from the ceiling (Sukkot is a harvest festival), but my parent’s friends instead opted to decorate theirs with laminated photos of sukkah parties past and embroidery hoop art made by all the people who visit their sukkah.
Koi are not a traditional thematic element of the holiday, but my parents’ friends also have a nice 16,000 koi pond, home to some granddaddy fish, so they were pleased.
“Chag Sameach” is the all-purpose holiday greeting in Hebrew; you can use it for any happy holiday. 5780 is the current year in the Jewish calendar.
The design was executed with a combination of Sharpies and fabric markers.
I’m clearly a bit behind on blogging; I have 2 more paper designs to share this week.
My late lamented mosaic dragon, 1998.
In the late 90s, I was living in a 4th story walk-up in Chicago. Following an altercation with a previous friend/tenant, my roommates and I found ourselves without a coffee table. I came up this old door in an alley, dragged it up the stairs, and spent a couple weeks piecing this mosaic together and building a table under it. Although I did everything wrong, and the table itself wasn’t that wonderful, I was extremely proud of my work. I had this table until about 2003. In grad school, I had a close friend who was blind, and it got a little painful and tiresome to watch him walking into this coffee table every time he came over. I pushed it into the corner and tipped it on its side to accommodate him, and left it that way over the summer when I went to study abroad. In the sweltering humidity of an un-air conditioned Michigan summer, the wood swelled and shrunk with the changes in temperature, and the mosaic fell out. I tried to repair it but it proved impossible. This photo is all the remains of the excellent mosaic table.
Dragon Kite! 1991. Sort of banged up but still cool. Probably would still fly.
My high school offered a gym class (not for freshman, who had to run the mile and lift weights and do all the horrible stuff the state of Illinois required) called Unique PE. We called it Gym for the Non-Competitive Student. This is where all the hippies, Goths, and burnouts ended up. No dodgeball here. We learned to walk on stilts, ride a unicycle, and juggle. One of the units was to decorate and fly a kite. Somehow, I was the only person who actually did it, using markers and colored pencils to draw this fantastic wyvern. The kite only flew for about 10 minutes, since our gym periods weren’t that long when you factored in changing clothes, and no one else had completely the assignment, but it did fly. Then, I put it away, to keep it safe from kite-eating trees.
Postcard from the Idyllia Public Library. Yes, this imaginary library in an imaginary country houses a lovely Chilhuly chandelier. The building itself is based on the architecture of the dorm I live in all four years of college.
Exercise 7, to create a country, was among my favorite prompts in this book. A rather involved set of instruction suggested details to imagine about the place, and, as I have created many, many imaginary countries in my life, it was easy to build something huge and fanciful and fulfilling. It was possible to flex all the creative muscles in a serious fashion but to withhold judgement, giving reign to creativity.
Postcard home: I blanked out my parents’ address, because you know there are some weirdos on the Internet.
The second part of the exercise involved creating a postcard from the imaginary country, writing a message home on the back about a vacation in the imaginary country, and then adding a stamp from the imaginary country. I drew the postcard 8.5 x 11 and made that stamp proportionally larger just because it’s easier to work in that format. I used two kinds of markers: Crayolas and Sharpies. Some of the themes from this exercise echoed in later works.
Especially proud of this stamp. The economy of Idyllia is based on semi-precious stones. It is a island founded by dragons and covered with banana trees. I am the queen.