|"So Shiva," front. Hand-dyed; commercial fabrics circa 2004 (Click to make larger.)|
Each year, in several consecutive week-long sessions held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Empty Spools hosts 60 or so renowned quilting and fiber-arts teachers. Atendees sign up for a class and stay with it for the week, and it's heaven. Three big meals a day await you in Asilomar's huge dining hall, and you walk from your room to class to meals and an evening program along tiny paths carved between tall grasses, windswept cypresses, and wild iris. Deer, woodpeckers and racoons abound. Many attendees take advantage of the boardwalks out in the dunes, enjoying their morning walks out near the rough sea. With your normal routine suspended, you feel you have nothing but a week of creativity and joy ahead.
While gathering my supplies for this class, I decided to create a vest honoring Shiva, a Hindu deity who brought us Hatha yoga. Fabric picturing Shiva is rare to non-existent, so I found some copyright-free images on the Internet and printed them out on fabric using my bubble-jet printer.
|"So Shiva," back|
As you can see, the main process is to collage elements cut from flowered and other fabrics in a pleasing manner. Here's sort of a creepy/cool story about the back of this vest: I made this vest in 2004. I attended my first yoga teacher training intensive with Tim Miller in 2005. In an expansive mood one day, Tim told us the story of how yoga came to humankind. Shiva was explaining yoga to his wife Paravati by the shores of a lake. A fish swam up and listened to the story. Meanwhile, Paravati had fallen asleep. When Shiva asked her if she was still listening, the fish answered "Yes." He then transformed to a human (some think the human was already inside the fish, like the Jonah story) and went out to bring yoga to ease our suffering. So that's why we have Matsyasana, and other fish poses in yoga today.
But here's the creepy/weird part: When I was putting together this vest, I hadn't heard that story, and didn't know about the fish. I added the fish because I wanted to use the mottled green "swamp pond" fabric that I'd painted in Micky Lawler's class years ago, so I created a lake with a fish in it that Shiva gazes at, and surrounded the lake with my swamp pond fabric.
When I told Tim, and he inspected the vest, his jaw sort of dropped. "You didn't know about the fish?" Do-do-do-do. (Sung to the Twilight Zone tune.)
|"So Shiva," reverse, back, foiled Indonesian batik|