stuff and things

28 July 2010

So Shiva!

Perhaps collage suits me, for apart from my hippo, the only other Asilomar project I've started and finished is the Shiva vest begun in Rosemary Eichorn's class.
"So Shiva," front. Hand-dyed; commercial fabrics circa 2004 (Click to make larger.)
If you've read some of my older posts, you might remember seeing the hippo quilt, Bracelet of Kingdom, started in Susan Carlson's class.

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
The vest is reversible; here is Shiva dancing, as the Nataraj.


iHanna said...

What a beautiful fabric collage you've put together, you should be so proud. And the story was cool and not creepy, it's synchronisiti and it's awesome! :-)

Have a nice day, one creative-every-day-gal to another!

Threads of Inspiration said...

I think your vest is beautiful, a lovely design. The story of the fish is very uncanny. I think we are often helped from beyond to create meaning even if we are unaware of it. I have had a few occasions when I have made things and then had other people tell me the meaning of the work. It is like you tap into history and mythology through your hands.

Threads of Inspiration said...

Tina, thanks for stopping by my blog! We have had a ton of rain this summer, too much for me! But, that is why my gardens are so lush. We definitely can't grow lemons here (I wish we could) but we will have a hard freeze by the end of October.