Thursday, March 26, 2009


...contrivances used to shape, form and finish a task...

I confess.

I’m prone to surrendering to the premise that, if it weren’t for lack of a particular tool, I could surely create that true masterpiece. “If only I had a…”

As if the real reason for abandoning the pièce de résistance was if but for a tool!

Truly creative people do not forsake the venture when the perfect apparatus is not readily at hand. They push forward like a marathoner at mile 21. Figure. It. Out. Do it! Write this statement fifty times on the blackboard.

The purest form of creativity often arrives as a result of NOT possessing the perfect tool, but of an improvisation, a manipulation of what’s available at that moment.

Did DaVinci just reach for a tube a cerulean blue? Do you suppose today’s surgical instruments were present at the first heart transplant? I think not. Yet somehow, the artist of the canvas and the artist in the operating room developed a solution on the spot. We must remember…

We always have tools.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Button Jar

The Button Jar

We’ve all seen them.

Perhaps, like me, your Grandmother kept one stashed away, making regular contributions as religiously she did to her savings account.

I look at this magical jar now, filled with bits of shell, bone and plastic that once faithfully served countless articles of clothing and wonder. Why were you rescued? Many are beguiling little numbers, easy to understand why they were granted reprieve. Others, well, no-nonsense guys whose job could only have been to provide security. The stories they could tell! I imagine the petite pearlies attending weddings of long lost relatives, dancing the night away. The clunky wooden gadgets enduring frigid temperatures while securing a thick woolen coat, covered in snow.

Every one of these has something to say. I should like to think that they would be happy venturing out into the world again after all those years in captivity. Now they find their way to various artsy things, hopefully creating rich new histories in a world a century removed from whence they came.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Harris Tweed

Harris Tweed

Clò Mór (in Gaelic) is a hand-woven, handspun, hand dyed luxury cloth produced for centuries in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

A knitting savant from ages past miraculously interpreted this Scottish tweel into a pattern suitable for needlecraft. I should like to think that this genius admired the humble “crofters and cottars” of these islands toiling together, familial, in unimaginably harsh conditions toward the common goal of creating their twill. History-rich, Harris Tweed (the cloth) has survived the whims of fashion and the realities of business. This tweed has graced Nike shoes, the fictional detective Miss Marple and more recently, the hero of the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Robert Langdon, a.k.a., Tom Hanks.

The product produced by this knit pattern pays respect to the hand crafted nature and work ethic of the Scottish islanders from whom the pattern’s inspiration was drawn.

I’m still naively fascinated how clicking two needles together with a bit of yarn actually produces something so magical yet so functional. The Harris Tweed pattern has a raised, compact texture. Deceivingly simple yet with a complex-looking, underlying character. I think I can identify with that…

How to?

The Harris Tweed pattern is comprised of eight rows. (Eight rows must be completed in order for the pattern to be visible.)

The number of stitches cast-on must be in multiples of four, plus two. (i.e. 18, 22, 26, etc.)

Row 1: k2, *p2, k2; repeat from * to end of row
Row 2: p2, *k2, p2; repeat from * to end of row
Row 3: k
Row 4: p
Row 5: repeat Row 1
Row 6: repeat Row 2
Row 7: p
Row 8: k

This versatile stitch is “reversible”, i.e., pattern appears on right side as well as wrong side.

Monday, March 2, 2009



bittersweet;pleasure alloyed with pain

There’s something about completing a project or achieving a goal that can evoke an unexpected bittersweet response.

A goal to which time, energy and enthusiasm has been devoted, selfishly, now nears it’s finish. That seems to be when the thing creeps in, fog- like. It obscures the light of the accomplishment and shrouds the moment of celebration in chilly dampness. Now what?

A common malady of the creative type. It must be met head on, full force with the next most compelling project in the world. Just GO...