French Knots; Again

Over the years, I have done many successful portraits using French Knots. The work began with this portrait of my father and me- using the process of making the portrait to mourn his loss.

Embroidery 1998 from 1990 Photo

The work continues today; this latest one a view of me sitting on a piece of denim furniture I created with my omer portraits as the background. The flying geese border is a homage to one of SilkDenim’s most successful garments, The Poncho.

Self Portrait 2021; 15″ X 13″; embroidery, patchwork, hand quilting

You are welcome to watch a bit of the process of making this piece in this video.

A Ten Year Plan

I have always been a little ahead and to the left and so it makes perfect sense that I would decide to make and execute a ten-year-plan to get me to my 80th birthday. There are many parts to the plan- to be revealed as we go- the one for today is the final phase of developing art quilts. What does that even mean???? I’m not entirely sure, but stick with my process because, for sure, it’s going to be fun!

Reviewing this Tree of Life Quilt that was part of Quilt National 2011, inspired the action of trying it again, ten years later- adding all of my wonderous knowledge and experience over this time period.

Tree of Life 2011

To begin-the palette: last time I went to the Salvation Army and picked the colors I could find that had 4 values- This time, I am using my Omer Calendar to make sure I will focus on each divine attribute- so I wanted 7 colors plus black to white and this time up my game to 5 values of each ( 5 values is what I have always used in the French knot embroideries- making the color much more nuanced).

And so long ago captured inspiration to help me get started on the form:

The Magic Of The Internet

Mit in drinnen, Sarah and I are working on a project with Style412 (more on that another time) and sales of one of our most practical totes- The Reusable Lightweight Packable Grocery Carry-All Recycled Shirts Bag Tote, Roll- up, Great for Produce, Versatile Packing start flowing into our inbox.

It’s crazy for us- three at once- then two more- then two to send as gifts along with our big schmatta and looking at our ETSY site as I write- more than 20 people have the Reusable Tote in their carts. How did this happen???

A friend let us in on the secret: the tote was featured on the Claire & Erica A Thing or Two Newsletter as one of Claire’s recommendations: Finding room in my heart and my home for another tote—one so good it makes me wish we still had a store so we could sell it ourselves. Here it is:

Imagine a world with fewer plastic bags and take-out cartons. Like all our bags, the shirts tote has endless uses, but it was inspired by our love of food shopping mixed with our desire to create less waste.

A lightweight packable carry all bag – but cooler and more versatile than all those weird nylon or polyester bags. Use it to bag produce at the grocery store, or have it rolled up in your purse for an impromptu shop, or use it to help organize packing as a bag within a bag / suitcase.

Made from 100% recycled shirting. Cleverly constructed using recycled shirt seams as ties to roll the bag up for take away.

Personalization option: send us your own shirts from which we can make your bags or request colors!

Made in Pittsburgh upon order. All items are one-of-a-kind, unique, and vary. The photos shown here are just examples.

Check out our video of how to roll it HERE

Weeks Four and Five: Netzach and Hod

I have always had trouble separating Netzach and Hod. I’m pretty sure it’s a common Kabbalistic problem. Presenting opposite each other at the bottom of the tree makes them too co-creatively interdependent to hold one without the other. However, this week and next help because when we take first netzach and then hod and experience them with each of the other sefirot, their individual characters become a little clearer.

Netzach is eternity in Each Moment Connection to All that Was, All that Is, All that Will Be, a transformation today that affects generations to come. Hod is being in the Presence in time and space, open to the glory of the moment.

Today, day twenty-seven is Yesod in Netzach- the longing to connect through past present and future, symbolized personally with another trip to the cemetery and a new self-portrait embroidery in process.

Counting The Omer Week Three: Tiferet

Tiferet is a challenging sefirot because of our tendency to elevate its importance making it seem central to our successful integration of the divine. The trick is to deflate its central idea of total acceptance and the goodness to be very simply inline with all of the other sefirot– one might call it the zen approach to Kabbalah!

Today, Thursday, being day 18, we have the task of finding the Eternity/Vision/Endurance of Netzach in the Radiance/Balance/Harmony/Truth of Tiferet.

For me, it seems related to my search for my maternal great-grandfather. Trying to find his grave (I will have to return to the cemetery again), I came upon other members of his family, his brother who died in a car accident:

And my great-grandparents-his wife’s parents, Noah and Libbie Golanty, one of whom I was named after:

Week Two of Counting The Omer: Gevorah

Yesterday, on the 10th day of the journey to Sinai, we explored tiferet v gevurah, the ability to temper our judgment of self, or others, or the journey itself allowing for the blended balance of beauty and power to pace ourselves throughout. Tiferet is the blueprint for change with balance, both internally and with others applied to our gevurah strength.

Tiferet in Gevorah

Today, on the 11th day of the journey to Sinai, we explored netzach v gevurah, determined to stay focused and overcome obstacles, knowing that success is determined in each and every moment, as it is experienced through our chesed/gevorah balanced perspective.

Ritual For Moving From A Home

  • Candles
  • wine or juice
  • incense or sage
  • something sweet

Start in the main living area, light the candles, and remember the very first time you saw this room. Have a bite to eat and something to drink as you reminisce some important times or events that happened in this room. Light the incense and circle the room. Gassho (hands pressed together in front of the chest) to the room and wish it the freedom to serve future dwellers.

Carry the lite candles, food and drink to the next room and repeat this process. Continue in this manner for every room. Take your time. Take in the memories and the feelings. As you leave each room, turn to thank it for all that it gave you.

When you have been through the whole house, leave by the front door with a final gassho of thanks and respect.

Week One-LovingKindness

Chesed Flags

Today, being day 2 of the counting of the omer, the emphasis is gevorah, strength, within chesed, lovingkindness. Yesterday, the first day, was pretty easy, chesed in chesed, transcendence through our capacity and practice to give and receive love, allows me to wash myself in overflowing loving kindness: I’ll do what I want, as I want, as much as I want, allowing for as much love as possible to myself and others.

Gevorah in Chesed

As the week progresses, we are obliged to add in the other divine aspects making it a little more complicated. Gevorah, infusing the kindness with strength, reminds me of the phrase tough love. For gevorah in chesed, love establishes boundaries that protect, show responsibility, and safeguard well-being. It is compassion without the enabling. It is limiting the lovingkindness to limit overwhelming and enable something constructive.

P.S. It is now one day later. Today we count Tiferet in Chesed. Tiferest is harmony, balance, acceptance and on this day, applied to chesed, allowing our love to be just as it is in this very moment.

Counting The Omer

From Leviticus 23:1516: And you shall count for yourselves from the morrow of the Shabbat, from the day that you bring the Omer (offering) that is raised, seven complete weeks there shall be until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count fifty days. The Omer is counted from the second night of Passover through the night before Shavuot. Keep the count along with me this year!!!

Week One: Chesed: Transcendence through Love, our capacity and practice to give and receive love

  • Day One: Chesed of Chesed
  • Day Two: Gevurah of Chesed
  • Day Three: Tiferet of Chesed
  • Day Four: Netzach of Chesed
  • Day Five: Hod of Chesed
  • Day Six: Yesod of Chesed
  • Day Seven: Malchut of Chesed

Week two: Gevurah: Strength/Judgment/Discernment, discipline with a measure of respect and awe

  • Day 8: Day One of Week 2: Chesed of Gevurah
  • Day 9: Day Two of Week 2: Gevurah of Gevurah
  • Day 10: Day Three of Week 2: Tiferet of Gevurah
  • Day 11: Day Four of Week 2: Netzach of Gevurah
  • Day 12: Day Five of Week 2: Hod of Gevurah
  • Day 13: Day Six of Week 2: Yesod of Gevurah
  • Day 14: Day Seven of Week 2: Malchut of Gevurah

Week three: Tiferet: Radiance/Balance/Harmony/Truth, notice the subtle and vibrant palates in nature, your waves of emotions, the beauty and brokenness all together in truth

  • Day 15: Day One of Week 3: Chesed of Tiferet
  • Day 16: Day Two of Week 3: Gevurah of Tiferet
  • Day 17: Day Three of Week 3: Tiferet of Tiferet
  • Day 18: Day Four of Week 3: Netzach of Tiferet
  • Day 19: Day Five of Week 3: Hod of Tiferet
  • Day 20: Day Six of Week 3: Yesod of Tiferet
  • Day 21: Day Seven of Week 3: Malchut of Tiferet

Week four: Netzach: Eternity/Vision/Endurance, Eternity in Each Moment Connection to All that Was, All that Is, All that Will Be, a transformation today that affects generations to come

  • Day 22: Day One of Week 4: Chesed of Netzach
  • Day 23: Day Two of Week 4: Gevurah of Netzach
  • Day 24: Day Three of Week 4: Tiferet of Netzach
  • Day 25: Day Four of Week 4: Netzach of Netzach
  • Day 26: Day Five of Week 4: Hod of Netzach
  • Day 27: Day Six of Week 4: Yesod of Netzach
  • Day 28: Day Seven of Week 4: Malchut of Netzach

Week five: Hod: Presence/Gratitude/Humility, Being in the Presence and open to the glory of the moment

  • Day 29: Day One of Week 5: Chesed of Hod
  • Day 30: Day Two of Week 5: Gevurah of Hod
  • Day 31: Day Three of Week 5: Tiferet of Hod
  • Day 32: Day Four of Week 5: Netzach of Hod
  • Day 33: Day Five of Week 5: Hod of Hod, Lag Ba Omer
  • Day 34: Day Six of Week 5: Yesod of Hod
  • Day 35: Day Seven of Week 5: Malchut of Hod

Week six: Yesod: Foundation/Connection, The rock that supports, sustains and brings forth our lives rising from deep within the Mystery

  • Day 36: Day One of Week 6: Chesed of Yesod
  • Day 37: Day Two of Week 6: Gevurah of Yesod
  • Day 38: Day Three of Week 6: Tiferet of Yesod
  • Day 39: Day Four of Week 6: Netzach of Yesod
  • Day 40: Day Five of Week 6: Hod of Yesod
  • Day 41: Day Six of Week 6: Yesod of Yesod
  • Day 42: Day Seven of Week 6: Malchut of Yesod

Week seven: Malchut/Shechina: Majesty/Divine Presence, The Flow Of The Most High The Indwelling Of Divine Presence as a state of being and a sense of belonging

  • Day 43: Day One of Week 7: Chesed of Malchut
  • Day 44: Day Two of Week 7: Gevurah of Malchut
  • Day 45: Day Three of Week 7: Tiferet of Malchut
  • Day 46: Day Four of Week 7: Netzach of Malchut
  • Day 47: Day Five of Week 7: Hod of Malchut
  • Day 48: Day Six of Week 7: Yesod of Malchut
  • Day 49: Day Seven of Week 7: Malchut of Malchut