Inside the Studio

Inside the Studio

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exotica Botanica

Last Saturday we went to Seattle again for Saturday University at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The talk was called "Circling the Center: Pilgrimage in the Tibetan Cultural World." We took with us Pratistha and Shweta, friends from Kathmandu. Pratistha and Shweta are both Buddhist and the day was also Pratistha's birthday. Our friend Pam joined us as well. We all learned so much at the lecture and then went back to the house of P and S to have amazing Nepali food and do puja for Pratistha's birthday.

We enjoyed the talk tremendously. And plan to go again tomorrow (Saturday). The museum is in the same park as the Conservatory, so we couldn't resist going in and getting a tropical blast of warmth and flowers.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Earth to Venus

The view of Venus orbiting the sun as seen from Earth, and likewise how Earth looks from Venus as it orbits the sun. The pattern is a beautiful five-pointed star. It takes 8 years for Venus to make one star pattern: like shown above.

A few days ago Venus went "retrograde." What this means is that from where we sit on Earth and look at Venus up in the sky, it appears to be going backwards. This is just an illusion created from the different speeds of the two planets and that they are passing. Historically this has been a big deal in many cultures and many myths have been created about this time. They are myths of underworld journeys when Venus goes "below" to face demons and returns reborn as a morning star. The pentagram became a symbol of this planet and this journey of transformation.

Interestingly, Venus will be retrograde this time for 42 days. It is always about that amount. So I learned how to draw a 42 pointed star. In my geometry group we draw only with a compass, a straight edge, and pencil. So this is how this was done. 6x7=42, of course. So if you look carefully you can see that the six pointed star divides the circle every seventh point.

Last night in geometry I showed a new way (to us) to draw a pentagon/pentagram, in honor of Venus. Bill filled his page and all day today has continued to color his page.

I also learned yesterday how to find 60 equi-distant points around the circle, using only our geometer's tools. I was pretty excited, as we have all been trying to figure out 30 around and 60 around for some time. So when I figured it out, I was pretty excited, so I demonstrated this to our group as well. 60 around is about time: 60 minutes and 60 seconds build our clock, and time is ruled by Saturn. Saturn is the furthest planet out that can be seen with the naked eye, so to ancient time-keeper/astronomers Saturn was used to mark time.

This may all make me sound like an astrology geek, but I am not. It is really astronomy and archeology. I find it fascinating.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mother Time

"Every twenty-eight days the moon moves through all twelve signs of the zodiac to return to the same place in relation to the stars. Due to this lunar cycle, twenty-eight day months have divided the year in many cultures and still do in various Hindu, Islamic, and Hebrew traditions. Women’s menstrual cycles average twenty-eight days and have been symbolically related to the moon’s cycle throughout history. Interestingly, human gestation, the time it takes for a fetus to develop in the womb, averages 280 days. No wonder that the moon is often feminized and in many native cultures is called 'Mother' or 'Grandmother.'"

This is an excerpt from my new book edition project called Mother Time. I am working on 3 projects at once, all towards various deadlines. All the holidays are working ones for me! Billy has been a big help, cutting stencils and some linoleum for me, and cleaning the press in between as usual. I don't know what I would do without him. Shweta was also in the studio with me this weekend, helping me with excellent color suggestions and making multiple serious offers to organize and clean my studio. I could use some of that!

We were all pretty tired after having a lot of grandkids playing and climbing all over us, cooking, dish washing, and eating lots of pie. (It was all good.) We all had such a very good time. (The pies were 4: apple, cherry, pumpkin, and coconut cream. The grandchildren were 4, adult children were 4, Grandparents were 2, and the dirty dishes were endless.) There was even a snowball fight!

But we were tired the next day and Bill still worked so hard on a stencil for me to use for the print up top. Unfortunately, he cut a 42 pointed star instead of a 28, and we had to start all over again! I know I'll use it eventually, so it's nice to have it in the back file.

By the way, this printing style is done with stencils. The printing technique I learned from Kathy Kuehn, but designing and cutting stencils to make them I figured out on my own. I love it!