untitled – silk banner

textile | transformation
Hampshire, England

It often happened during the years when I was teaching art at Brockwood Park School in Hampshire, England, that my own artwork had its origin in classroom activities.

My keen group of students were learning how to paint on silk and other fibers as part of a fiber art program. They also wanted to explore off-loom weaving processes.

I had a wonderful stash of painted silk color samples from studio experiments in earlier days, and laminated them onto canvas to make ribbon strips. In the attic I found a discarded window blind made of narrow pieces of wood – these were painted using light-reflective acrylics.

 

Wonderingmind Studio: Miriam Louisa Simons, Silk Banner

 

The wooden sticks and the silk ribbons came together in a pattern discovered in one of the texts we studied – it’s a very old Chinese pattern symbolizing the ebb and flow of the Tao.

 

Wonderingmind Studio: Miriam Louisa Simons, Silk Banner - detail

A closer look.

The weaving was eventually mounted on a length of painted bamboo matting.
1780 x 650
painting on silk, off-loom weaving
silk Habotai, canvas, wooden sticks,
acrylic paints, fiber-reactive dyes


nomad collection: England


what my eyes saw on the way

Frederick Franck - Mariakapel

In the silence of drawing
hidden, yet visible, in each face
I see the Face of faces,
see:
that the plural of man
does not exist,
is our cruelest hallucination –
see that our Oneness is infinite differentiation,
see:
that the pattern of the universe
and mine
are not-two,
that what lives in me
is the Tao
in which all lives.

THIS IS NOT WHAT I BELIEVE
BUT WHAT MY EYES
SAW ON THE WAY.

Having become
all these faces, all these bodies,
a meadow, a flower,
a night moth and a cow,
A STRANGER NO LONGER
I AM AT HOME,
BELOVED EARTH!

– Frederick Franck, The Awakened Eye


Frederick Franck was one of my most treasured teachers. He taught me how to see, how to draw as though my life depended on it, and how to live with eyes wideawake.

My website the awakened eye is dedicated to him and his vision.
See:
Frederick Franck’s to-do list
Frederick Franck, artisan


Drawing by Frederick Franck, Mariakapel


and then along came Lu

 

Miriam Louisa Simons: detail from scroll - Lu

Lu,  220 x 220 

Detail from scroll  (980 x 355)
torn khadi papers, stainless steel gauze, acrylic paints
lurex threads, textured canvas, ceramic tile fragment

 

I dug out my Zen and Taoist texts, poked around online encyclopedialand, and found that Mu and Ku are Japanese words with – to the uninitiated – apparently similar meaning.

Mu: lit. nothing.  Space, emptiness, clearness, transparency.

Ku: lit. sky, space, mouth.  Three-dimensional void, sunyata, emptiness.

Wu is a Chinese Taoist word.  Lit. not have, without.  Commonly used to indicate not-being, creative quietude, letting-be.  Not too far out of step with Mu and Ku, it seems to me.

Then I looked up Lu.  Unsurprisingly it’s a shortening of Louisa, and guess what?  It means famous warrior and light.  I don’t know about the warrior bit, but I love the light.

And I love the way my work teaches me all I need to know.


a kakemono called ku