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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Connected thoughts

Those are Tibetan prayer flags at work in my friend Deb's yard. Deb, of Bures Porcelain, whose hand carved plaques and small birds I have left around America. 


The first time I visited, a thin line of seer cloths hung. I did not know what they were. Another time I visited, a new line was added, and I commented, and asked, and realized I was looking at something new to me.

Prayer flags, that waft hopes and dreams to the universe, spreading good will and compassion. I wonder if I ever knew that, but why question. It's a humble and humbling concept. 

When I felt the need to weave towels again, and send them off to people who would enjoy them, I faced the previously mentioned problem of human nature and its overwhelming urge to do something in return. And so, by all means, if I send you a towel, and I probably will, if obligation weighs, send me a note. I like those. And keep doing your random acts of kindness.



This morning I hemmed the towels. One of the royal blue towels has a weaving error, a skip, that I must fasten. Whoever gets that towel will be told, and is welcome to point it out to everyone. Why waste a perfectly good towel. In the old days it would be called a house towel, and sent to live in the towel drawer in the kitchen.

31 comments:

  1. I love the concept of the prayer flags. I see them often in my city as we have a few monasteries here. I love seeing your weaving results too.

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  2. Well, Joanne, you found a solution for me. I broke my wrist, and can't weave for a while, so I'm cleaning up the sewing room. I have a stack of samples, remnants with treadling errors and just plain scraps. Now I know that I will turn them into weavers' prayer flags, for me and my weaving buddies. Thank you!

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  3. FYI, Quakers (I think, maybe it's Mennonites or Amish) would deliberately include an error in their quilts on the premise that only God can create perfection.

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    1. It seems attached to the Amish, who protest it was attached to them.

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    2. Sounds similar to the concept of wabi sabi, the Japanese concept of transience and imperfection (source: Wikipedia), and Turkish and Persian rugs, which deliberately include an error because Allah is supposed to be the only one who makes perfect things. I like the idea of embracing errors!

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  4. as my friend Kathy tells me with consternation whenever I point out a small flaw in one of my pieces...Ellen, you are the only one who will ever see that!

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  5. so I didn't mean to click publish as I was going to remark on the prayer flags which I love. I have a string of them in my studio and unfortunately they don't wave in the breeze because...indoors but they are small and paper and would disintegrate quickly outside. I'll have to figure out some permanent ones for outside.

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  6. I filled up a red cedar tree with cheap bandanas till I couldn't reach any higher. A visitor said it was weird. I thought he was a dummy.

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  7. I once thought that I made a mistake, but then I realized I was wrong. :)

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  8. The imperfect towel will simply have character. When I was a child and there was no baby (not very often)in the house we used diapers for all sorts of cleaning. They absorb and hold liquids and they are soft.

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    1. and they last forever, just last year my last one disintegrated, and the grandson who they belonged to is in his twenties now.

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  9. I so hope the folks who receive your towels appreciate the work and skill involved! Mistakes are the best thing, I reckon! I am very skilled in them.
    Prayer flags are all over this town, mostly hand made and brightly colored. I love them and the sentiment behind them. I have been meaning to make some for our deck, I put some in our plum tree but they did not please the birds.Freaked them all the way out!

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  10. I like the idea of celebrating imperfection, love the prayer flags, and am moved (a lot) by the idea of prayer flags specifically for weavers.
    And, as I so often say, I LOVE my towels. And use them often.

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  11. I've seen many strings of those prayer flags here in Adelaide, people string them along front porches sometimes, but most are glimpsed through a fence, strung along the backyards.

    A weaving imperfection? That just makes the towels so much more personal. I love mine, and when I show them to people they are impressed. I showed them recently to my 83 year old neighbour who also weaves and she was very interested in the pattern, I said it was an old Quaker style you had resurrected. She loves it. Hers is a table loom, not a floor loom.

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  12. I have a friend who leans toward Buddhism and has a solar-powered prayer wheel on his dashboard of his car which whizzes round and round constantly. He says it catches all the carnal thoughts he has about women when he is out driving. He also says that it really needs emptying.

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  13. Hari OM
    Your towels are filled with heart and good will and abosolutely serve the purpose of the prayer flags! I adore mine and every time I handle them, send you an 'airhug'!!! YAM xx

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  14. Many of my knitting projects were mine for the same reason. I was never good at arts and crafts.

    The prayer flags are a wonderful tradition!

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  15. I like prayer flags too. I've had a couple of lovely sets in the past that had Divine Feminine and pagan themes.

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  16. A tiny error is a sign of something made by hand......a sign of humanity.

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  17. Mine have found a home in my kitchen, the ones you made for the girls will have to wait a few weeks to get there. Thank you, Joanne. Very much.

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  18. Thank you for the reminder - mine came down with my pergola this past winter and I need to get them up and flying again.

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  19. I'd like to have prayer flags. I don't know how I'd hang them up.

    Love,
    Janie

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  20. The towels, hand woven by you, are like messages sent faraway into the blue. The ones I got had the feeling of it, anyhow.

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  21. When I see you beautiful towels it makes me wish I had learned to weave.

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  22. I saw them in Siberia, near Lake Baikal, prayer flags. I had never seen them anywhere before. I came across them in woods by the lakeside strung through a circle of trees, not far from the road. It was a very weird finding them in the middle of nowhere. The bus driver stopped so I could see them and walk round them but we couldn't speak about them because be only spoke Russian. Your towels look good for drying on, with substance.

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  23. We often see these lines of flags mainly for a wedding here.
    Merle,,,,,,,,,

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  24. People buy towels with flags on them for the beach/pool. I don't think many of them are praying but it would be nice to think so.

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  25. I've never seen prayer flags before. An interesting idea. We could do with some in Northern Ireland, they'd be more positive than the overtly sectarian flags that go up everywhere at this time of year.

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  26. My neighbour has prayer flags on the fence so I hope I share in the goodness.

    And nothing's handmade if it's perfect!

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  27. I went out for a walk Friday morning and came across a yard with a display of Tibetan Prayer Flags. I knew what they were because a friend had told me about them but not so much the why of them. This yard also had a metal "arm" like what you might stick in the ground to display a planter, and on the arm were multiple wooden rings. I wasn't sure what these were for...were they an invitation to somehow leave your own prayer flag? Were they up for adoption? Did they have some other meaning? Does your friend have wooden rings in her display? Your hand woven dish towels are like your own Tibetan Prayer Flags, emissaries of your well wishes sent out into the world.

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