All images courtesy Karen Lohn
Grand Marais resident Karen Lohn is concerned about the world and where we're headed. But rather than try to change things on a global scale, she's working on helping individuals find their own inner peace.
Lohn, a licensed psychologist, is the author of a new book called "Peace Fibres: stitching a soulful world," which uses the act of working with fibers as a means of working toward peace, and building a sense of connection with other cultures.
Mongolian spinners to turn Bactrian camel hairs into yarn
Lohn says she was inspired to write the book by her own exposure to weaving and textiles:
Looking down fairly often, taking note of who clothed me that day was the initial inspiration for Peace Fibres. I am the lucky recipient of scarves, jackets, sweaters, and other clothing whether knit, crocheted, woven, or stitched by family and friends. When I wear a garment handmade by someone I care about, I touch it gently and feel connected to that person.
Then, I took a trip to the Far East with my sister. With no intention of
focusing on textiles, in each country we visited, fibre work became a focus.
We stroked glorious silks in Hong Kong; we visited back strap weavers in the
Hill tribes of Thailand; and, we observed a circle of batik workers in Java.
We brought items from women's cooperatives back with us and I again felt
joined with the hands that produced them. It became clear to me that fibre
work serves to connect people; it builds relationship, the foundation for
Traditional braids worn in Guatemala
Once back home, Lohn created activities that use the weaving of fibers as a metaphor for personal development. Not just knitting and friendship bracelets, but also meditation exercises, and "threads for thought:"
It is based on the premise that peace begins within, then radiates in ever-expanding webs of connection. It underlines our interdependence with nature as the source of fibres that serve every human need from basic subsistence to inspirational works of art. From indigenous villages to intimate relationships, fibres connect. And, Peace Fibres invites readers to experience the meditative and sensual aspects of working with fibres through activities and simple symbolic projects.
Women of Paraguay capture the fractal patterns of nature by gracefully stitching layers connected to layers in a durable web of beauty and strength called Ñandutí, or Paraguayan lace.
From Native American dream catchers to the World Wide Web, Lohn found many images of weaving and webs that implied both greater community and greater strength. That's something she's hoping her book "Peace Fibres" will help create:
My aim for readers of Peace Fibres is to stimulate awareness, awe, and action. The stories and "Threads for Thought" offer awareness of the multidimensional roles served through fibre, while the activities and projects offer hands-on experiences of meaning and connection. Throughout, I encourage exploration of organizations throughout the world that are serving to empower the marginalized and offer nurturing creations to those in need. All is aimed at creating conditions that contribute to personal and political peace.
You can find out more about Peace Fibres here.
Posted at 7:00 AM on May 19, 2011
by Chris Roberts
Filed under: Art Hounds
This week's hounds hunt down a jazz trio with Minnesota roots tackling Stravinsky's signature work, an indie rock band from Philly that's part vaudeville, part Modest Mouse, a musical dialogue between Native American and classical musicians.
(Want to be an art hound? Sign up!)
Local jazz writer and commentator Pamela Espeland says it's no surprise a jazz trio such as The Bad Plus, which specializes in re-envisioning pop hits and classical masterpieces, would take on Stravinsky's best known ballet in its entirety. The Bad Plus is performing "On Sacred Ground: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring," Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at the Loring Theater in Minneapolis. On Saturday, there'll be an after-show party at the Red Stag Supper Club.
Allison Herrera, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's "Minnesota Original" series, will be in Mankato on Sunday, May 22, for a very special concert. "The Dakota Music Tour" features the Mankato Symphony, the Maza Kute Drum Group from Nebraska, MinnOrch principal trumpeter Manny Laureano and native storyteller M. Cochise Anderson performing the music of Twin Cities composer and flautist Brent Michael Davids. Davids wrote a piece commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Dakota/U.S. war of 1862. In December of 1862, 38 Dakota men were hung in Mankato, the largest mass execution in American history. The Dakota Music Tour will also make stops in Redwood Falls, Granite Falls, and Winona.
Gretchen Boyum is quite smitten with the music of the experimental indie rock band "Man Man." Gretchen, who manages the Kaddatz Gallery in Fergus Falls, saw Man Man play in its native Philadelphia and was impressed by all the instruments the members employed and their sense of performance as art. Her memories are so fond of that show she's making a three hour bee line from Fergus to First Avenue on Monday, May 23rd, to see Man Man live on the main stage.
There's a lovely article in the New York Times about the rise in "yarn-bombing." In essence, women are taking to the streets to add their own commentary with knitting needles, making the world a warmer, fuzzier place. Malia Wollan (woolen?) writes:
It is a global phenomenon, with yarn bombers taking their brightly colored fuzzy work to Europe, Asia and beyond. In Paris, a yarn culprit has filled sidewalk cracks with colorful knots of yarn. In Denver, a group called Ladies Fancywork Society has crocheted tree trunks, park benches and public telephones. Seattle has the YarnCore collective ("Hardcore Chicks With Sharp Sticks") and Stockholm has the knit crew Masquerade. In London, Knit the City has "yarnstormed" fountains and fences. And in Melbourne, Australia, a woman known as Bali conjures up cozies for bike racks and bus stops.
To record their ephemeral works (the fragile pieces begin to fray within weeks), yarn bombers photograph and videotape their creations and upload them to blogs, social networks and Web sites for all the world to see.
Sometimes called grandma graffiti, the movement got a boost, and a manifesto, in 2009 with the publication of the book "Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti," by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain, knitters from Vancouver, Canada. It is part coffee-table book, with color photographs of creative bombs, and part tutorial, with tips like wearing "ninja" black to avoid capture.
Grandma graffiti artists dressed in ninja black - I love it!
Check out this video of yarn artist Olek as she wraps the bull of Wall Street into his own little knit cozy.
Posted at 11:29 AM on May 19, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
Punch, of Punch and Judy fame, will not be going to heaven
Image courtesy Walker Art Center
So there's been a lot of talk lately about the end of the world.
The whole discussion reminds me of my college years, when a classmate and dear friend who was concerned for my salvation gave me a list titled "Top ten things to do when the Rapture happens." It included such advice as "find a bible and stand on it" - I think the ideas was to stand on holy ground in the hope of being saved.
I told my brother about the list and he recommended I make my friend my own list: "Top ten things to do if the Rapture doesn't happen." Ideas included "read a good book" and "see a movie." Needless to say, I never gave her the list.
But, in case we find that this weekend we are still around, here are a few things you can do.
2. Draw your favorite demon: The Minnesota Comic Book Association presents its SpringCon Comic Book Celebration on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, featuring a comic book market, an art show, and lots of workshops for aspiring comic book artists...plus a chapel service.
3. Build your own Paradise: Legos!! The Minneapolis Convention Center hosts KidsFest (I think they are talking about kids of all ages here), which features four acres of Lego activities, including race ramps, a model gallery, and opportunities to talk with master builders. Just imagine what you could build... Oh and don't forget to bring your kids, too.
4. Go to Art Heaven: Art-A-Whirl: Over 500 artists will be showing their handiwork in warehouses and galleries throughout northeast Minneapolis. Lots of live music and other fun attractions, too.
5. Partake in a Sacred Ritual: The Bad Plus performs "On Sacred Ground: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring", reinterpreting the ballet with their distinct modern jazz style.
Heck, with this much fun about, why leave?
Ah, to be young and limber. Parkour - the art of "freerunning" - combines martial arts with gymnastics. The idea is to traverse an obstacle course as smoothly, and as quickly as possible, using only your body. Practioners of parkour are called "traceurs."
Frenchman David Belle created the sport, and it's since taken off in action films, most notably District 13 and District 13: Ultimatum (starring Belle) and the opening scene in the James Bond film Casino Royale (the only time I found myself rooting for the bad guy in a Bond film).
This week City Pages reports on the rise of parkour in Minnesota, particularly in Eagan.
"It's really weird to think that just a few years ago we would get like six people out here for weekend training; today we had like 30," [Chad] Zwadlo says. "The major national jams will sometimes only get like 50 people, and we're pulling numbers close to that on a random Sunday."
As for why parkour is growing at such a rapid rate, especially in the Twin Cities, Skinny says the answer is that it's the most natural sport of all.
"Think about it like this: When you're a kid, you just run around and climb on bars and jump off of stuff. You're playing," Skinny says. "Then as we get older, society tells you that you need to stop doing that. They tell us that we need start walking in a straight line on the sidewalk, telling us to stop playing.
"What we're doing here today, this is just us getting back to our roots: We're playing and having fun."
Of course, the article also talks about the dangers of doing a back-flip on concrete. Interested in becoming a traceur? Find out about classes in the sport here.
Todd Boss and Angella Kassube are on to something big.
Boss - a poet - and Kassube - a designer/animator - have created what they call "motionpoems." They're using poems as the scripts for animated shorts. The results are otherworldly:
It started out with just Kassube animating Boss' poetry, but it's expanding to something much bigger; they're connecting filmmakers with poets from around the world. Their goal is to increase the audience for poetry by turning them into compelling short films.
Up until now it's been a volunteer project, but Motionpoems has signed on to animate 12-15 poems to accompany Scribner's 2011 Best American Poetry anthology and is looking to pay participants a stipend for their work.
Euan Kerr reported on the Motionpoems project a while back - you can read that here.
You can see more poetry in motion here. What do you think? Are you a traditionalist, or do you think animating poetry in order to draw in a younger crowd is a good idea?(1 Comments)
Novelist Justin Cronin is fascinated by vampires, so much so that he's writing a trilogy about them. But his writing is not the romantic type - instead he is bent on making them a plausible beast with scientific reasons for its reaction to garlic, and the need to stake one through the heart to kill it dead.
Today Kerri Miller interviewed him on Midmorning about the first book in the trilogy, The Passage. During the conversation Cronin explained why vampires are simply cooler than other monsters, especially as a literary device.
We have four basic monster stories that we come back to again and again: We've got Frankenstein, we've got the werewolf, we've got the zombie and we've got the vampire.And I think the Vampire figure wins - it's the most interesting, it has the best details, I think it has the most plasticity as a story if you're going to use it as a metaphor for whatever's on your mind. I mean werewolves are great but the one message of the werewolf story is that men are dogs, which we all know, so it feels a little obvious. But the vampire story is full of all kinds of interesting little bits and it's very easy to maneuver the pieces and to make it fit a pressing anxiety of the moment.
You can listen to the whole interview by clicking on the link below: