Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Some of These Things Are Like the Others

A full day of teaching and a yoga intensive training session left me exhausted and dealing with a bout of fatigue.  We were discussing the Gita and my yoga nerdiness came to the fore, so much so that I got carried away (who, me?) to the point where my passion may have been mistaken for anger and hostility, which wasn't my intent.  It's not only asana practice that challenges me.

When I disregard the signals my body sends, in this case to ease up on my intensity, that same body turns up the volume until it has my full attention.  Usually that means I get a final warning (the fatigue) before I'm forced into bed for a few days to recover.  I'm slowly learning to listen to these signals.  When the fatigue comes, I don't push through it.  I simply submit, stay home and stay quiet, resting until my energy returns. (When I grow up, I want to be the person who listens to her body before the fatigue knocks her over.)

Part of my retreat means returning to my tapestry diary.  The rhythm of the weft packing into warp, the slow advance of the cloth as it builds brings me back into focus. If my attention drifts from Now, the simple movement of "one over, one under" is broken, the weft sequence is lost and the cloth becomes unstable.  Starting again at the point of the error is the only way to draw things back into line.

I've completed Days 10 and 11.  There was no weaving yesterday.  Each day is divided with a row of twining; missed days are marked by a single twined row.  I'm approaching the end of this journey-the plan is to end on Day 14.  Day 11 felt like a soumak day (click the link to see the potential of this technique).  This is the back of the piece:

From this side, the knots blend into the weaving, adding a bit of texture to the flat weave. Turn the piece around to the front and you have something different:

(This specific soumak stitch resembles knitting, which may be why I enjoy it so much.  For me, it's further proof of the links between the crafts I love.)

As a meditation exercise, soumak is a concrete example of how things which appear so different are actually the same thing.  The differences lie in our perspectives: if I stand Here, I see This.  If I shift my gaze, This becomes That, although I know this is one technique, woven in one warp, using the same weft threads.

It's easy to see the disparities between opinions and people. It's much harder to stand back, take a larger view and realize that those two or three or millions of apparently disparate bodies and minds are bits of weft in a larger picture, each piece connecting to build a cohesive cloth. I'm working on it.



  1. wow that's pretty awesome! Are there specific rules/ guidelines for tapestry diaries..?

    1. Thanks. There are no rules, except for the ones you set yourself. If there is one common factor, I think it would be to set a goal of weaving every day or marking that you didn't in some way, just as you write dates in a journal. Other than that, you just go with it.
      Think of tapestry diaries as exercises to improve your tapestry skills. The more you weave, the better you'll get.