Finding Light in the Darkness
The change over from autumn to winter makes it impossible to not to notice the growing darkness. The landscape has shifted from the riotous colors of autumn to dull gold, brown and gray. Here, in central New York, November is one of the darkest months of the year. In addition to the shortening amount of daylight, we have more cloudy days than sunny days, due to moisture from the warm waters of Lake Ontario just north of us. An occasional snow fall temporarily lightens things up, but there is no mistaking that darkness has arrived. The good news is that in just under a month, the cycle will turn again toward the light. However, the light will begin as a tiny spark in a darkened landscape.
I found myself shifting my own work in response the changing environment. Snowflakes are now filling my workspace. Snowflakes are mandalas in miniature, and the possibilities in design is endless. Recently I bought some sparkly tencel thead (thread made from the cellulose of the gum tree) that was on sale. My inner crow draws me to all things sparkling and shiny, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to find a way to play with the thread. I started using the tencel thread with the yarn to make snowflakes and I am delighted with the result. Unfortunately, it is not easy to photograph, but all of the snowflakes dance with a subtle sparkle. It is a gentle reminder that even as the land and sky are turning toward darkness, the light remains, even if it is just a little sparkle for the moment.
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About My Work
Before I became a monk I made a living creating art. When I took the five Buddhist precepts in 2002 I was given the dharma name Do'an (pronounced Doe-ahn), which loosely means "path of the eye". From that moment on, the focus of my art shifted toward contemplative practice, in which I used meditation and breath to facilitate my creativity. I studied Asian brush painting and calligraphy techniques, which had a great influence on my painting style and composition. In 2008 I discovered fiber. I learned to knit, spin yarn, needle felt and weave.