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Nomad Girls, 2008, 24 x 35  ©Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

Nomad Girls, 2008, 24" x 35" ©Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

I’m traveling again, but this time no planes are required. Actually, it’s my blog that’s doing the migrating. My blog and my website are moving in together. And they’re even starting to look alike… like the proverbial dog and its owner! (You’ll understand the “greener pastures” in this post’s title when you get there…)

Check out our new home at silkthangka.com/blog . Make yourself comfortable and say hello. I like to know when my guests arrive 😉

And don’t forget to update your bookmarks and subscription settings. I hope to be seeing more of you as I finish up this techie stuff and get back to writing about life, love, textiles, and Tibetan art.

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What a beautiful morning! Clear sky. Sunshine. Quiet streets because everyone has left the city for the long May 1 weekend. A whole day in front of me to stitch. And, then… an unexpected gift!

The very creative Dee Wilcox, whom I recently met through Twitter, has awarded me a Kreativ Blogger award! I feel tremendously honored. And to keep the creative energy circulating, here are eight of my own favorite creative bloggers: kreative_award

I hope you enjoy exploring these blogs as much as I do.

Have an inspiring Saturday!

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So Many Ideas

The Blog Triage course that Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris are running is spectacular — inspiring, motivating, and, well, a bit overwhelming too!

These two women have put together a rich assortment of ideas to get and keep us writing. They clearly did their homework. And now they’re keeping up with us every day — giving feedback, encouragement, and coaching. Awesome!

This week’s exercise was to generate (and organize) a variety of ideas for blog posts, keeping our readers and our purpose firmly in mind.

So far, I’ve come up with a few categories and a random smattering of other intriguing things. Let me know what you think.

Here are my categories (and a picture of the little boy in my 2006 Pool of Light piece. He looks like he’s cooking up some ideas too!):

Pool of Light, detail. Tibetan silk appliqué by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

Pool of Light, detail. Tibetan silk appliqué 19x30" © Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

How To’s

  • how to hang a thangka
  • how to roll up a thangka
  • how to arrange the drape
  • how to clean a thangka (or as a conservator recently told me, “in a word, ‘don’t'”)
  • how to wrap a horsehair cord with silk thread
  • how to twist thread (ever examined a piece of string?)
  • how to photograph textile art (I’ve got more learning than teaching to do on this one, so I may ask your help!)

FAQs (the questions people ask me at screenings and exhibitions)

  • Where do you get the patience? (This one’s done!)
  • Where to get horsehair (along with stories of my adventures on the way to figuring it out)
  • How’s your eyesight?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How did you get in to your apprenticeship? Was it hard to get access, to be allowed in as an outsider?
  • Are spiritual practices an integral part of the work , mantras, visualization,…
  • Why I like to make thangkas on commission
  • How does commissioning a thangka work?
  • How do I choose which image to make
  • … and many more…

Lists

  • Tibetan art websites and blogs
  • Sites that link Art and Buddhism (or art and religion)
  • The blogs of our Blog Triage group
  • Blogs and websites that inspire me and might inspire you too
  • Tibetan art galleries and collections

Reviews & Reports

  • of Museums I visit
  • of Textile art exhibitions
  • of relevant books I read
  • of Buddhist and Tibetan-culture-related events

Interviews or Profiles (yikes! these will take some work, but could be great fun)

  • of other thangka artists
  • of other textile artists, especially those who are working in a traditional form
  • of other western artists working in a foreign cultural tradition

Random (and incomplete) smattering of other intriguing thoughts

  • Quirky observations of the expat life
  • Explanations of the parts of a thangka, how they’re constructed, the brocade mount, etc.
  • Articles and blog posts that inspired me or solved a problem
  • Relevant office supplies, software, and gadgets I’ve found helpful (like this great little online stopwatch for managing task time)
  • Balancing the solitary nature of art making (which appeals to the introverted part of me) with the need for social contact (to energize and awaken the extroverted part of me)
  • Explanations or translations of Tibetan art lingo, Buddhist lingo, thangka lingo
  • Physical objects I find or see which inspire me
  • Tibetan art scholarship news, events, writing, discoveries
  • Thangkas I’ve seen or am studying or find on the web
  • Continuing experiments with a variety of textile art techniques
  • Inspirations of various sorts, wherever they may turn up (and they’re everywhere!)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog — or even if you’ve just stopped by and like what you see — tell me some things you’d like to read about here. I’ll see what I can do.

I’d also love for you to help me fill in some details on the ideas I’ve outlined above. That way you can help me be more interesting to you. Sounds like a good thing for both of us!

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I’m afraid I have to ask you to be patient… if you’re waiting for the patience post.

As part of my effort to make this blog as useful, informative, fun, and vibrant as possible, I’m taking a 4-week Blog Triage class with Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris. (Click on their names to check out their blogs and see what good role models I’ve chosen!)

The first homework assignment is to describe my audience — who do I want to have reading my blog? In other words, who are you in my imagination and intention?

Well, maybe I have to start with who I am:

I move between being a creative artist (with my own imagery, experimentation with techniques, shows and other events, etc) and a researcher / writer / aspiring “expert” / spokesperson for an underappreciated sacred cultural tradition….

Since the cultural tradition is an expression of Buddhism, it’s also linked to spirituality, philosophy, and personal growth — subjects about which I often have thoughts and questions. And I invite others to question along with me.

And then there’s my life as an international nomad… which seems to fascinate others while exhausting me. Writing positively about this helps ground me and keeps the joy of movement awake in me.

So who are you, my readers, then?

You are:

  • textile artists and color lovers
  • Buddhist practitioners and Asian culture enthusiasts
  • travelers of Tibet and India touched by the art and devotion there

You are also:

  • collectors of Himalayan art interested in contemporary trends
  • collectors of textile art interested in traditional methods and new ways of applying them
  • art lovers ready to commission your first piece.. or your tenth
  • home dwellers who seek to surround yourselves in beauty
  • admirers of finely handcrafted work
  • academics researching Tibetan culture
  • people who enjoy questioning your assumptions, opening new possibilities, looking from new angles, and examining yourselves
  • armchair travelers or adventurers experienced in expat life
  • past and future visitors to the Rubin Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, LACMA, the Pacific Asia Museum, Musée Guimet, and the Tibet House and other Himalayan art collections

You live all over the world. You are curious, inquisitive, and responsive. And you just LOVE to engage in conversation about beauty, growth, art, craft, fabrics, thangkas, colors, creativity, possibilities, practices for awakening, … and Tibetan art history. (Hint, hint. That means you make comments. See the comments link below? Yes, right there. That’s it.)

You’re creative, courageous, and interesting… and I just love talking with you!

Don’t see yourself here? Tell me then. Who are you?

Thank you for being part of my community.

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Lotus by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, 2009

Lotus by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, 2009

I’m trying out Twitter. Not sure what will come of it but curious enough to give it a go.

Now, it seems to me that if I want people to “follow” me, I should give them some reason to do so. I just don’t think many people are interested in what I’m eating for breakfast. Who knows?

SO… here’s my idea:

I’m going to start two regular tweets.

Weekly Thangka will give a link each week to a thangka that I find on the web. I’ll try to uncover some unusual pieces with good photos and/or descriptions and, of course, will emphasize textile forms as much as possible. Contributions are welcome. Let me know what you find.

Thangka Tidbits will be occasional bits of information about thangkas. How they’re made, what they’re composed of, history, functions, etc., etc. I’ll share what I know and what I learn along the way, in small tweet-size chunks (less than 140 characters). I hope it will be interesting and useful. It’s an experiment!

Follow me on Twitter to see how what arises. Starting soon…

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Oh, this blogging business is complicated. Once you decide to start and think that you’re just going to have to be disciplined and creative about generating posts, you discover that there are endless things to learn about search engine placement and that all the research you did when you designed your website YEARS ago is now virtually obsolete… There’s no end to the learning process! And as you try to tackle it all, you realize it’s been over a week since you posted and that you never followed up on that dye experiment…

So here goes:

I got some responses from Dharma Trading and Jacquard products and it seems the warp or weft threads of my fabric may be shrinking, causing the surface puckering. They suggest that I try stretching the fabric and painting it with the dye, then steam fixing it. The problem (besides the fact that it’s a more complicated process and I’ll have to rig up a steamer) is that the same puckering may occur during steaming. We’ll see.

Actually, on closer examination, it seems to me that the warp threads are actually breaking down or unraveling somehow. They’re springy in my dyed pieces, whereas they were crisp and snappy in the undyed fabric. The dyed cloth is almost stretchy in the warp direction. I’m still working on this and trying to understand, so any input would be appreciated!

Okay, back to reading about keywords and metatags and thinking about redesigning my website now.

Bye all.

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