Posts Tagged ‘Tibetan applique’

A trailer of the documentary film, Creating Buddhas, has been posted on the Soulful Media website. Isadora filmed my final stitches to the Green Tara thangka a couple of weeks ago and will complete editing in the coming months. She’s done some beautiful film work and conducted some insightful interviews with renowned scholars of Tibetan art, such as Robert Thurman, Glenn Mullin and Jonathan Landaw and with China Galland, noted writer on Tara and feminine spirituality. I love watching the thangkas from a third-person perspective and hearing other people talk about the preciousness of this tradition. It’s somewhat less comfortable hearing the narrator speak of me in grand terms. I’m not used to being in the public eye, and I usually feel that what I’m doing is nothing special… except in its special economic impracticality and extreme time consumption! It’s nice to be reminded of a different, more appreciative perspective.

Tara Trailer Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo hands drawing flower pieces stitching Tara Robert Thurman China Galland Glenn Mullin

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I’ve set up a shop for prints of my thangkas at FineArtAmerica.com. I ordered some prints myself to check their quality, and they came out quite nicely. So I’m ready to go public. The high-quality inkjet prints are theoretically of “giclée” quality, but the image files I have uploaded are not of the super-high resolution required to merit that name. Still, they’re much nicer than any poster prints I’ve seen, and have deeply saturated colors. Over time, I’ll replace some of the image files with special super high-resolution scans and see what difference that makes. But for now, I’m very pleased to be able to offer prints of several of my traditional thangkas for sale for either home decor or altar decoration and meditation inspiration.


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I’ve always lived somehow in two worlds, with one foot in each. In college, I did a double major (women’s studies and environmental design). In grad school, I pursued concurrent degrees, in management and in urban planning. I lived for years in India but always kept a presence in my native California as well. And now I divide my time between the same California and Milan, Italy where my husband, two cats, and two stepchildren live.

I’m a textile artist… or am I a craftsperson? I never know whether to call myself Freilich, my legal surname, or Rinchen-Wongmo, my Tibetan and “artistic” name.

I’m a contemporary western fiber artist trained in an ancient and sacred Asian tradition. This blog will explore Tibetan (or Buddhist) Art and Textile (or Fiber) Art. (See, even in identifying each of my two parts, I need two labels… Am I a bridge or am I just indecisive?)

Maybe I just need a warp and a weft to make sense of things. I’m not a weaver, though. Not yet, at least. I just work with woven materials. Silks, mostly. Brocades and satins. And I stitch pieces together, by hand, to form images — sacred buddhist images and, more recently, images of real people in the Buddhist sphere of influence.

This blog is about these two: Tibetan/Buddhist Art and Textile/Fiber Art.

The truth is I know very little about either, but I am intimately involved in one particular intersection between the two: pieced silk thangkas, as I like to call them, or appliqué thangkas, as they’re more widely known.

Having completed a four-year apprenticeship with Tibetan artists in India and having made these thangkas my life’s work for the last 15 years, I’m one of very few people in the world familiar with this particular intersection.

Since I also happen to be relatively computer literate, I’ve decided to try my hand at blogging. I’ll endeavor to shine some light on my little street corner, my intersection between textile and Tibetan art, and to take you along with me as I venture sometimes down one road (exploring the origins, significance, and forms of Tibetan art and stitchery) and sometimes down the other (experimenting with new ways to express my vision in cloth).

And where better to start than on an airplane, flying between my two homes? We’re somewhere over Greenland now, flying west from Italy to California…

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