Thursday, October 24, 2013

A year of magic

I found a set of these cups one day nearly a year ago while taking myself on an "Artist's Date." The medicine story had begun, and in my heart I knew the cozy place would need cups to fill with hot milk or tea and magic.

If you don't know about Artist's Dates click here.
Those seven sweet cups sat in the paper bag after The Safety Pin Cafe popped its tent into the Raven-lit sky, sharing story, inviting involvement and keeping a promise. Those cups sat unwashed for nearly a month. We kept passing the bag, but not washing them ... inexplicable. Until I did reach in and found the magical leavings of Red Hibiscus Tea ... in the shape of a red apple. (faint, but there really) Messages. Notations like a musical score.

This morning on my way back from feeding the hens the call of the leaves from the blueberry bushes catch me and would not let me go. "It's been a great year!" they sang. I stopped and randomly picked a handful of glorious petals and agreed, "Yes, it has been a magical and magnificent year of magic."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thanks Mercury (in retrograde) ... about the cancellation of Tea and Toast

" I never fear Mercury retrograde... I think the main reason is ... anything that creates a situation where a person glosses over information the first time it comes around. Perhaps you get overwhelmed with a barrage of constant or simultaneous information flow. Perhaps, like me, you tend to set things aside because you didn’t know what to do with them at first sight. Perhaps you’re a slower processor and the world moves faster than you do. Maybe you get overwhelmed, or maybe you specialize, to the exclusion of some data ... - Satori
Astrology is one of my constant navigational tools; I check my bearings regularly. Pete has come along for the astrological ride over the years and like me appreciating how he uses his box of tools and his beast-of-a-truck, my husband has an appreciation for the planetary alignments. We were chatting yesterday and he shared stories with me about his day out in the public.

"Mercury is retrograde," he said to more than one person.
"Oh god, Mercury is always in retrograde!" one woman said.
Another said, "Oh no I'm trying to sell my ---. Is that going to stall things!*!?" He had a philosophical and classic Cancerian statement to encourage peace, patience and a don't go off the edge sort of response (he's got a lot of Virgo). I've noticed that even with folks who don't use astrology the way I do, "Mercury in retrograde" has a universal oh-my-god effect.

Time and study has aided me in seeing the blessing in (almost) everything. Life with the changeable nature of being human, and alive, means I get to re-do, unravel, re-stitch and safety pin my choices and my habits again and again. Tea and Toast at The Safety Pin Cafe is an event designed to keep promises; keeping promises is important, I think. The juggling act that I manage is the border crossings of promises to others with those I make to myself. Satori's description and insight into Mercury's retrograde (October 21-November 10) calms the rabbit-rabid pace within me: this moveable feast is such fun!! Never-mind the potential for the space to be difficult. I did gloss over the potential danger, hoping I could juggle fancy.

Here I am this Tuesday morning recouping from the effects of choosing and hoping to be just like everybody else (who can enter, occupy and sit anywhere). The facts and art of my life require different navigational choices. For now, I write and heal from choices which pushed me to a new border. Mercury's retrograde period covers ground already crossed and I process the information more slowly and make peace with time and limitations. Sorry for disappointing any of you would looked forward to tea, toast and more moveable feasts of story! It's so much about location, location, location. Seasons change, and we are now into the season of Scorpio and winter begins. The Safety Pin Cafe will pop up somewhere close-by, sometime. An unexpected space? Perhaps. That's a promise.

A hui hou,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tea and Toast Time at The Safety Pin Cafe

THE SAFETY PIN CAFE  ... the moveable feast of storytelling pops up again!

"Enfin un peu de temps pour vous ecrire! Time flies!" said my dear Laurence. She is so right. We opened the tent space for The Safety Pin Cafe on a Sunday just after the New Moon in October (October 6th by most calendars). A grand and satisfying time it was. We were blessed by the Raven who brought the sun shiny Sun. I kept my promise to give thanks to the place and the space of the South Whidbey Tilth for being a chemical free place to be. But time did fly before we could contain and finish the sweet celebrations of common magic that is the signature of The Safety Pin Cafe.
What? What are the sweet celebrations of common magic of The Safety Pin Cafe? Of course there is the magic of story ... and that was surely shared and spread around. But what was missing because time flew were these promises:

  1. Sit and fold an origami paper cup (as a symbol of connectedness)
  2. And eat cinnamon toast cut into stars, moons and hearts (because it's fun and fun is THE magic!)

Join Mokihana Calizar, Pete Little and Pam Winstanley for an afternoon Tea and Toast Time at The Safety Pin Cafe.

Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time: 3 pm until 5 pm in the afternoon
Where: Freeland Library Meeting Room (click for directions)
Freeland, Washington

What to bring? Bring your sweet self and a favorite tea cup or mug to sip hot tea.  If you have an extra tea pot or tea cups you'd like to share for the afternoon come a little early and we'll add them to the party.

Please don't wear fragrances or scents on you or your clothing, Mokihana and Pete are chemical and fragrance sensitive.

* If you were there to help with the magic of making The Safety Pin Cafe a reality on Sunday October 6th, an especially warm welcome back. If you weren't there on October 6th but wish you had been, come for Tea and Toast Time October 27th!

RSVP if at all possible. (leave a comment here, or email me at mokihanacalizarATgmailDOTcom). We'll be setting up tea tables and bringing in toast so let us count you in for Tea and Toast Time.

See you then,
Mokihana, Pam and Pete

Read here ... about THE CANCELLATION.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

At the South Whidbey Tilth October 6, 2013

Mahalo Rumz for the video!

These are the final minutes of a grand two hours of The Safety Pin Cafe's inaugural event ... making the virtual a sit and be with reality. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meditation on a simple stitch

 "The Silver-haired Raven wore splendid garb." A beautiful remnant of turquoise corduroy was enough to cut into a vest for Pete/The Silver-haired bird. A silk-screened wood cut done by friend and fiber artist and partner in collaboration Pam Winstanley I trimmed and hand embroidered with silver metallic thread.
 To accentuate and add a bit of shimmer to the shape of the vest I machine stitched the curves of the back and front using that same silver metallic thread
The vest is fully lined with cotton flannel, the last of a once warm flannel sheet that has kept us warm in seasons passed.
Can you spot the turquoise vest on The Silver-haired Raven?
"For centuries women have done needlework. It was a necessary skill, it was an accomplishment, and it was a chance to appear to be active while giving one’s mind free reign to consider, to think. Calm, slow, careful stitches gave the appearance of activity, skill and usefulness, but the mind was free to think, to be quiet, to wander... An unbroken thread of women, stitching quietly, their minds pondering, considering, thinking, deliberating... for ages and ages...-Universidad de Palermo

I remember when I learned to stitch. The old house in the valley. An embroidery hoop and colored thread. Cross-stitch. Already an impatient learner I saw how beautifully the colored thread made pictures, and wanted to make those pictures. Now! My brother newly born, we were new to that house, new to the valley. I am four. How do I remember all this when until I sat to rewind the memory those thoughts weren't there? Time would pass and my embroidery skills would not develop much mostly because I did not practice them. The next stitching memory is that of the old Singer that rose from the box when Ma opened the top and pushed down on it. The dark stained wood and black metal machine filled in the wall inside the bedroom shared with all four of us. Two soft and lumpy big beds: one for Ma and Dad and one for me and my brother. Ma sewed and I said under the lid as the machine roared and the sharp needled chewed up and down the material. Ma.Machine.Stitches. Comfort. Closeness.

Sewing is what I got good at. Good at sewing because I loved it, and did it often. Island girls in the 1950's went to Sewing School. I went to Sewing School one block Honolulu-side of my house on Dalene Way it was an easy walk and I had a cousin who went with me. She became a very accomplished seamstress with a day job that paid her bills for decades. We both had day jobs for decades and paid the bills with skills and commitment to being productive in the modern world. But what is miraculous and meditative for me at this stage of life is how the simple stitch practiced over time is the metaphor I feel mostly in my bones. Coupled with my practice of writing, the longer-still disciple and activity of stitching holds me, grounds me while at the same time allows me access to the "minds [of women who have been] pondering, considering, thinking, deliberating... for ages and ages."

Fall is definitely in place here in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. It is cold. My body shudders with the reality of the seasonal shift, and without thinking I wish for the warm sunny sky and salty beaches. A soak and a swim would be heaven. As writer, storyteller and stitcher the magic and medicine of art can create the portal or ha'a kaau to open time and space. That's what the story that began The Safety Pin Cafe chronicles are all about. Creating a cozy space to weather the weather and invite solutions transformative yes, and practical as well. I sit to quiet my aching joints and wrap myself in fleece to warm my fingers: regalia for writing in winter. I process the experience of birthing a project of art and get a sense of what to do next, where to go from here. A bug dangles from a fine invisible thread, wiggling at screen level as my cat curls on the table not far from me. What does a Border Witch do after one performance, one border has been crossed?

She could do many things, do nothing, or perhaps she rests and recuperates, gently grounding herself and forgives herself when she snaps with Mars-infused fire because she is tired. Today, the writer, teller and character from the myth writes and reflects on the simple stitch that led to another, and another creating something from nothing ... a vest the color of those salty turquoise beaches, soft and smooth as silky ocean water. The Silver-haired Raven who worn splendid garb is both a character and a flesh-and-bones old man I know. I stitched the vest, I let my thoughts swim with the story preparing for performance. The jitter bugs and fear of odds and ends stay enough away as I stitch and sew and fit and unstitch, pin and stitch again. The art and disciple takes me through and across the borders of known and unknown space. A vest is stitched. A vest is fit. And in the process the Border Witch shows up to do her work.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The real deal ... The Safety Pin Cafe is open!

"Feel the possibilities
The soaring fantasy of your dreams
The solid support of your reality!"

We did it! Mahalo niu loa a pau to each and every one who came for the first day at the real deal Safety Pin Cafe. There's more to come, and what joy and magic we have to share here, there and everywhere (well, not just anywhere!).

Keep your eyes peeled, and your ear to the ground for the chants, and stories gather in The Safety Pin Cafe in time for Makahiki Season (The Hawaiian New Year) coming soon.

Thank you to our friend Michael Seraphinoff for taking the wonderful pics.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Set the table, practice the art of living (be flexible)

The Cafe set up team

 Cute and cozy Calayx Community Art School's cob house was too small for the cafe.

This is a week of weather: all sorts of weather. On Friday a handful of friends came out to the South Whidbey Tilth to practice. What a day it was. BLUSTERY! The wind made itself present, and made some decisions about where and how to set the tents for The Safety Pin Cafe. Fiber Artist Pam Winstanley has helped with designs and support for this project since I first dreamed up the possibility of 'an event.' Jo Stevens, South Whidbey Tilth's Land Steward and Farmers' Market Manager was with us to choose a location for the setup and hold the tent down when the wind became bombastic. Pete made sure the chicken stew was hot and slices of whole wheat bread and butter were ready when we were too wind-blown to keep practicing. I cooked up the stew, made a batch of cinnamon toast and chanted a prayer of permission to be in this place.

The banner for The Safety Pin Cafe is done, stitched by machine then hand-embroidered to lay the script of the small letters on "the" and "pin." The detail and quiet work of hand stitching is one of my favorite parts of this art. Everything used to create the banner was found at The Good Cheer Thrift Shop. Purchased weeks ago, the table runner was washed and air to clear it of lingering scent; the bolt of fiber ribbon threaded with copper wire I cut and used to create the large letters (these were pinned and machine stitched using a wide zigzag stitch.) The edges of the ribbon was saved until I used them to drawn, pin and embroider script letters for "the" and "pin." The decision to use the edges of the ribbon came when it was obvious I wouldn't have room for capitals of all the letters in THE SAFETY PIN CAFE ... The "i" in pin is dotted with a red felt flower a sweet connection with the story, and the heart of the character Pale whose journey is mapped in this myth.

As I pull needle and thread through the ribbon anchoring it to the golden cloth memories of times past, and empty spaces fill in with solutions and transitions as the stitchery is a meditation. Between the wind and the stitches my mind emptied and art was the present. Between the hours of setting up and practicing on Friday and this afternoon when Pete and I hung the banner in our orchard, the meditation of stitching has allowed me to lose myself, letting my heart and soul cross the borders of imagination and play.

We envision a gentle breeze and temperate weather for the first of The Safety Pin Cafe storytelling times. Come with a heart to participate, layered for the season and flexible if necessary to enjoy being part of the borders of myth and creativity.*

The Safety Pin Cafe
Sunday, October 6th, 2013
11 AM - 1 PM
South Whidbey Tilth
Langley, Washington

*Flexible means we have a plan B to relocate to the Backroom of The South Whidbey Commons in Langley. Keep an eye out on Drewslist for a change in location at the last minute.

Here's the Langley Weather FYI.
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