Monday, March 16, 2020

Peace, Calm, & Hope

Every community needs its flute player
Dear Flute-lovers,
 In these uncertain times, it's good to know why we're here as fluteplayers.
We bring the songs of the heavens down to earth, and dance within the breath of life. It is a joyous thing to bring these sounds to our communities.

___________________
Update here in Canada:
Music buildings have been closed as have restaurants and libraries.
I'm at home, realizing the important things in life,  and thinking of phoning half the people I know.
We're still a bit stunned here in Canada, as everything closes down around the world. But we remain ever grateful for our medical teams and their devotions toward ending the pandemic.
__________________
If you want distracting:

Personally, I'm not so much as fluting but knitting! 
For flute news, scroll down.

I'm creating an entire small wardrobe in forest colours for a much loved niece (a former flutist, and now graduating in health care), and am enjoying the uninterrupted knitting, counting and planning time.

It's so lovely to work with yarns and colours and plan by making little sketches of the layers of the clothing. Sleeveless vests have matching cardigans that float over them, and cabled sweaters have matching or contrasting cowls and shawls.

I'm doing this because wool really works in so many good ways to make your clothing work functionally and well.
When I started out in the working world more than 30 years ago, I was basically wearing raggy bits, as I recall; mostly second hand clothing, and many borrowed or donated coats and sweaters. We had a saying: "Can you tell from my costume that I am from SLOBovia?
I sewed my own clothing when I moved to the westcoast and joined a Symphony and the faculty of the local University.

But then I took up knitting in my '50s, and now have a woolen wardrobe (and so do some of my flute students and family members) that looks less like Slobovian national dress, and more like this:


The wool makes a huge difference in warmth in such a damp place as the "wet coast".

My niece's choices will be for a young person who loves westcoast forest camping, and so will be in entirely new yarns for me; everything from silk to alpaca, to rough hand-spun feeling yarns that are 100% organic. Some are local, some are from distant lands, but everyone of them makes you think of hobbits. :>)

With the leftover forest-colour/silk/ yarns I'm planning on making brilliantly coloured fairisle "leftover" hats, cowls, and thick and complex socks for winter. I have months and months to do this, and enjoy finishing each piece, blocking and photographing it, and then mailing the pieces to my niece. It's all slow fashion and very exciting.
One day I'll put some photos here of the complete young-forest-wardrobe, but, it's, of course, completely un-flute-related. ha ha.
So this blogpost is only to distract us and remind us all to keep creativity effervescent!

Every now and then I get up and practice (or eat, or cook, or go for a sunny walk.)

Flute:
We're "home alone", so I'm currently bopping up and playing everything from JS. Bach (the "Well Tempered Flutist" by Robert Stallman is a treasure trove) to Stravinsky. I love two music stands and and endless supply of different quality items to play.
For company, I even played along with Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony when the Vancouver Symphony did their live broadcast this past weekend (still avail. on their website.). I just set up the music stand with a copy of Flute 1 on the stand, and had a blast (you can fast forward the video to the good parts) playing the Sixth Symphony with them all. So fun! Try it; choose an A-440 recording from youtube (not one where you have to push your headjoint all the way in; that way lies sharp futures.)

But then back to planning the young person's "forest coloured" wardrobe and putting on another dozen rounds (circular knitting, what else?)
Most engaging.

I dearly hope everyone out there is well and staying calm and engaged in their projects. Comments welcome.
(Knitting is ALOT like music making; but this is likely the only knitting post I'll ever post here, actually. Good to take your mind off things, though.....)

Peace, calm and hope to all of us,
Jen

P.S. Sister Mary Anna in the comments wished to know what exactly is hanging over the flute player's shoulder. I've found the painting, and lightened it and done an enhancement. It looks like a hunting horn with a complicated set of tassels slung over his shoulder. Take a look here. :>)




Comments (9)
Blogger Mary Anna said...

Dear Jen, I've always enjoyed your blogs, but never had time to respond. So, the one good thing about being quarantined is TIME!!! I'm a Dominican Nun living at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville, Long Island, NY. This morning I played my flute to lift up the spirits of our retired Sisters who are coping with "lock-down". I copied your picture of the "Flute Player" and am curious...is that a creepy hand on his cloak? Who is the artist, and what is the story that inspired it? I started playing the flute when I was 9, and this year marks 72 years of fluting non-stop! I've been an educator, administrator, hospital chaplain and counselor for a "lifetime" and playing the flute for religious services, events, concerts, etc., has always been a great joy in my life. Thanks for ALL the "Tips" you've given me over the years. Deep peace, joy and healing blessings for us all, Sister Mary Anna Euring, OP

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 2:08:00 PM

 
Blogger jen said...

Dear Mary Anna,
I'm thrilled to hear from you. Yes, I thought the painting (which was randomly chosen by me when knitting with the same colour yarn as the painting's brown shade) was weird too; is that a dead goose or rabbit tied on his shoulder? Is it a quiver with quail's quills? Who knows. The colour is dark and disturbing, so I will put another while I seek the source of the brown painting. So great to hear from you. I'd love to continue to chat by email. Sounds fun at a time like this. Watch for new painting to appear. Jen

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 7:51:00 PM

 
Blogger jen said...

Dear Sister Mary Anna,
The painting is still not fully attributed, but is likely by a contemporary of Vermeer:
https://www.apollo-magazine.com/art-diary/vermeer-suite/?map=active

Best, Jen

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 8:38:00 PM

 
Blogger Mary Anna said...

Hi Jen,
Thanks for the info on the painting. At first I thought it might have been a Carravaggio (light and dark). I've also been interested in Art, but had to wait until I retired to follow my desire to do Asian Brush Painting. I'm having an exhibit this month, and all proceeds will help our Sisters in Puerto Rico support the victims of the recent earthquake. The Sisters' "Motherhouse" was destroyed and they are living in tents, as well as many of the people in the town of Yauco.
Today we're celebrating both St. Patrick AND St. Joseph with a Sing-A-Long...so of course, I'll accompany with my flute...starting with the Irish Hymn "Our Lady of Knock". There's nothing like music, especially flute music, to lift the spirits!!!
Peace & healing blessings, Sister Mary Anna

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 5:57:00 AM

 
Blogger jen said...

Great to hear about your brush painting exhibit and how it will help re-build. How lovely!
Jen

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 6:44:00 AM

 
Blogger Lorette said...

You do LOVELY work with your knitting! I’m a knitter as well, I wonder how many “fluters” are also knitters?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 7:03:00 AM

 
Blogger Mary Anna said...

I loved the pictures of your knitting. Is it possible for me to attach some pictures of my art exhibit entitled "On the Journey"?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 7:29:00 AM

 
Blogger jen said...

Oh please do send photos as jpgs to my email:

jen (at) jennifercluff (dot) com

I don't like to print my email address here on the comments, so I'll leave this up until I get an email from you, and then remove this comment.

GREAT idea!! :>)
Do please send; love to share here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 10:05:00 AM

 
Blogger jen said...


So nice to hear from another knitter Lorette! The rhythm of knitting is so like music isn't it? Since I started with fairisle the rhythm of the colour changes sounded like: red-red-red-white, red-red-red-white, and I said to everyone: "Fairisle and musical motifs are identical with mosaic tile patterns!" It's the human brain joining simple rhythms together into larger works! So cool! Love to know if this is not the perfect musical-textile matchup of all time.
Plus we get cold while practising for years in our garrets, what with the artistic low-income and all that. ha ha.
Jen

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 10:10:00 AM

 

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