INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART + HAAG'S BIO
Also, as I grow older and dig deeper into the essence of what art, particularly textile art is, I have come to understand the value of NOT trying to make a living at my art. Partly it is because each of the major needlepoints takes more than a year to make -- and partly because in many cultures from which I draw my inspirations the making of textiles was considered a sacred art. Christopher Alexander says about Turkish Carpets that each of the very greatest carpets is an attempt to create "a portrait of God." Textiles are, also, paradoxically, because they are for the most part useful and/or often made within the household and by women, traditionally under-valued. The finest examples have almost always been "passed down" rather than sold.
Nonetheless, in 1991, though never regretting my decision to lead a life of voluntary simplicity, I thought I needed a little more money. So I began this small sachet with the idea of cats. borders, and what I thought would be commercially appealing colors: pinks and blues. I wanted to see if I could make something small enough and quick enough to sell for a reasonable price. However, completed, it turned out to have over a hundred hours of stitching in it.
The background and four cats use a design first used in KALACHAKRA and PALIMPSEST which was originally borrowed from a friend's pillow slip in Santa Fe. The borders and the red shadow cat use variations on the Chinese double happiness symbol.
One of the reason it didn't get done until 1995 was because soon after I started it, two friends, Dran Hamilton and Tani Guthrie, introduced me to the ideas and techniques of Australian Aborigine art. I painted a cat. It looked like a needlepoint. The idea of painted dots substituting for stitches was born. Together we dubbed my first little cat paintings: "Cattipoints." So excited was I by the new medium and, having, at last a means, of sharing my love of pattern with others, I made and sold hundreds of Cattipoint originals, as well as Cattiprints and Catticards.
Made in a spirit of lightness and laughter, it was a delight to share my love of cats, color, pattern, and improvisation. But even though they were quick and easy enough to make, ecologically conscious, as cats are -- I used only recycled materials -- the income was minimal, for I always wanted the people who loved them to have them. Their sale mostly taught me I didn't really need any extra money, and, that cat's whiskers make wonderful little paint brushes for cat's faces.
August 17, 2000: When I have time, I will post some of the Cattipoints on
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
II The Unicorn
III Green Pillow
VI Chinese Chair Pillow
VII Great Grandmother's Legacy
VIII Octagonal Beanbag
IX Flora and Fauna Beanbag
X Asian Diary #1, Kundalini
XI Asian Diary #2
XII Tibetan Yantra Beanbag
XIV Eye of Horus Amulet
XV Erika Sachet
THE FOLLOWING NEEDLEPOINTS ARE BASED ON THE RHYTHMS AND MELODY OF
NORTH INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC
IXX Tintal Coin Purse
XX Kaida, Tabla Covers
XXI Tukra, Tabla Covers
XXIII The Ten Thats