Category Archives: Liza Lou

Painting the Continuous Mile of our experience

I am grateful that I shared a rich and full time with my parents, sister, her husband and Julia up in Ithaca, NY. We celebrated and were able to bestow little gifts to one another.  My mom gave me the sweet reminder after I had been self critical of my appearance, to make sure my thoughts and words reflected what I want to bring into my experience. It becomes second nature to complain and let fear or humorous shame paint our self portrait.  It is easy to forget that we have the paint brush in our hands at all times and that the canvas shifts from moment to moment.
On the last day of our vacation we went to the Corning Museum of Glass and one of the exhibits was Liza Lou’s Continuous Mile which she made with “a team of beadworkers from several townships in
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa*”.  They weaved 4.5 million tiny glass beads into a cotton rope a mile long. The artist got a grant and was able to pay her co-weavers. She said it was something she knew she could not do by herself and that it became a lifeline connecting the community; a work about work.  They sat around laughing and telling stories, living with one another.  The process was the goal.
Liza Lou- The Continuous Mile
I got to finish reading Pema Chodron’s book When things Fall Apart and in the last chapter she quotes her teacher Rinpoche who said, “Everything is workable.”
This is a moment by moment canvas painting, continuously working with one another, mile after mile. One tiny bead after the next weaved into the collective coil. We remember to ask and receive what we want for ourselves and others. We forget. Situations surprise us, we get thrown off track, we make our way back on. We watch each other do the same. “Everything is workable.”
May our process be an inspiring exhibit we can smile at, even as we are moving on to the next one.
Love you, Ira
* › Press Center