A weeks ago I challenged myself to create a piece of slow cloth quickly. Do you see the obvious problem with that? Quick slow cloth is like army intelligence–oxymoronic. And so it sat and sat and finally, gradually the pieces auditioning for inclusion were removed. Stripped down to the bare essential underlying matrix. This is where it was going but everything felt forced and contrived. Looking at it now with the advantage of several weeks distancing, I see a bit where it was going. Could have gone.
But it didn’t happen. Because the part of my self that pays attention to intention was flashing red warning signs. There is no picture of the stripped down cloth. The little “cuties” are in the bucket of scrap cloth. Why then, this morning, was I called to just revisit the scene? I don’t know, really, but what happened was not planned and emerged effortlessly, spontaneously and almost in a “meant to be” progression. This is the beginning. This might also be where it stops. But as I was contemplating the pieces I was struck by how this process parallels life. All the pieces we accumulate. Hopefully discarding what doesn’t work. Then regrouping and reassembling. Paying attention to commonalities. The intersection of lines. Lines representing lives. Events.
One leading into another. Moving between each element. Joining paper and cloth. Both so ephemeral. So transient. So destined to only last so long. But the length of time doesn’t matter, does it? It is only the authenticity behind intention that prevails. The doing what feels true. The listening to that voice which may become faint at times–but will not be silenced.
…and I’ve thought that enough to last a lifetime. Still, lots to learn from each one. Fizzled out this morning after spending more than an hour arranging/rearranging. When I finally noticed the track running through my head–“why in the world are you doing this NOW?” and stepped away. Now looking after many hours, my conclusion–the mind-tape had a point and I’m left with two characters from different planets. Incongruent. I’d add the day one and day two for comparison but can’t seem to insert anything at this point else. Besides…..
I see-saw between the forest and the trees. The former is more comfortable. I’m a big picture wanna be. Yet I’m haunted by details. I believe what we have here is something quite pre-historic. A velociraptor perhaps. And something else, directly below, emerging from the void. Part fish, part mammal? There’s a sense of fertile potentiality, as though anything could happen. Tomorrow I will learn more.
I’m loving this time in the cycle of seasons. Only a few plants outside are showing signs of greening up. Leaves are nowhere to be found. And although it’s unseasonably warm, I think we still have a month or so before the lure of new growth begs commemoration. It’s also a slow time in terms of art & craft shows–a venue I’ve become dependent upon.
But right now I’m not thinking much about craft shows. Instead, I’m looking at all the cloth I’ve generated from eco printing
and anticipating the process of melding together disparate pieces into whole cloth.
Marveling at the little marks left behind–
I play the “cloud game” and imagine all sorts of things–like this hummingbird in search of nectar…
Or this–how negative/positive space can hold both leaf tips and faces.
I love these little etchings on cloth–the last hurrah of the heroic effort on the part of a tree, shrub or flower. A mark that will last linger long past this growing season. Sometimes these marks commemorate an event–an occasion–a time spent in solitude in nature, or a social event with family and friends. Times or joy. Moments of sorrow. Sometimes these marks recall weather patterns. Times of drought. Times of unseasonable rain. And although these little imprints on cloth may look like absolutely nothing at first glance, for me they are intriguing. Mysterious. Beautiful. Parts and pieces that, when combined, tell another story.
I’m going to document the birth of this next cloth–a cloth that right now comprises 8 separate scraps of botanical imprints–finding the places where lines and shapes connect–where the whole emerges from the sum of its parts–where it makes sense to me. Where on some level I’m able to understand how the puzzle pieces can fit together –forming the big picture.
And thank you Jude Hill. Slow stitch and slow cloth.
Again, lulled back into the comforting rhythm of kantha. Into the near hypnotic motion of running stitch. Waves across the surface of cloth.
Much is held here in this cloth. Memories. Snippets and scraps. Like the oddly arranged, seemingly incongruent events of my life– held to the light. To be examined. Revered. Treasured.
Memory–like kantha– weaving the ground, holding the story, supporting the whole.
A dozen prayer flags in as many days. (The 12th follows) So beginning left to right, Freedom of Speech, The Sacred Hoop, Encouragement, Transformation, Freedom from Persecution, Metta, Standing Firm, Honoring Diversity (above), Into the Stillness, Holding Truth and Warrior Women
Today’s releaser-of-prayers marks the end of a series–the end of an effort that has traveled full circle. There may be more. Or not. Their mission has been accomplished and eco printing calls.
Although externally nothing has changed, internally I am more centered. (I was going to say “on solid ground” but still reaching for that place.) But I find myself better able now to stand and face the is-ness of #45 without totally losing my center–or my mind.
Today’s flag Coming Full Circle started as usual with no name and no real plan. Handling scraps. I came across the body–a pure white woven rectangle and the process began. Initially I thought about purity. Cleansing. So they are embedded in this irrepressible sprite who refuses to be boxed in–thus the opening in the sky—a passageway–a portal for transcending. She begged for color and before I knew it, her headdress and heart were in place. And a light-hearted cosmic dance was underway.
Hand dyed indigo backing.
Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.
This morning I’m thinking about a warrior woman–one woman in particular–a scrappy keeper-of-goats living in the harsh yet beautiful desert of the SW. Not a place for the weak of body or spirit. I’m joining her this morning in solidarity, vowing to take back what I’ve been relinquishing–stepping out of this small, spiteful drama and reclaiming, to the degree that I can–a sense of perspective–a sense of how it goes. Viewing the big screen in high definition.
This warrior woman was part of a weaving exercise using a little box as the loom. She stands on cloth dyed with black walnuts. Mounted on fabric mordanted with sumac. Her head is one half of a sampler I made while practicing slow cloth with Jude Hill. And yes, Jude Hill is a warrior as well. As was my mother. As is my daughter. My sister, friends cousins and nieces. This is for you.