Personal Shields and Cliff Palace

21 Sep

I’m attending a workshop today–well this afternoon and evening to be more accurate.  A felting workshop offered by Jude Lally, friend and artist.  A workshop for women.  We will be creating shields.  Our own shields.  And as i write this, the idea of shield takes on a different meaning.  Not “shield” as in protecting against something–but shield as in manifestation and expression of.  Shield as in that which holds and represents our strengths. Shield as in essence.  Figurative essence.  There will be fire, tonight.  It’s all very outside the arena of my normal activities.  And I’m excited.  Here are two links to Jude’s artwork.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking at a photo I took at Mesa Verde–Cliff Palace– many years ago.  1979 I believe.  We had three weeks at the end of the summer to travel.  Kids would have been 6 and 8.  They are the two littlest people in the bottom left corner.  I know them by their walk.  Their legs and feet.  How they move across the earth.mesaverde

It was a camping vacation. A budgeted vacation whereby as a family we spent $5 a day for food. And it was, in the best sense of the word, a “trip.”

I’m looking now at these kivas in this picture of Cliff Palace. At the towers. All the structures that held life then and hold memories still. The pared down pure bone, skeletal essence. That which remains after everything else has been removed.  It is beauty full.   And  impossible not to think of this as metaphor for our human lives. The awareness that at the core of each of us there is an immutable presence, a structure perhaps,  and it is the one true thing.

So as I’m thinking about this, and imagining today’s workshop, I’m curious. There will be guided meditations. Sharing. I’m thinking it sounds like a vision quest of sorts. And then those visions will be felted into personal shields. And wondering what will arise.  Yesterday morning, early morning, I started this:


not thinking what it was or where it was going. But now I’m seeing it.  It’s a shield I think. Twelve sticks. Twelve ribs? The pared down essence of my bone self. My own Cliff Palace.  Today I’ll be looking for the more figurative expression.

7 Responses to “Personal Shields and Cliff Palace”

  1. The Fiber of My Being September 21, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    I love how you express yourself both visually and in writing. The thought of a personal shield…. Interesting.
    we’ve seen the cliff dwellings and kivas many times… Doing what you did… Camping with the kids on BLM land out west. So spiritual.


    • Patricia September 22, 2013 at 6:33 am #

      hi there. yes. Mesa Verde. i must get back there someday. hope your travels go well. thanks for the visit!


  2. Mo Crow September 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Oh yes! love the weaving, the sticks of palm inflorescence (?) & the colours, this is a powerful work revealing & protecting your inner strengths, look forward to seeing what comes out of the workshop!


    • Patricia September 22, 2013 at 6:47 am #

      hi Mo. had no idea what these sticks were. palm inflorescence? they were on a runner i scavenged and took apart. and yes. this piece is such a reminder to me of the unforeseen. it was unplanned. spontaneous. part of a natural early-morning rhythm.

      today at the workshop. ha! couldn’t get there. couldn’t just create/manifest on command. everyone else could. did. and not so long ago it would really have bothered me that i couldn’t “get there.” parts of the workshop were wonderful, but translating my “journey” into felted cloth–just didn’t happen. what i ended up with was essentially a black hole. hmmmm. and initially my thoughts were to bring it home and bury it. but a black hole? what would happen if i explore that some more. journey into it?


  3. karmadondruplhamo, (grace) September 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    i love how you translated the sense of this cloth and stick creation to those stone Places.
    and there, there are the simple wooden ladders for going up and coming down.
    the sense of moving through Levels of This cloth/stick Thing…
    the sense of different spaces in the same space, marked by “lights”
    it kind of defies talking about.


    • Patricia September 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      i didn’t see that until you just now pointed it out. that’s what i mean about your comments. yes. a kiva ladder. how it just happened.


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