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.
So. This slow cloth which has taken so long–finally letting me know what it is. It began as an exercise. An assemblage of cloth scraps that I love. Scraps I had dyed in all different mediums–but had been boxed up since the move. And then because at the time I was using the machine a lot, the whole cloth experienced a free motion application of thread. And then more thread–hand stitched color defining shape. Pulling out content. Giving meaning too.
And even though the bottom 2/3 of the cloth had the appearance of otherworldly abodes–waters and oceans and primordial habitats–and even though the top 1/3 seemed to emerge into a more celestial realm, the story was still evolving. And it became clear, as so often happens, by stitch. Not good stitch especially, but stitch that was applied un-mindfully–and because there was so much of it, I simply had to cover it up. The scraps at hand took shape on their own..and became this being embracing spheres–of life–balanced– Balanced and grounded . Grounded but still needing to respond to the moment. Fine-tune as events change. Move a bit one way or the other. Perched and balanced with the ability to respond.
And still very connected to the origin from which it arose. The underbelly of consciousness. The deep. The abode of all creativity, energy, understanding and mystery. The unknown. There are two spirits wanting to emerge–down in the bottom left and right corner of the cloth. I’m waiting for them to emerge–and then the cloth will be complete.
I captioned this post Momentum. Then thought, “Perhaps ‘inertia?'” so googled “inertia” to be sure I understood how I was thinking about it–and the definition has bowled me over for several reasons:
The vis insita, or innate force of matter, is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.”
Bowls me over because of that one phrase: “power of resisting.” I’ve been pondering resistance in other forms–not physical forms as in this definition–but thought forms. Emotions. Reactions. Old programming. Any and everything that arises and feels like a flow deterrent. Any and every thing that disturbs my “wah.” I know I didn’t make that up–this word “wah.” But again, I just googled its spelling and can’t find it. It was a common concept in something I read years ago. A novel probably and “wah” as I interpreted it, broadly referred to tranquility–an unfettered state. Can anyone help me with this reference?
So anything that disturbs what I’m calling my “wah” creates what I’m also referring to as “resistance.” And paying attention to this–to resistance–has preoccupied me for the last few weeks. In the past I’ve struggled with it–or more aptly–against. Made resisting resistance a career. To be overcome. But suddenly the irony of “resisting resistance” becomes almost laughable. So–the practice has been NOT resisting but simply acknowledging. Allowing room for it to be without globbing onto it and making it all pervasive. And noticing how this simple shift reduces the charge. Fine tuning. That’s all.
When I sat down to post, I was stunned that it’s been a month. A few weeks I thought. But the momentum of thoughts and creation hasn’t translated to blogdom. Still, here’s what I’ve been doing. Bowls taking precedence for a while over slow cloth. I’ve placed a lot of them down town at Woolworth Walk and at a local market in W. Asheville. Constantly having to rephrase my thinking from “no one will buy these” to “they’re beautiful and will find good homes.”
Here are a few recent ones. Bowls with lids:
and a larger bowl, inside outside:
and several from this morning–moving back and forth between color and neutrality:
So. A month of momentum focused on bowls and recognizing/allowing resistance. And one more thing–the cloth that earns the title “slow.”
Still working on prototypes for the tea pouches–little bags that will hold between 2 and 4 oz. of tea. I wrote about this project in my last post. And in the interim have learned a lot about self. For one thing, I am not mass production oriented. At All. I loved/love making the cloth for this project. But realize that once the cloth’s made, it’s time to turn the fabric over to a seamstress. Which I am not.
I’m not at all precise –I could be but it kinda bores me–so to get the general size, i’m just ripping and eyeballing. Still a certain amount of planning and precision is called for at this stage of the design process. Ends have to meet and drawstrings have to be long enough and then there’s the MACHINE. Filling bobbins–aarrrgh i hate doing that–and fiddling with things that jam up the needle or whatever. So this white heart figure. Oh. she saved my life. Evolved straight from right brain activity almost without my noticing. I was just handling scraps. Setting them here and there until I noticed the form and then I looked more closely and smiled. She seems to say, you take a break now. Stop thinking. Relax that furrowed brow. Don’t measure. Forget all of that. Just enjoy. Take your time with me, we’re just getting started. Forget production. Forget speed. Go slowly. I appreciate her advice.
What could I call her other than White Heart?
But I’m committed to making the fabric for these little tea pouches. I love doing that. Even enjoy the free motion stitching–it’s loose and spontaneous and can be anything it turns out to be. But once the design and dimensions are firmed up, we will just find someone who enjoys production sewing. So here are a few puerh pouches intended to hold 2 or more oz. of loose tea. They’ve yet to be stained in tea. When I put them on the table, I was so charmed with the interaction between the four. A little family of sorts.
I think about tea now. Tea that’s travelled from amazing parts of the world. From there to here. And I think about the history of the journey of tea over the milleniums. Here’s a fascinating article:
Noticing now. Wanting to ignore, turn away from, jump into something else. To NOT feel. To shield and turn away from…the grief. But over-riding that the need to honor, embrace, give meaning to the lives– and if possible, wanting to understand. So I pull out scraps of indigo and salvaged cloth with these children and their adult helpers in mind. Holding the cloth gently.
Blues seem right. The circle with the red cloth in the center seems right. And batik wings. This will be a slow cloth for certain. Unplugged. Each placement of each stitch knitting cloth together while honoring life. Maybe there will be birds here. Maybe leaves or feathers. Maybe seeds. But something.