Some of you are familiar with the profoundly moving work of Jungian therapist, Wendy Golden-Levitt. Her work has been featured in HandEye Magazine and rightfully exalted in the SlowCloth facebook circle. She has successfully incorporated textiles into her work with traumatized and troubled young clients, finding that the process of relating to a special cloth can facilitate healing.
Well, not long ago, Wendy commissioned a piece from me (YEAH!!!**!!) She had quite a few favorites from my website (not surprisingly, quilts with animals or huts — quilts that one can imagine a young person populating with characters of their own). However, some of them had been sold and of the remaining pieces, none seemed quite right. And anyway, the more I thought about making a quilt specifically for her practice, the more excited I became.
So many things to be considered! The inclusion of fabrics that are lovely to the touch… being sure that the four elements are represented… including figures, both animal and human, that could be repositories of secrets or foils for the imagination… making the landscape mythic, without being scary…
And then I got distracted and busy with other things. Or did I get stuck? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell.
As usual, the way “in” for me was a piece of fabric.
Many years ago, my mother-in-law gave me the curtains that she had lovingly made for two of her three sons’ bedroom (we are a blended family, so my husband is not one of her sons).
Initially, as with many well-made gifts of cloth, it was hard to cut the fabric. These curtains were lined, with beautiful hem stitching, and still clean all these years later!
Probably because I am raising boys, I wanted to make this project for a boy. When I remembered these curtains, I just knew that they had to be the back of the quilt. I like the idea of a two-sided blanket, with the narrative on one side supporting and enhancing the story on the other.
Here are things a boy will love — ships, pirates, buried treasure, adventure!!
The more I thought about what it means to be troubled by one’s home of origin, the more the pirate print seemed like a good fit. If the home is NOT a place of solace and peace (at least MOST of the time — no home is perfect), then one would expect a little soul in search of wholeness to look outside, initially.
To go on a quest to an exotic island and find buried treasure feels like an apt metaphor for the healing process.
The front of the quilt is still being mulled over — but the idea is to create an island village, (African in feel), where there is a central hut — a central hut that is calm and cool in the heat of the savanna… a single structure that visually issues an invitation and that represents a doorway up and into healing. I plan to include several animals who can be helpers along the way.
Island? Savannah? Not quite adding up yet, but the feelings are starting to correspond to fabrics, and that’s how I start.
The strips were woven thinking about creating an island mass, like the one I found in the flickr stream by Yandi (below). This island is made from reeds and floats in Lake Titicaca. I made my ‘reed island’ while thinking about the commission, but it probably won’t make it into the piece.
What a wonderful project to work on, and what a privilege. Wendy does such marvellous work. The fabric you have chosen – particularly the back – looks perfect.
thank you, Kaye — that’s what it feels like — a privilege.
I always wonder about the creative process to create such wonderful work. I love reading your post. Tha pirate fabric is quite interesting too.
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