tidying up and gratitude

Sometimes expressing gratitude is a way to tidy up.  It needs doing. And the doing then clears the way for the next thing — surprisingly like the act of straightening the dining room up before a meal, although, since the giving-of-thanks has its own rewards, it is also like the meal! Here are two sources of my gratitude today.

First, as promised, more photos of the beautiful quilt by Saskia.
IMG_7571 IMG_7573I adore those red knots. I love the transparency of the piece and how the ‘back’ comes through to the ‘front’ — something Saskia has been playing with for quite some time. The moons and subtle gradations of color and beautifully placed stitches give off an air of mystery and order, both. Behind the quilt, just past our side fence, grows a majestic copper beech.
IMG_7789 IMG_7795I like how the blue trunk shape on the cloth echoes the real tree growing behind it.
IMG_7523This completely unprompted gift “Indian dyers” and their indigo pots was given to me by a well-traveled friend. It came from somewhere in the Gullah region of South Carolina (which, by the way, makes puzzle at the title ‘Indian’ — I would have assumed the figures to be slave descendants?). I absolutely love it! Thank you, Claire! I will be visiting the very region in less than a month. Cannot wait.

11 thoughts on “tidying up and gratitude

  1. Mo Crow

    just finished reading a wonderful book, “The Invention of Wings” about the power of quilting to tell your story, the beginnings of the movements for the abolition of slavery & women’s rights by Sue Monk Kidd, brilliant.

    1. deedeemallon

      This book is on the bestseller list around here and on my To Read list. I understand she fictionalizes one of the Grimke sisters in the story?

  2. saskia

    thank you Dee;
    the small painting (?) is really lovely and how kind of your friend to bring that home to you;
    the book Mo mentions sounds really interesting, I’m gonna check it out

  3. deedeemallon

    Hi Saskia – you’re welcome! The small indigo scene is a print. It might be hand-colored. Hard to tell.

  4. Nanette

    I hadn’t heard the name ‘Gullah’ before, but I just started a book called Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe, set in this area and with a lovely old Gullah man as one of the main characters, who has a great love and rapport with birds, raptors in particular. I like the sound of Mo’s book too…must see if the library has it. I wonder if the term Indian is used to describe a native of a place….you will be able to find out the origin maybe when you visit.

  5. deedeemallon

    thanks, Joe! Nanette – the book sounds good. I will check it out. The Gullah are descendants of slaves who live along the Carolina coast, particularly on the barrier islands. They speak a unique language that blends English and African words. Partly because of the isolation of island-living, they have been able to preserve some of their African culture more than mainland slave descendents… not unlike the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama… which for many years required a ferry ride to reach.

  6. Nanette

    The book is a gentle story, with lots of information about the birds native to the area, and some lovely lessons in trust and heart opening…I’m enjoying it. Thanks for telling me about the Gullah, and their history….the Carolina coast sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I’ve always been drawn to the sweetgrass baskets that are made there….perhaps by the Gullah as well?

  7. deedeemallon

    The Gullah are famous for their sweetgrass baskets! That craft came from Africa and in the early years of the colony was one of many pieces of expertise that slaves from rice-growing regions along the ‘Windward Coast’ and elsewhere brought with them. The Africans’ skills (and labor, of course, and MORE labor – endless amounts of labor) allowed their owners to profit very handsomely from rice crops. For a while (in the mid-1700’s, anyway), Africans who came from rice-growing countries cost extra for this very reason.


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