My brother is on a plane to LAX. It’s snowing here in Massachusetts. The power’s out in Georgia. Rainsluice is posting heartbreaking but clarifying articles on Twitter. K is walking the dog. Who knows what William Barr is doing.
Today: we will enjoy a fire. I have two chicken carcasses to make stock. I’m dreaming of a bean soup with sweet potatoes. Cilantro. A little heat. Mmmmm
I’m converting masks with cloth ties to masks with elastic (remember when elastic ordered online took three months to arrive?) Two ties ended up on the quilt above — they’re the orange and white fabric strips with a line of machine stitching on one edge. I like that quarantine energy found a way in. A friend on Instagram liked that I called the black fabric, “the moon ground.”
This was one of those pieces where I kept adding things and then rejecting the additions. Spare horizon and a disturbed sky with an indistinct shelter speak to the moment, I guess.
In the one below, the paths need work. Should they cross over into the green?
In the meantime, it’s worth singing in the shower: I am healthy. I am happy. I am ho-oh-Oh-lee.
Pieced it up yesterday and did some cleaning today.
Do you think it was needed?
I’ll sign off with this blast from the past — taken during a visit to a Wolf Preserve up in Ipswich. Both boys were so blonde back then! K was always good about getting us camping or hiking or fishing — such a gift to the boys and something both carried into adulthood.
Stodgy New Englanders who might on a normal day in a normal week nod hello, now yodel out their greetings. “Good morning!” “Good morning!”
“Washing your hands?” I ask one neighbor.
Instacart order left on side porch yesterday. I donned one of my masks and washable gloves and got to work. Two big pots, one filled with soapy water, the other with hot water. Four rags.
I washed everything. The bananas. The boxes of soup stock. The cans of pineapple chunks. The quart of milk.
K thinks I go overboard (a bit of contention there), but I have a friend who put her bags on newspaper, washed everything, and then burned the newspapers and paper bags!
How does this substitution make sense?
My order came in plastic bags and I stowed them in the garage, untouchable for now. Would’ve thrown them out, but our town recently banned plastic bags and well, we have a dog.
Here Finn is, near where I want K to build a raised bed. It would use up a lot of lumber that clutters the garage (who am I to say anything with, um, all the fabric?) It’s the only full sun spot in our yard. Secondary benefit: a raised bed would avoid the toxins the roots of a nearby black walnut put out.
The descriptions of dying with coronavirus prompted this digital collage. It’s like drowning, they say.
I finished this yesterday. Two cloth notes:
1) The madras window came from the last garment I bought for my sister. She was wearing the dress when the fire fighters came to transport her to the nursing home where she died a couple of weeks later. There’s a whole story there, in other words, and that little rectangle speaks to it.
2) The hanger is a cloth-mask-tie that I decided wasn’t long enough. So there’s that reference.
I really enjoyed working on this yesterday — even the binding finish. Says something about how I feel about making masks!
The first house (below) didn’t belong so I took it off. New house includes cloth that Deb Lacativa gifted me recently.
As a hostess gift, Deb brought threads, too!
I’ve put them in the box that formerly housed my sister’s Aquarian Tarot deck. Noreen left behind some fifteen decks, but this was her favorite, in her possession since the mid-seventies. I love the cards, too, but knew they weren’t mine to use. During Deb’s visit, it just became so clear that they should go home with her.
Deb later informed me that the artist who created the deck, David Palladini, died on March 13. The same day as my sister. (He also went to Pratt Institute — which is where my parents met).
My sister’s glass collection cheered up an otherwise grey day. I can already tell that the season of watching Hallmark Christmas movies won’t be the same without her. We used to play an informal Bingo on the phone. “I got a character named Nick!” Or “I had the magic ornament!” “The kiss during a sleigh ride!” Or, “We need to add: Dancing while making cookies!”
That’s alright. I’ll be watching the impeachment hearings.
Spent more time on the manuscript: combining phrases and cutting out paragraphs and splitting a chapter for better flow. And even, for the first time in ages, doing a little research. Learned more about the Royalls who moved from Antigua around the same time as the Lucases and probably for some of the same reasons (hurricane, drought, an earthquake, and credible evidence of a slave revolt in 1736). All so I could add a line to a conversation between Eliza and her mother.
And so it goes.
Sorry if this is so disjointed. I’m watching Maddow as I type and it’s a dense episode.
It’s done. Sky indigo-dunked by me. Foreground silk, I don’t remember (arlee barr?) Pink linen: Deb Lacativa. Plaid house window: a shirt of my husband’s. There is blue-grey linen from Montreal, dark blue linen purchased in NYC in another lifetime, and scraps of a skirt that I wore to my last (and loathsome) job.
I keep asking myself — what is this little piece about?
Sometimes the story of the cloth can be found in the fabrics. The clock print would be the obvious narrative (the relentless march of time, etc.) but for me it’s all about that red plaid window. It’s warmth. It’s comfort. K wore it for years and years: camping, mowing the lawn, walking around the North Shore, fixing stuff in the house.
Somewhere I read that when quilters place a red fabric in the center of a log cabin patchwork square, it is to represent the hearth of home.
A recent experience offers something akin to permission to think about this a little differently. The experience? — this season’s Project Runway (yes, it survived Tim Gunn’s departure!)
If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know how often the judges insist on ‘story,’ which is something a little different and apart from the designer’s ‘voice.’ Each collection needs a story, the judges insist, a unifying theme. Sometimes what the designers say is laughably far-fetched, seemingly uttered just to satisfy the judges. Other times, you can see how the designer’s story directed construction and textile choices in a meaningful way.
Near the end of this season, the contestants were tasked with creating an installation, and the man who ultimately won simply could not find a narrative for his collection. He painted his cubicle an awful color and slapped up some floral cut-outs. It was dopey. It clashed with his exquisite garments. He flailed, openly complaining that he couldn’t find the story.
And yet, he won. The woven strips of leather, the craftsmanship, the authority of his designs were story enough, it turns out.
I’m still not sure what to think about this. Is the play of color and shape story enough? Maybe, maybe not. Listening (very part-time, I’m afraid) to Jude’s recent class, has me reviving old pieces. One side benefit to watching her create is this reconsidering of older work. IS this piece finished? Is that piece? Could something be added that would enliven it (i.e. tell a story)?
I’m quite certain that the reason making a gift for a particular person is gratifying, is because the recipient supplies the story. It’s built in. You start with this bib and that bob, and you’re off, all the while considering the person who will ultimately receive it. I know that this is an energetic matter, too, because as recently mentioned on Dana’s blog, after making a satisfying gift, I’ve tried to trick myself into thinking a subsequent piece was also a gift, to no avail.