Yesterday, I found this drawing of a polar bear while cleaning out a closet. It seemed particularly synchronous as I had just the night before dreamt about a bear (a brown bear, but still) AND the temperatures dropped radically overnight.
I am filming a big brown bear at a safe distance. After a while of watching it travel up a steep slope, I watch it on the video clip on my phone, until I realize that by doing so, I no longer have eyes on the real bear. Where is it? I panic a little and slide into water at the edge of a small lake, as if that offered protection. Even as I am trying to save myself from the bear, I am suddenly consumed with thoughts about drowning myself.
But then I start swimming to a cluster of buildings on the opposite shore and find myself surprised at how easily I get there. I’m not that strong of a swimmer. Something about the sanctity of the body. Inhabiting it. Trusting it to take me to the next safe place.
** The landscape is very like the landscape of the trout lakes up in the Sierras where we vacationed one summer a while back. CALIFORNIA.
** The drawing copies a portion of an illustration to the fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
I spent several mornings last week creating decorative pieces for students playing Native Americans in a local Peter Pan production… Afterwards, I decided to continue using black fabric with Heat Bond to create this week’s Journal Quilt. In keeping with Native traditions, I allowed a dream to dictate my choice… last week’s dreamscape produced a black bear. I cannot tell you how many Novembers and Decembers found me wishing that I was a bear, so that I could purposefully, rightfully load up on carbs and fat in anticipation of a long, long nap!
Journal Quilt Week 3
Bears are associated with the North, with winter, and with wisdom and introspection. Native Americans call them the “Keepers of Dreamtime”. Their energy is considered feminine, both because of the womb-like cave of hibernation and the duration of mothering time for cubs (as long as 7 years). We have so much snow this winter, it’s no surprise that Bear Energy is strong!
(To satisfy my Journal Quilt Rule of carrying over a fabric from the previous week, I used strips of yellow-ish linen — found on the right side of the bear).
And speaking of bears, for a long time I’ve known that the fourth quilt in a series on global warming would have polar bears in it. The thought of polar bears drowning as they swim in search of ice is heartbreaking. The first three quilts in this series featured hot, saturated colors, with wavy lines signaling heat and circles representing suns and unrelenting radiation. I am not accustomed to working with the pale palette that I’ve collected for the polar imagery and find it challenging — which probably means this is a good exercise.
I am also trying to sort out a more streamlined way to go from the initial collage-phase to the finished quilt. If I piece almost everything, I get bogged down by the slow tempo and lose much of the initial feel of the design. Someday I may just slide a big piece of canvas underneath and gesso the thing together! My recent idea is to create four smaller quilts that I will join.