More light in the kitchen late afternoons. I arranged my sister’s blue bottle collection on the sill to invite that vibration and to mark my sister’s passing.* This week marked two years gone. I’ve had a lot to say about that, but for now, not here.
This lovely heart came from Hazel after Noreen’s death. She was grieving too. I looked at the stitching up close today and appreciated once again, the craft, the care. My sister and I found this Virgin at a second hand store in Salem that we enjoyed frequenting. She mounted it on wood and added eye hooks. The ceramic pentacle had been hers as well.
Editing going full throttle right now. Or at least, as full throttle as I do anything anymore. Needed a solid nap this afternoon after being awake til three am.
When I couldn’t sleep last night, I came downstairs and read a Booker Prize winning novel set in Glasgow: Shuggie Bain. Alcoholic mother, despicable father, unbearable poverty. I’m compelled to finish but it is unrelentingly grim.
Almost done reading Eliza’s letters post-1744. Those describing her husband’s death are full of anguish, full of praise for Charles’s virtue and character. They had fourteen years together. Good years. Malaria did him in.
The thing I really loved about the second full day of the Sea Island Indigo Workshop* was how dyeing united us. Sounds philosophical, and maybe it is, but I simply mean this: the love of blue made us kin.
Leigh and Sarah — coated, flexible copper was to keep yarn skeins from tangling
On Thursday– we were parents or not, retired or not, local or not, from the North or the South, staying in the city or elsewhere, but by Saturday — IT WAS ALL ABOUT INDIGO. What are you dipping? How did you do that? Let me see! Batman?! Honestly, that’s pure genius! Ooooh!
Meghan’s son lucked out — look at that Batman!!
Sarah successfully dyed wooden buttons
If on Friday, we were felters, weavers, quiltmakers, spinners, storytellers, or fashion designers, by Saturday — we were all JUST INTO INDIGO. The enthusiastic focus that three large vats created was wonderful. It was binding. And the results were nothing short of spectacular.
It was hard to take pictures. What?!! Pause and lose out on another dunk? How could you? Gloves on/off, hands dried — when you could be twisting a cloth, eagerly dreaming of ghostly stripes or submerging that thrift store shirt?! And, it was one thing to get faces, sleeves, and shoes blue, but cameras and phones? Not so good. There were beautiful kimono scraps, woven shawls, and skeins of wool for sale, and even though I ran out of material at some point, I resisted. Do I get extra points for that? Speaking of getting blue on everything, take a look at Heather, above, and Julie, below. Margo dyed her hair.And, I was told I looked like I’d been ‘kissed by a Smurf’! PICTURE TO COME. Kathy Hattori sent me 1/2 dozen yesterday and you all should see at least one, but I want to post this today and though I could easily download pix to ‘dropbox’ I haven’t figure out how to get one to show up here. You will have to wait!
Batman creator, Meghan
I almost fell in a vat when Sage told me she was an Applied Physics major at Stanford – I guess SOME differences still popped!
Kathy & Ximena conversed in Spanish all w’end. Ximena grows mangoes in Columbia.
my fave, as you know. it faded A LOT at home (boo!). Donna Hardy on left.
Using strips of muslin, linen, and vintage table cloth for ties means you have those at the end, too
how did she stay so tidy?!!
We learned Michel Garcia’s 1-2-3 method on Saturday as well — which Glennis Dolce had gone over back in 2012 during her online Indigo Dyeing class, but I didn’t get around to it then. Maybe soon? I didn’t envy Kathy trying to get our attention on Saturday! The food was so unbelievable that night that it deserves its own post. Suffice it to say, that the aromas of roasting pig and Carolina Hash were mouth watering by mid-day Saturday!
hash in progress
* * *
Sea Island Indigo Workshop took place September 18-21, 2014 in Charleston, SC. A field of indigo was grown for us by Donna Hardy, on Rebellion Farm, in Ravenel, SC. Fiber artist Kathy Hattori, of Botanical Workshops, flew in from Seattle to co-lead the two days of hands-on indigo dyeing. My participation in the workshop was funded by a kickstarter campaign.
As promised, here is the visual record of ‘Blue Valentine’. I’m still calling it a valentine even though over the course of its making it became a family portrait — including a memorializing (of a sort) of Jack’s passing. First post was here.
Morning light reveals quilting
I brought the small quilt on our recent camping trip, and when I wasn’t reading, “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen, I was stitching in and around hearts. Recall, the guys were gone for two days on a hiking adventure up Mt. Washington.
Ammonoosuc Trail Head
reading companion and the best book I’ve read yet this year (and I have read some really good books!!)
made heart blue; added red threads; birds did not make it; used one of the many woven strip rectangles I have lying around; appliqued pieced scraps or just scraps
added lots of quilting; once windows extended to the right, I saw a roof in the red; dog stitched/ripped out; couched baker’s twine around big heart; covered red ‘extension’ threads; where some fabric intersections were unruly, let myself apply whip stitch heavily
added blue X’s (kisses) on disintegrating dog shape; filled out roof and filled in windows
gave dog form again — for a while
added window to heart
created ‘matching’ roof on left (which gave large heart appearance of having wings); added MORE windows; red ‘base’ to structure is distorted blanket stitch atop chain stitch
added more windows; scraped away some of the ecru silk to reveal red ribbing — getting to idea of revealing scars or wounds, or merely showing underlying structure
added two more small hearts so that there is one for each of us (including Jack) — changing piece from Valentine to Family Portrait. I like the downward dip of the lower edge. Bamboo skewer is a temporary hanger
This Morning Glory showed up the day Jack declined and has been blooming every morning since he died. It’s one of those reseeds that come and surprise and re-instill a sense of the glory and power of nature. Because of the timing, I can’t help but consider it a tribute to our Jack.
beauty in the ‘burbs – five-pronged star is sacred to the Goddess, by the way
Three days ago, the ‘exclaiming’ heart (below, right) seemed to me a little bit cartoonish, funny, just this side of ironic. . . reminding me of Lynda Barry‘s work somehow (if even a little).
Today, it looks stunned. Vulnerable. And we are, with news that Jack has lymphoma. Either Stage III or IV. There is so much to say about it, and him, but I am at the tail end of a day that featured one thing after another, just about every hour and a half (most of it good) and the pull toward either my book (DeLillo’s “Libra”) or ‘the crap out zone’ (TV and a snack) is too strong.
I’ll leave you with two images — the first of one of the amazing catalpa trees towering in our yard. This time of year, the orchid-like blossoms tumble down the roof of our garage and litter the walk and plants below. Until they turn start to stink in rotting piles of brown, I feel like royalty… walking the petal-strewn path!