The decision to give The Crow to Wendy Golden-Levitt to share with traumatized children as part of their therapy (see yesterday’s post), not only inspired subsequent design choices, it gave energy to completion. Like the commissioned quilt, I wanted there to be very soft textures (this one: angora knit, silk wings, satin woven sections, velvet backing). After mounting the rectangle to a jacket, with visions of children running with the crow on their backs, I cut it away, because it wouldn’t fit the little ones, and anyway, three feet of streaming ribbon could possibly problematic. The captions tell the rest.
As many of you know, awhile back I was commissioned to make a quilt for Wendy Golden-Levitt, a Jungian therapist in Canada who uses cloth in her work with children.
Wendy sent the fiber artists whose work she employs a beautiful book as a thank you. It is filled with the most moving testimony from the children, including wonderfully wise and curious speculations about the cloth makers.
Here are just a few gems:
“I am getting better working with the cloths. I can feel the people who made them. I think they understand what it is like to wait…”
“You step towards it [the cloth] and it whispers something. By the time you are holding it, you got a real relationship going. You can trust it completely.”
“Were they sad or stitching themselves into serious happiness? Do they have days when they are not feeling good in the heart? Do they listen to their dogs or cats? Do they eat waffles while they are sewing?”
I was so moved to see a young woman using “my” quilt as a prayer rug.
(and, by the way, check out how completely color-coordinate she is with the quilt — right down to her fingernails!!)
I blogged about genesis of the idea of a “Treasure Island” theme here and about it being in progress here, but apparently never blogged about its completion. So here are some pix.
Fabric depicting a treasure map got me going with the idea of healing being like a sailor looking for gold. I wanted there to be lots of animals in the cloth, too — both as guides to the children, and as characters in whatever stories they were busy telling. I bound it with ‘baby-blanket satin’ to make it as touchable and inviting as possible.
Receiving the book was so moving, that it inspired me to send another piece — that Crow I’d been working on. I’ve heard from Wendy and the Crow has landed!!
I took a gazillion pictures of The Crow for some reason, so I plan to dedicate a post to it. But for now let me say that once I knew I was sending it to Wendy, I mounted it on velvet and added satin binding to the lower section… soft textures that will be inviting to the touch!
“Dreaming is the psyche itself doing soul-work.” J. Hillman
Although it shouldn’t be, it is amazing to me how much the thoughts and images of other bloggers become part of my inner life. Here is a tiny window into how that happened yesterday.
Michelle’s recent post reminded me of how much I have drawn from psychologist/author James Hillman…
Which prompted me to pull down my ragged and yellowed copy of Hillman’s “The Dream and The Underworld”:
… if we think back on any dream that has been important to us, as time passes and the more we reflect on it, the more we discover in it, and the more varied the directions that lead out of it.
As the dream is guardian of sleep, so our dream-work, yours and mine, is protective of those depths from which dreams rise, the ancestral, the mythical, the imaginal, and all the hiding invisibilities that govern our lives.
Dreams are… watchmen of that coming night, and our attitude toward them may be modeled upon Hades, receiving, hospitable, yet relentlessly deepening, attuned to the nocturne, dusky, and with a fearful cold intelligence that gives permanent shelter in his house to the incurable condition of human being.
“relentlessly deepening” and “fearful cold intelligence” — these are words that an introvert with Pluto on the ascendant (who has kept notes on dreams since she was a girl) can hold on to and embrace!
I went to sleep last night knowing I’d quote some Hillman today, thinking if I remembered a dream, I’d share it, in part because I was inspired (am always inspired) by Grace’s recent post in which she shares a dream about the Dalai Lama. (I forget mine).
And yesterday, Joe, through a series of facebook posts, re-connected me back to this amazing blues singer, Chastity Brown, whom I tried to draw and kept JUST missing freezing the YouTube frame where I wanted it, but drew away anyway, listening to that amazing song, over and over.
And, right now my collar itches, because after months of thinking about it, I cut my hair this morning. This was inspired in no small part by Saskia whose work, storytelling, abode, and spirit are the primary drivers of my interest in her, but she happens to also have a great HAIRCUT!
What better cauldron for noticing and using synchronicity?!!
And let me end with this flourish. Mid afternoon yesterday, I picked up a little applique crow I’ve started, with a determination to finish it, when the ca-ring of an incoming comment jingled my nearby phone. It was Mo Crow!!! Can you stand it? All the way around the world in Australia, Mo, who keeps monastic hours in an opposite season, was chiming in. The evening found me ripping out the incorrectly aligned crow’s legs in part because I want the thing to be good enough to share with an artist (and I mean Mo, of course) whose body of work revolves around and celebrates crows.
Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
(quoted in Julia Cameron’s book, “The Vein of Gold”)
I thought I was being soooooo productive and accountable to a blog-posted To Do list by hemming the jeans of Dan’s that have been transiting from pile to pile since Thanksgiving. Imagine my surprise when D. held up one of the two pairs and asked, “Why did you hem Kevin’s jeans, Mom?!!” (Kevin doesn’t live here).
Ah, so much for the satisfaction of a thing done. The cut hems could not be thrown out, naturally. The pictures above I hope demonstrate WHY not. Their ragged edges and variations of blue do a better job suggesting the blue shadows of winter than my first journal quilt (below).
I have ALREADY revised my rules. I started with a rule that at least some fabric must come from the floor. When I discovered over the weekend that I was reluctant to re-bin fabrics that had been dumped out (during some mad need for a container) because it meant I would have less interesting fabrics on the floor to pick from, I realized that the rule I had created supposedly to trick myself into cleaning up had already become a disincentive. So! I revised the rule to —
Each Journal Quilt must include scraps from a bin.
This rule, however, is meaningless, since nearly my entire stash qualifies, so I let it go. These two new mini-quilts (possibly one will be Journal for this week), put me in mind of perhaps a better rule…
At least one fabric must carry over from week to week.
Here, the deep blue with white dots (suggesting snow fall) was the background for last week’s quilt.
The process of putting Christmas things away is satisfying. Wrapping, tucking, safekeeping for next year AND clearing space. The tree is still up, but with only colored lights now.
I wish I could revel in the mess as much as the figure below seems to!
Lastly, here are two figures needing work. The grey unspun wool figure needs a body. I find that an interesting metaphor. I may attach him to a cross-beam and explore the notion of sacrifice while I’m at the business of examining how and why I become dis-embodied (such heavy requirements!! — but then, it is just where the thing wants to go. I merely follow!) I drew the head on Shrinky-Dink, copying a portrait of an African man who appeared to be an ecstatic trance. The priestly figure has a body, but needs arms. This guy holds interest all of a sudden because he seems to have changed sides on me. I made him during the height of the sex scandals here in Boston. Then he was, by virtue of his silence and passivity, a nasty co-conspirator in the abuses. But yesterday, when I wrapped him in that thread shawl (also made ages ago), he just struck me as sad. Perhaps he is one of the many priests that was not aware of what was going on. Perhaps he grieves the damage done — not just to all those victims, but to the Catholic Church itself. Amazing what passing time can do to a picture, image or idea!