Tag Archives: gullah

Blue Cross and endings

These mosaics aren’t about my sister, per se — more about clearing out her apartment. The first four pictures show how she lived. The second four, the clean up.

As of this morning, it’s done. Keys handed over. Inspection performed. Cancellation of lease signed.

There were a lot of people at the housing office. Bundled against the cold. Stacking and restacking all the papers they’d brought. Proof of this. Proof of that.

It wasn’t lost on me that to each and every one of them, my sister’s death represented a boon — a chance to move up a slot on the waiting list. My sister was on that list for eight years. Waiting. Wondering. Whenever she’d trot out her conspiracy theories, I’d push back, “Nah — we’re just waiting for someone to die.”

I’m thinking the blue cross in my new quilt piece (more of a doodle than anything) might represent aid coming from unexpected places (a blue cross being a less recognizable symbol of aid than a Red Cross). The bird and flying insects represent freedom. The underlying thought is that it’s too bad my sister had to die for me to be free. It wasn’t the route I would have chosen. And my problems didn’t set it up that way.

In other fiber news, I added an external pocket to my denim travel bag for my phone. Yeah! Also, the pennant I contributed to Mo‘s project, “I dream of a world where love is the answer” has flown home, along with tokens. In particular, I love the little white star. Thank you, Mo!

And lastly, the woman who taught the Indigo workshop I attended in 2014 down in South Carolina, Donna Hardy, posted this on Instagram this week.

I am shipping off a heavy weight cotton rectangle with a simple resist that came from Africa. It’s an honor to be part of this project, too.

PS my eyes feel 90% better already!

BBQ on Saturday night — end of Sea Island Indigo workshop

IMG_0950Southern cooking at its finest! We had: Ossabaw pork (roasted and smoked for 24 hours and basted with a mustard/vinegar sauce and donated by Holy City Hogs), hash, chicken bog, okra stewed with tomatoes, cukes with dill and red onion, succotash that featured raw (delicate!) corn and butter beans, cornbread, and Carolina Gold rice, donated by Anson Mills.

Rebellion Farm host and pig roaster - Jeff Allen

Rebellion Farm host and pig roaster – Jeff Allen

Hash - Phase One

Hash – Phase One

Hash in its final form

Hash in its final form

Hash, apparently, can be made of various parts. For this one, our host used pig’s head and feet. It tasted remarkably like pate. ‘Chicken bog’ is a porridge of stewed chicken and rice. On the Anson Mills site, they call it ‘the most famous unknown dish of the South’ and include a recipe.

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our dinner’s father, top left

Ossabaw hogs are a breed of pig derived from feral pigs found on Ossabaw Island, Georgia. Unique in many ways, these hogs are “the closest genetic representative of historic stocks brought over by the Spanish”. Read more about them here.
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IMG_0931Sides were prepared by Gullah Chef BJ Dennis. I didn’t get a great picture of him, but there’s one on this post about the evening (and, by the way, you’ll also find lots of other great pictures). For a wonderful portrait of Mr. Dennis that also talks about Gullah food generally, go here.

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Kathy Hattori and Laura Kissel

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For the dinner, we were joined by foodies, botany experts, fashion designers and entrepreneurs and a filmmaker.  It was an interesting and vivacious group.

Donna Hardy holding up jar of sorghum

Donna Hardy holding up jar of sorghum

IMG_5443IMG_0960IMG_0955 The pole barn was transformed with white and indigo-dyed linens. Bouquets of local flowers and indigo leaves (of course) dotted the tables. A glorious sunset lit up the horizon.
IMG_0959After dinner we were treated to a showing of Laura Kissel’s documentary about clothing manufacturing called, “Cotton Road“.  The movie starts with cotton in a field in South Carolina, follows the fiber to China, and then back again, as clothing being shipped into Charleston Harbor. It was poignant and disturbing.
IMG_5447From the website:

Cotton Road uncovers the transnational movement of cotton and tells the stories of worker’s lives in a conventional cotton supply chain. From rural farms in South Carolina to factory cities in China, we span the globe to encounter the industrial processes behind our rapacious consumption of cheap clothing and textile products. Are we connected to one another through the things we consume? Cotton Road explores a contemporary landscape of globalized labor through human stories and provides an opportunity to reflect on the ways our consumption impacts others and drives a global economy.

All in all, the Sea Island Indigo workshop was an educational, stimulating, fun, and worthwhile experience!

*  *  *

Sea Island Indigo Workshop took place September 18-21, 2014 in Charleston, SC.  A field of indigo was grown for us by Donna Hardy, of Sea Island Indigo, 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.

 

 

The Gullah Lady – Sharon Cooper-Murray

IMG_0474The Sea Island Indigo Workshop weekend* began on Thursday, September 18 at the Charleston Museum with a rag-quilting workshop and storytelling by Sharon Cooper-Murray, aka ‘the Gullah Lady‘.  Sharon is a compelling performer and interesting historian, as well as a fiber artist and writer in her own right.

Here’s a 25 second example of a Gullah tale that she told at Boone Plantation recently.  If you hunt around YouTube you can find lots more!  And, Charlestonmag.com posted an interview with her here. The Gullah story that we heard was vivid, complete with foot stomping and arm gestures. Translation needed — you could tell that some urgent message needed conveying, but not exactly what (turns out the hens used to rise first in the morning, not the roosters, and the story told why).

beautiful example of rag quilt - it weighs a TON, even without backing or batting

beautiful rag quilt – it weighs a TON


indigo strips provided!

indigo strips provided!

Rag quilting is a no-sew method of quilting making.  Strips of fabric are poked into a loose weave base and tied on top.  We used burlap for the base and a nail for an implement.  Earlier makers used feed sacks or possibly, the loose weave fabric used to construct slave garments, osnaburg (also called ‘Negro Cloth’).  It is a resourceful means of cloth making — requiring no needles, thread, or large scraps.
IMG_0464IMG_0477Sharon brings a work-in-progress along with her, to which we were all invited to insert a strip.
IMG_5395Here is Sharon — as herself — constructing one of her Indigo Babies for the dye vat.  She sells these at fairs locally.
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IMG_5475Of course once I got home, I devised a shortcut — using a tapestry needle and longer strips.
IMG_5477IMG_5480By stitching with enough slack between pokes, the strip can then be cut and tied, four at a time.

I love the back!

I love the back!

This method would be a terrific way to use up fabrics that are not needle-friendly.

*****

Next up:  visit to Avery Research Center, then two days of indigo dyeing in a pole barn!

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.