Today my brother is being transferred to a rehab facility. In a pique of helplessness, I ordered him a diffuser and some jasmine oil — to elevate his mood? When what he needs are electrical stimulators or computer driven exercise devices?
His impatience to GET ON WITH IT will serve him well and it may not necessarily shorten the length of his recovery. So much remains up in the air.
Listening to old Tippet interview with Vincent Harding on dog walk. A few takeaways:
To label the justice movement as one centering on “civil rights” is to fall very short of MLK Jr’s vision of the “beloved community.”
Stories are essential
We need to seek out our wise elders
The commotion of limb removal next door, believe it or not, refreshes my grief at Michelle’s passing. Even tho she lived in Manhattan and I dwell in a leafy suburb, we both frequently felt assaulted by noise. My commiserator in chief. I still can’t believe she’s gone.
Re-reading passages from Virginia Woolf’s diaries this week, a little light bulb went on. Here’s my insight: Jude Hill has a distinctly Woolfian sensibility and that may be why I felt so instantly drawn to her. Listen:
All I mean to make is a note of a curious state of mind.
My theory being the actual event practically does not exist — nor time either.
I wrote this partly in order to slip the burden of writing narrative
I want to sort out all the ideas that have accumulated in me.
The complete collection of Woolf’s novels got away from me at some point. I regret that. Reading her in college was like opening a door to myself. Big time.
Confession: I once took a pack of colored pencils to a copy of The Waves and appropriately highlighted all the color words. I’m sure I had a reason.
Interestingly, I now prefer more “straight up” narratives. A product of aging no doubt. Ask me if I care.
British crime novels, it is!
No really, I’m working my way through Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brody series.
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.
This is a small gallery revealing Jude Hill‘s influence and inspiration. I am feeling nostalgic. It’s been different without her private classes. And I’ve been ‘away’ from her and others’ blogs — more consumed with writing and the ten month project for Charleston. I miss being on a learning curve that was as exciting as it was steep.
Life is all about change. And it’s hard, too. We are all constantly adapting to various burdens, impositions or difficulties — aging not the least of them. One of the things I have admired about Jude the most is her capacity for invention — not just of her cloth creations (the way she can take an idea in fifteen directions, each of them further than I could possibly have imagined), but also of how she has conducted herself online — generously, with poetry and beauty, and with unbelievable technological skill.
The reinvention of late seems to be toward greater privacy, which of course I respect, but the thought of her going away makes me panic a little.
There is so much more I want to say about this, but I haven’t done my morning pages yet and the dog will need walking soon, so it’ll have to wait.
But before I go off to my LIST and my PAGES and the CLEANING I like to do on Mondays, I wanted to assemble a collection of pictures from the summer class I took — ‘Considering Weave’ with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth. Just as a place to see what I did. How much I learned. These kinds of visual bookmarks make a difference down the road… it is so easy to underestimate or lose track of the volume of threads/cloth that went through the process with me… this will help me remember!
And, by the way, the act of doing this — its value both now and later — is just one of the many, many things learned from Jude.
in-process butterfly received a needle woven body — idea to embroider words inspired by Cindy over at handstories
some actual weave; some figurative
one of my indigo cloths with woven opening — made so many mistakes!
a woven patch — lumpy, loveable, functional
the “Triscuit” crater — backing from my indigo vat
buckling caused by size of opening could not be fixed even with machine stitching to a heavy weight backing
woven ‘islands’ extending patterning over edge — one of my favorites from the class
woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing
visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches
the crow got a woven base and flew off to Wendy Golden-Levitt
seeing warp and weft all around
continuing on a piece in context of weaving — many sections begun in another of Jude’s classes
more strip weaving because it’s hard to stop; travels well
speckled vintage linen from Deb Lacativa’s dye pot
blue sky — arashi technique with commercial dye — by moi!
sampler: Corn Guy
as I started ‘sewing’ more, back neatened up (worked top down)
copy of Jude’s waves. Woven on primitive box loom (which was a rectangular basket in my case)
Planning to order a bead loom so that I can continue without some of the frustrating tension issues caused by wrapping warp around a basket and taping it to the back.
I didn’t get a chance to make any fringe and look forward to trying. Would like to edge some of my Star Maps with it. And, I can’t wait to try some of the more experimental techniques offered this month. Any more meaningful reflections on the class will have to wait. It was a terrifically provocative journey (as usual)… and if other classes I have taken are any indication, the fruits of the learning will keep coming over the next months and seasons.
Last week marked the beginning of another online learning adventure with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth. I will not footnote every idea/work that springs from there (out of laziness; also to honor how quickly the ideas may flow). Just know here, upfront, there will be many strands of discussion from that forum showing up here, with gratitude and excitement!I made many woven rectangles during Jude’s class “Cloth to Cloth”. At that time, I discovered how one could FIRST weave with the cloth, THEN create more weaving with thread (after all, a RUNNING STITCH is essentially a weave — over/under, over/under), AND THEN, create more faux weaving by appliqueing chips of fabric onto the surface. I found the exercise of making these rectangles satisfying and irresistible. I have piles of them downstairs. Pictured above are four that were lying about. Early experiments in incorporating woven rectangles into larger quilts (like the landscape, upper right) were not always successful.
Last night I worked on a Little Pink Elephant (notice her woven skin!!). The horizontal blue stitching came first. Next, I stitched the vertical white thread to look like weaving. Unlike a loom, where the vertical threads would be the stable, structure-forming threads, my verticals are wobbly… they are forced to accommodate the less-than-regular rhythm of the blue.
I am in love with the concentric circles in the sky.
Would I have thought to interrupt the circles’ paths around the blue disk without the discussion of weaving at Spirit Cloth? I don’t know. I’ll probably travel a different color thread through the white circles.
The rest of the pictures are from the morning’s walk and all triggered by the thoughts of weave in general and basket-making in particular.