Chinese New Year, collage, 2.5" x 2.5"
I am grateful for:
another snow day, a long walk with Jack in the quiet and snow,
the patterns that strewn salt makes on fresh-fallen snow,
a fixed furnace and the funds to pay for it, a fixed bath valve,
and the thought of a hot bath later, Trader Joe’s Summer Curry Sauce
(dinner in a jar), dinners in front of the TV, messes that can be cleaned up,
dreams, boiling water for coffee, C.’s new haircut and the memory of his very first
haircut at age 4, food in the fridge, food in general, plans for lunch with friends,
emails from friends, phone calls from friends, dinner invites from friends,
winter robins eating holly berries near the side stoop,
Graph II finally done (7th grade science), and
the first tug toward gardening (which during the early parts of the winter,
I never expect to feel again).
I am also grateful for the little piece shown above. It is about 2.5″ square and excites me because of the newness of the direction. It is two photo-shopped digital images of cabbages, sandwiched together with a zigzag stitch, with a Chinese flash card in between. The back cabbages were printed onto cotton fed through my inkjet printer and the top cabbages were printed onto a sheet of transparency fed through my printer. The cabbages were photographed at Angino Farm, Newton’s CSA. (The yellow border is not a part of the collage).
I also love this two and half inch square because it came together by way of some of the best parts of the creative process, and they are:
The gathering of things is a big part of what artists do. It is part-shopping, part scavenging, part receiving of gifts. I have no idea who gave me the Chinese flashcards and I have nearly given them away a half dozen times because they lived next to the Pledge and rags in the front closet, instead of somewhere more accessible and logical like with my rubber stamps and decorative papers.
The piece (by its mere existence) speaks to redemption (it is just some scraps stitched together, I know!). It was cut off an earlier failed attempt at something along these lines. Often the attempts to make something work are marked by struggle and frustration, and ultimately you may produce something semi-worthwhile, or even very worthwhile, but the process is heavy. Perhaps too much about the desire to makegood on a failure… too much about the refusal to let something go, instead of the upswing of invention. But when a snippet becomes a pleasing visual treat just by being in the right place at the right time, one can celebrate. It doesn’t happen that often.
Lastly, whenever and wherever serendipity pokes its playful head, it is worth taking note. In this case, the flipping calendar with Chinese words on the side found its way into this collage a few days before Chinese New Year (today!!) and on the day I wrote my check for this year’s farm share. Can I parse any particular meaning from this? Not really. Not this time. But that doesn’t make it any less delightful.
The collage does seem to resonate with my friend J., who is alive and well, blessedly, although probably not up to making the several dozen dumplings she usually makes this time of year. Perhaps this little collage should make its way to her house as a New Year greeting!! Happy New Year J, M & M and adopted Chinese daughters everywhere!!!