Finally, the air takes on a chill. Winter isn’t far away when it starts getting dark at 4:00 in the afternoon. The rabbit constellation resides at Orion’s feet. She is either hunted (by Orion’s dogs), or a wily trickster — perpetually running just ahead of the hunter’s bow across the winter sky. Visible in February.
I used an old star chart for reference… And though I have no real attachment to the story of the rabbit, I like that it IS a story… I like that I stitched on top of a deliberate exercise in obfuscating personal narrative. (Before). Often a period of reflection is required before finishing a quilt.
It was inspired by spending time under the catalpa tree this summer, dyeing cloth blue, and seeing rabbits feeding both here and in the neighbors’ backyards. Oh, and the blue moon that occurred on August 31, 2012.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, I think the paper doll quality of the tiny garments on the clothes lines gave me a kind of innocent pleasure. Perhaps I should make some paper dolls?!
I continued my experimentation with layering sheers, removing color with bleach, and using the ‘wrong’ sides of fabrics to achieve a more subtle palette.
The hand stitching is pretty dense and although I wished I had not used any ‘regular’ sewing cotton thread (even a single strand of cotton embroidery floss tugs better), I mostly like it.
The light is definitely changing in these parts.
And I guess since the equinox is not until this weekend, the cold I’ve contracted is officially a summer one. Off to a hot bath!!
It has some specificity – THIS August there will in fact, be a blue moon. This summer, cloth has hung on a string strung out back, not tree to post or house to post, but deck to mini-ramp. Still…
The rabbit in the quilt really does visit our yard, even when eight of us are having BBQ and salad at the table under one of the catalpa trees.
And the results of my indigo ventures are evident – nearly all of the blue fabric in this piece were dipped in the five gallon bucket out back. Some were bleached as well. I have fallen in love with the color of indigo, and more surprisingly, with the metallic smell it imparts to cloth.
I have been stitching to a boxed DVD set from library called, “Why Quilts Matter” (more on that another time) and in the evenings to Showtime’s series: The Tudors. Both K & I loved Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hollow’ and are psyched that its sequel now resides on our kindles… I’ll probably save that read for winter (and it may consume most of the winter!). ‘The Art of Fielding’ is a perfect tale for the end of summer, and some compensation for not sleeping until 2:30.
This week I watched ‘In the Electric Mist‘ twice. It is a post-Katrina murder thriller set in Louisiana. It stars Tommy Lee Jones and is based on a book by James Lee Burke. My sister turned me on to James Lee Burke. They are good reads all on their own, but are particularly interesting to me because I am currently obsessed with southern landscapes. I especially wanted to see one of his books on film to confirm what I found disappointing in the wonderful new movie, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ – and that is, that ITS landscapes were repetitive and washed out instead of marvelously tangled and varied and intensely blue and green. (The relationships and characters of the ‘Beasts’ film more than made up for my disappointment about the scenery).
Today I include my viewing notes because it has struck me recently that perhaps I stitch in order to sit and watch one narrative after another on the screen, and not the other way around! Has anyone else ever had this slightly disturbing epiphany?
The house is open, and hot, and airless, but still it is preferable to the AC.
A cute bunny added to an otherwise unpopulated piece ought to inspire something besides my own sense of being derivative. I may just have to give her time. And what about the dragonflies, you ask?!
My best moments, of late, come in the basement… where there is no season, no tide or influence, just stuff wanting to be chucked, folded, or assembled. It’s cool down there. Scraps that I saved got stitched into this assembly this morning. The pink handmade paper (center) dates back to when we renovated our house. Stuffed in the walls of the old kitchen were newspapers… I saved them, whirred them up in a blender and pulled them into sheets. Ads for clothing and rugs for sale in Framingham. Words that had been in the walls. This batch might have been made with four year olds at C’s nursery school (clue? the pink sparkles). THAT tells me the paper is 14 years old.
Another year, I fed acetate through the inkjet & made copies of a collage featuring fingers pressing into dough from a food magazine. Back then I was thinking about craft and money, wondering about it. I am still wondering about it. There were stars from an antique map of the constellations and fires from Providence, but you can’t really see them now.
Allen Ginsburg never did it for me, but I suppose I have to mention him, what with ‘howl’ and all. I printed HOWL onto cloth and acetate at a time when you couldn’t (and you STILL can’t) escape the words DREAM TRUST CREATE BELIEVE, like we are all four years old and waiting for Santa.
I like the photographed, ink stitches lining up with the thread stitches.
I can’t keep my blog up to date with the work that I am doing. I guess that is a good thing, but it has a way of feeling heavy, too.
After quoting the bible yesterday, I was wondering if I ought to express my protests about homophobia in this country, just in case people got the wrong idea.
Nah, it’s too hot to protest. I’m going back to this table, hopefully to stitch myself into a better mood.
How much human suffering, mine and others’, comes back to our ambivalence about being here, our uncertainty about committing fully to a human life, to living awake with what is within and around us!
The Call, Discovering Why You are Here
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
To live in this world
you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it
against your bones knowing your own life depends on it, and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
Mary Oliver, from ‘In Blackwater Woods’
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
David Whyte, from ‘What to Remember When Waking’
And if we are truly not trying to get anywhere, but simply allow ourselves to be here in this moment as it is, we can stumble easily upon an ancient stillness…
Jon Kabat-Zinn, ‘Wherever You Go There You Are’
A community is a well to drink from, a place to nourish our spirits and find the strength we need to ride life’s ups and downs. It’s also a place to discover what we have to give.
Gabrielle Roth, ‘Sweat Your Prayers’
Have you ever felt that if you were to really ‘expand your borders’, God would have to accelerate your already busy life? You are not alone in the assumption. But you should know that God has entirely different ways of enlarging your influence and impact.
Bruce Wilkerson daily calendar based on ‘The Prayer of Jabez’
And now the ‘Prayer of Jabez’ itself, from 1 Chronicles 4:10:
Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil.