Sunday, November 06, 2016

gift cloth

I am carefully basting red edged hankies onto thin white linen in the shape of a cross.
There is something quite powerful yet really domestic in this work.
I believe in the power of domestic.
Domestic is a poetic space we carry along inside us throughout our entire lives.
Gaston Bachelard said that.
I'm not setting my kitchen timer for one hour like I used to do.
I just start working and go at it all day, breaking for walk or errands or visiting my dad or meals.
All the day, I work.
Even my reading has slowed to one Grace Paley short story a day,
her observations and compassions about mothers and lovers.
soft and gentle
healing vital energy
my work is absorbing, not exhausting
I feel my way towards a new body of work
I hope to join together my thought process with my making process

Usually, I begin with a thought and then start placing fabrics
but things then get urgent and firm up so quickly...I can't stop them.
I go with the new way
I have to.
I would like to slow down the many false starts I make.

I just don't have time to go off hand stitching in all directions.
soft, subtle
unsophisticated
intuitive, almost artless
that red!

red edge thin and delicate
I hold it up to the light ...
strength of colour
softness of cloth
facing down mortality
this is careful work
like the tai chi movement of carrying  a tiger - heavy yet dangerous

red and white together mean death in many cultlures, accidents

red thread edges mean protection in many cultures

red and white has such a childlike simplicity
Someone will love this, I think, as I slowly hem the linen,  because I do.
Old fragile squares plus new red threads and time

The time it takes to put it together and the time it recalls from the past century.
both
All of these hankies were gifts.

it's a gift cloth
Why are red and white so beloved and feared?
refuge from everything
a sense of chance

The work unfolds and takes its course
like nature does

7 comments:

Liz Ackert said...

You have stitched a prayer, a blessing for our broken world ... thank you for sharing it here

Tina said...

WOW, this is really nice, soothing and so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Ms. said...

The red cross is a sign for sanctuary recognized Internationally, and yours, so full of meaning, time and thought is surely sanctified.

Carol Wiebe said...

I would call "Gift Cloth" a gift post. You have offered beautiful words and images to savor and ponder. Thank you.

Mo Crow said...

have almost finished stitching these words-

"On the lip of an abyss roaring with dark wind stood a tiny bush that bore an intensely red flower. The bush grew right on the very edge of nothingness, and yet somehow its roots were holding. It had a grip that no wind could disturb: it thrived there, all on its own, this modest little plant, and while the abyss yawned beside it, it went on bravely, doggedly flowering.

Helen Garner “Notes from a Brief Friendship” 2011 p46 “Everywhere I Look” 2016

contemplating how to stitch that tough little scrap of a red flower here you are stitching together your deeply powerful flowering red cross with such love and devotion

Susan McQuade said...

What a beautiful, tranquil cloth

mansuetude said...

Love you.