Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

wordless wednesday before it becomes thursday

Me wordless: HA. 

A quick post to show you what I've been up to...still trying to find more oak leaves.  I think I've become addicted to at least finding one each day - even when it snowing.

The following frames are for my second fascicle: cover, 1&2, 3&4, 5&6.

I'm also taking part in two challenges: TAST: Take a Stitch Tuesday and
ALAW: A Letter a Week.  I've put links to these two challenges at the side bar. 

I'll be back to my usual chatty self soon.  Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, January 16, 2012

...and in completing herself, she completes me

mom's birth - day was saturday - january, 14 - 91  

“Do not wait for the last judgment. It comes every day.” 

“Life can be magnificent and overwhelming -- that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live. ” 

I finished "LEFT," as I wanted, before the stroke of midnight 2011/2012.  So since I wanted to post the final version and mom's birthday was close to the finish date, and they are related, I'm posting the completed cloth here. 

Front view

 “Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Back view

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”  

top details

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” 

bottom detail
“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”  

The following image is the central part of the cloth, the part most important to me.  That is where the story began:

“Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.” 

The story of the cloth and title, "LEFT," have a lot if not all to do with my mother and her illness.  It also refers to my sister.  

Left can mean many things.  It can be opposite of right.  It can be the past participle of leave, as in go away, gone.  Or it can mean staying  behind.  All but the first definition applies to this piece.  My sister left when she got married - and is rarely present.  My mother ages and changes and forgets and returns and leaves everyday.  Her memory is part of the past participle.  The figure on the right, the only singular figure that is completely stitched is the person that remains or perhaps memory.  The other two figure, what could  be an adult with a child, or a female figure with a younger person (my sister is two years older.) If you look at the figures moving "left" you can see them migrating out of the frame, eventually becoming a shadow, a memory.  Something that might peak from around the corner, depend on the light, the time of day, or the presence/absence of the person.  

Also, where the two figures in the center are standing, is the only place that remains unstitched. There are a few other rectangles placed around the figures - also not stitched.  Those are the voids from where we might emerge, get lost in, lose our memories, and who knows, maybe where we might meet again. 

It was a hard piece for me to deal with and think about...also the one that took the longest to complete.  For some reason completing that last stitch, like O'Henry's leaf...

There are many many stitches  here.  Call it Kantha if you want, running if you like, or just walking, as Jude calls it.  Either way, the cloth has a soft feel.  Very much like my mother's touch. 

And finally on a cheerful note:

I wrote a comment on Velma's blog which prompted a reply from her that gave me an idea.  These were the flowers that were popping up on mom's back yard lawn before the snow came.  Mom loved watching them out her window - she noted them everyday and after regretted they were covered.  Velma suggested I pick them and dye with them.  Well, I pound the dandelions on cloth and pressed the pansies. I will use them to make a little stitched bouquet for mom for her valentine.  

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."  And this Winter, until it started to be Winter, maybe we had a third spring as well.

“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” 
― Albert Camus 

The quotes above are attributed to Albert Camus.  Don't ask where they are from...the bad librarian didn't keep her citations for these, she just, "made notes for a short story," dear Chekhov. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011+1= moving into the new year

The Snowshoe Hare, by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992.

Greetings for the new year.  I feel as though I've been lagging behind and had better post something before the first full week of the new year passes, the moon becomes full and starts waning, and the constellations that are visible take flight and realign  themselves. I picked the piece above from Mary Oliver because of a few words that would apply to those of us that have picked cloth and thread as our medium...tangles, lapping thread...across the field and into another year. 

I've been occupying myself with domestic affairs.  My mother had a few issues with heat - as in furnace went out and then the fuse box needed updating/replacement...and of course the payment of same. There is one small minor electric replacement that needs to be done but if it doesn't happen no big deal. 

Most of my time was spent at mom's during the pass week, yes we even stayed up until midnight on NYeve.  I think this was a first for us, together at the changing of the guard.  I had a small bottle of bubbly, have had it for near 30 years, so we opened it and even did a toast.  I think mom managed a sip or two and I think I scored about four before we decided, that's okay, we've done the ritual.  But she enjoyed it so...

The hands that first taught me to hold needle and thread...of all kinds.
I still think her hands are quite beautiful, even though they do show their age, and time has not been kind.  She has arthritis in her hands and has a hard time bending the fingers. She tries still to knit and crochet, though her memory is such that she is always undoing her stitches, since there are more or less  then what she originally starts out with.  But I'm going to give her a box of various thread so she might try embroidery. She use to make such beautiful cloths. 

I did occupy myself with stitching while I pondered domestic life. I finished LEFT, but will do a separate post on that.  I did finish my first cloth fascicle.  Assembled the beginnings of another and a larger cloth, 12x12.  That's large for me, since mostly the fascicles are closed, 4x4, and open page layout, 4x8.

This is the first fascicle to be completed.  One thing I did learn, even though I managed to get the three images on the page - the collation and pagination were off.  I did them as 4x8 page spreads not remembering that once they got bound the facing image/text would not correspond.  I have fix that for fascicle two.  So as a result the negative (cut-out, text, left-side, odd-numbered) image is not with the partnered leaf-positive (leaf, image, right-side, even-numbered) page.  The front-cover image is the outline of a half-oak-leaf and the dates worked.  The back cover has a few cryptic symbols, notes, comments - that is my thinking/thoughts sketching page.  The inside of the book has a, usually six line, poem that is the voice of the leaf that is pictured on the page.  All  my leaves are female - that is the voice that I know best.  I usually write these in my head while walking mom's dog...they are reactions but my mood, the day, something I see.  (My Chekhovian, "subjects for a short story," from the Seagull) I'd probably be better off taking a notebook with me, since sometimes it a race to remember as well...but maybe that is part of the processes.  The stitching is not pre-planned. It too depends on the mood and what's in my thread bag.  I really like working with this size...and books, well, they are as natural to me as my right hand.  I became a librarian because I simply love the touch, feel, contents, smell, the totality of the book.  

I've also been placing a little "key" on the pages as I'm stitching.  They are little squares that are stitched in the colors of the sky, at some point during the day...the most prominent color of the day.  This is done from something that I saw Deb G. doing over at her blog beecreative.  Deb is part-taking in something called the sky scarf: Leafcutter Designs - Projects, Conceptual Knitting.  The idea is to knit a row a day in response to the sky.  I really liked this idea, but really, starting another new project wouldn't be wise, I said to myself.  But I did like this so much that it's in my mind, on the mental Rolodex, and I'll do it down the road.  In the meantime, however, my little "keys" are my version of the sky scarf idea. 

Emily Dickinson made forty fascicles of her poems in her life time.  So I've decided that this year I will make forty as well.  With fifty-two weeks and one extra leap day I might make it.  It took me about a week to do this.  Assembly is part of the process.  I have a few yard of a natural muslin that is 32" in width.  I can tear 4" section that easily divide into four, 4x8 "pages."  Then the leaf preparation and assembling.  The stitching and notations are made following this processes.  I have also been keeping a "paper" fascicle as a sketchbook.  

The next fascicle is also ready to go:

You can see that I have adjusted for the collation, pagination issue.  Only the center, pages 3-4 are the actual images that will be seen together after assembly, (lower left corner)  The other pages are 2 and 5, 1 and 6. They are almost all basted and ready for stitching.  The cover is also started.  This time I'm putting the "keys" on the back, as well as the contents listings, the notations; this will act as sort of a colophon.  

Oh, and just to have something to do other then the fascicle project, I'm going to do doodling on cloth, my calendar cloths, if you like.  I thought I would do a monthly cloth, 12x12, where I could try out ideas, stitching/stitches and what-nots.  I guess you could call it a sampler or my what-if project. 

This is the January cloth, pinned, sketched and experimenting with.  I'm not sure about that round circle object.  I don't see it blending in with the cloth over-all.  I think it would be better done in just thread but once it is stitched up maybe it won't be the thorn of the upper right corner.  We'll see.  

Thank you for stopping by and hope your week passed was not riddled with domestic problems but happily employing your hands with doing something creative.