Just a few thoughts to add as a carry-on from my previous post, so I have them here as a record
along with a few photos that weren't included in the book ...
When Robin and I first talked about me doing a piece for her new book,
I was extremely nervous. So much seemed at stake. How could I possibly describe a step-by-step
process for creating a beaded story cloth when so much of my stitching & beading is improvisational?
But once I decided to put a lid on the fear and commit, everything started to fall into place.
I held onto what works for me ... and that is to
tell what I know. All of my cloth work is autobiographical and this one would be no different.
I remember sitting in the garden that August and being keenly aware of the smells. I looked over
towards a small row of Lavender 'Hidcote,' past that to grey-leaved sage
and beyond, to the vines cascading over the pergola, dripping with rain. It was a sensory overload
[of the best kind]. It was rich, damp soil mixed with the heady fragrance of lavender & herbs.
And it was warm paving stones, steaming ~ that unmistakeable smell that comes from rock.
coming right back to smack me in the solar plexus.
I have learned that the best backdrop for a good story is a solid base ... even if what holds it together
is mostly invisible, the armature will be strong. Bits from my old garden shirt were added to this mix ...
more strength from the past. I tend to work only with reclaimed textiles and when they are
especially personal to me, I'm adding my own history, my own memories.
These things and so much more I have learned from jude, at Spirit Cloth. Like all of the best teachers,
she inspires so many of us by generously sharing her own hard-won genealogy of handwork,
making many lives the richer for her telling.
It seemed like sheer luck when I came across this variegated embroidery thread ... I was looking
for something else entirely. Years ago, I would not have known that thread has a "texture,"
a certain smoothness or roughness, as it's pulled by the needle. I've spent many an hour
fighting my materials and am glad to leave that foolish way behind [whenever possible].
A story that struggles is apparent to everyone. In life. In art. That's okay if that's the intent ...
but better to look for alternatives elsewhere when it isn't.
so much of the feeling that was behind this piece, including a touch of melancholy. I'll share it
because I love it so much:
I've been reading about rain, said Jean. That utterly distinctive smell,
when rain first starts to fall - two scientists have analyzed it.
They've named it 'petrichor' from the Greek for stone
and for the 'blood' that flows through the veins of the gods.
It's the scent of an oil produced by plants partially decomposed,
undergoing oxidation and nitration, a combination of three compounds.
The first raindrops reach into stone or pavement
and release this plant oil, which we smell as it is washed away.
We can only smell it as it is washed away.
~ from 'The Winter Vault' by Anne Michaels ~
'Summer Rain' is back home now after a long time away in Minneapolis.
This rendition above is more true to her actual shape & color ...
more green than appears in the book, definitely more asymmetrical.
While it may be the dead of winter here, I have everything I need to remind me
of the summer of 2011, when the rain fell in our usual time of drought
and I was there to smell it.
: : :
LINK: to the book ... 'The Complete Photo Guide to Beading,' by Robin Atkins
LINK: to Robin's upcoming spring workshop ~ three days of Improvisational Bead Embroidery
March 30-April 1, 2013, San Juan Island, WA
LINK: to hand over-dyed embroidery floss from Weeks Dye Works
LINK: to Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth blog