I chanced upon a fascinating review of this book 'Cloth that does not die: the meaning of cloth in Bunu social life' by E. Renne, University of Washington Press 1995, here and here.
I was drawn to the article because of the title and it brought to mind the another book I had recently acquired in the abbey in France titled: File le temps, reste le tissu' i.e. time flies, the cloth remains...... serendipity.
Among the many interesting facts in the review, I must admit I haven't (yet) read the book, is what an important part colours in cloth play in the Bunu society. Seeing as we've been concentrating on white over at Jude's WhatIf diaries class I was particularly interested to read about white. A colour, or non-colour depending on your definition, I have come to appreciate working with during class, especially as that has led me to enjoy working in tones, rather than contrasts, but that is another story and I will go there another time. Back to Bunu whites: white in their own language is funfun which already sounds like a good thing! The colour white is associated with nature spirits and spirits of the water; it is also linked to fertile, moist substances such as semen, milk, rain, urine and mucus. It provides a path between the world of humans and spirits, when there is a need for spiritual aid. I find this colour symbolism really interesting and if you are going to work in white, this could add a layer-of-meaning, even though it's not even part of our cultural heritage, there are certain elements that echo within me.
The piece I'm currently working on is a home-dyed square of cotton with a winged figure (I see her) and the back is a thin white cotton. I have been basting them together these past few evenings after office hours, first a visible baste, now replaced by an invisible one, invisible on the front that is; the back is a different matter, the white has become intersected by the pale grey embroidery basting. I love how the lines are wobbly (although that wasn't my intention) and have created a pattern of their own and as I always like a piece to be viewable on both sides I thought I might accentuate to meeting points: where the horizontals meet the verticals, adding red beads on the back and thereby creating seemingly random dots on the front. I started this cloth with a different idea in my mind, but this is where it has led me so far.
what amuses me in this corner, is the fact that whilst I was basting the two pieces, they had moved ever so slightly and that meant one corner had too little and the other corner too much white cotton; I just couldn't be bothered to undo the stitching and instead cut the surplus triangle off and added that here, so there's a row of stitches that form a sliver. Embracing