Sunday, 31 March 2013

mapping memories

 'cloth of change' forever changing, pic above is what started out as the front, to the right the 'back'; as I was stitching the off-white thread I looked at the 'back' and noticed how boring the off-white was on the beige and I thought to myself: hmm, could do with improvement, a weaving maybe?
It was like a memory déjà vu and I call it 'memory mapping'
Like notes in the process, to remind me later on what happened here, for future reference.

up close


sheep and other animals

so this morning got up early-ish, had forgotten we'd lost an hour thanks to summertime and in just one minute felt as if I'd overslept. Fed the dog, emptied the dishwasher and had breakfast by myself, I love getting up early and love the silence in house - always have, as a teenager I'ld get up at six to have some quiet time, not always easy in a 5-person-household, and savour the extra time thus acquired  - other household chores to be done, all the while the dog was whining: please can we go now, as in NOW?! Finally we left and the sky looked like this:
the farm is across the road, at the back of the fields opposite us, to the right you can see the woods; we, i.e. the dog and me, go there most days.

Anyway, off we went and it wasn't long before we encountered two girls, one pony, three sheep and a bike. The pony girl stood by her pony and was watching the other girl tugging a huge, white sheep back into the field. They, the sheep that is, had apparently tried to escape and this fearless girl was determined to bring the sheep back into the field and out of harm's way. One of them, a dark brown sheep decided he'ld attempt a second escape, but he caught me standing there watching. He wavered, turned around and headed back to the safety of his mates. Tungsten had gone on ahead and I followed suit, these country girls clearly didn't need my help.
We came to the lake, T sniffing the dog scents, his nose glued to the ground, he drools contendedly. There were geese and ducks and coots on the water, in pairs mostly, with the occasional male bird trying to steal away a female.... I noticed there was no noise, no cars or tractors, just the birds whistling and cooing, cries of warning or perhaps delight. 

wThe only other sounds were of the dog panting by my side and my sneakers on the dry grass underfoot, a soft rustle. I felt the warmth of the sun on the back of my head and my left shoulder. No distinct smells. There was a couple with a dog walking ahead of us on the other side of one of the many waters that run through the woods There was a dog with them, the couple hadn't noticed us: of course the dog had, T saw him too and wanted to check him out, No I said, Stay! You never know with Tungsten, he's a lovely, friendly dog, but also very dominant, so with strange male dogs he can suddenly become aggressive, I didn't feel like having to intervene this quiet sunday morning, so I kept him close to me. As it turned out the couple continued on ahead and by the time we'd reached the bridge, we could cross it without risk of the two dogs colliding
we continued the walk along this 'slootje'and I saw a large grey shape almost towards the end of the path: a grey heron

I wanted to get as close as possible and see if I could photograph it. I walked slowly and took a photo every five metres or so. Eventually I came too close for his comfort, he turned towards me and back again and gazed at me, then the dog, finally decided flying onto the other side of the sloot was probably the wisest move and so he did.

on we went, through the pollarded willows where we stumbled upon mr. Fox:
We came out of the woods by which time a slight breeze made me feel the chill in the air, a precurser to snow later on, a good time to be heading back home, to studio and a warm log fire. 
A picture here of a small piece I sewed together last evening with bits of cloth that had gathered in my embroidery thread box.  I have pinned it against this blue cabinet and the second pic is with the door open: more animals: Malle mouse riding the silver pheasant and tiny rabbit looking on from a safe distance, another bird skeleton dangling; my eldest son found him dried and preserved as is, out back stuck between something or other and he had probably starved to death, ugh not a nice way to go; anyway here he is with us, surrounded by new friends, or so I like to imagine and my collection of heart shaped stones.
'moon boat with whale cloud'

Saturday, 30 March 2013


on the left the cut out square remains, above what was underneath, to the right the dyed patch that has replaced first square

for future reference I copied the link of Bill Moyers' interview with Barry Lopez; I had not heard of either of them until  I read Barry Lopez' story over at Windthread on yesterday's post. I was so impressed by the story I immediately ordered the book and when I went back this morning to look again I read Deanna's comment with said link. I have listened to the interview twice now, second time round I did the stitching of the replacement patch above, maybe the words have an impact who knows? I mean really, who knows? Many things Barry Lopez said hit home, touched my heart strings, struck a nerve..... (and I might add I also loved the questions raised by Bill Moyers, it takes two to make a good interview)  I was nodding a lot and saying YES out loud over and over again, I was filled with happiness, because here is a man, two men who look at the world in reverence. Reverence, yes that is it: we look and see and listen and breathe and eat and sleep and make love and fight and strive and fail and give birth to our children and bury our dead and dream and hope and cry and scream, we live in this world of dark beauty and it is so much. 
Over at Grace's there have been talks of altar cloths and worship and honouring and I think for me the word that encompasses the feeling I have for the world I live in is reverence, 'I and thou'  I quote Barry Lopez, if and when I look at my dog as thou, we are looking at each other with reverence. When I find a dead animal and see the thou-ness of that animal, it is with reverence that I take him home with me.
Over a year ago an owl got caught in our chimney and died. I left his remains in a bucket for this past year and water and time and tiny creatures cleaned him for the most part. I emptied the bucket this afternoon, it still smelled quite awful, but undeterred I picked out as many bones I could find and have cooked them in a pan, one of my dyeing pots on the cooker outdoors to clean him up a bit more and get rid of some of the stench. This what Owl looks like;  amazing how small his skull is without flesh and feathers.

thanks to 'I and thou' I jumped up and started dancing to Tori Amos' Cornflake Girl and Tungsten joined in: we were dancing dog-woman dance

three kittens from her womb and a little fish-bird

Friday, 29 March 2013

funny cat

I'm having fun with 'fish tail Cat' on cloth-of-change

... and birds, I love birds, in the air, on tree branches, on the verandah, images of birds; these mornings we wake to early bird song and a couple of long tailed tits tapping on our bedroom window, I have no idea why they do that; they're a couple and have already found each other, so they don't need to find a partner....or are they flirting with 'other' birds? Anyway they flutter against the window, it is lovely to be able to see them so close up.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

funny horse

 just cruising on You Tube, happened upon Mean Mary, I had not heard of her before, I love her voice and her banjo/guitar playing: amazing

and here a more romantic tune Clouds Roll By
two distinct pieces sewn together become united forever.....
on the left a piece I call 'Grace' as she was the person I was thinking of when I started stitching/piecing it two evenings ago, and even if Grace doesn't do white, she does here; sorry Grace
still needs more stitching, not quite done

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

just for fun

I noticed the pans reflected in the glass and wanted to catch just that: the reflection but there's no focusing with this phone/camera so I took the picture I could and manipulated the image in picasa's 'photoshop' until it became unrecognizable.


the scale of things puts them into perspective

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


finally a white cloth for the What If class over at Jude's ; it's not easy photographing white, it looks grey and blue and beige, but I promise you this is white cotton, white (blanc) embroidery thread and white gauze, within which the flower does have streaks of a very pale brown, mostly white though.

the process: I tore strips of white cotton, two different types of loosely woven cotton (maybe part linen, I'm not sure) and wove the strips to form an oblong; I then sewed the strips together with a running stitch, starting on the outer edges, all the way round and then continued up&down along the strips until I was satisfied it would hold together. I had a paper circle (the bottom of my favourite robin tea mug used as the trace-element) placed this on the woven base, on top of which came the gauze, which I proceeded to sew on with a back stitch, full circle; I could now cut away the fabric on the 'back' the paper protecting the gauze, remove the paper and voilá, a see-through view, I continued sewing the irregularly shaped gauze onto the weave with a running stitch, following the circle. Done so far.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

scream if you want to

Tim Buckley: '......everything in the outside world is not the world, cars, your suit......what's the world is what's inside...'
scattered thoughts, like the ones in my brain from Tim Buckley, there is more on you tube, duh; just as a reminder here to myself there are folks out there who have always felt this; I remember as a young girl looking at adults and also at other kids and thinking: do they mean what they're saying, do they really mean it, or are they acting? are they really feeling what I'm feeling and do they know like I do: it doesn't matter what we do; we have one life, live it, live it now.
Also, if you don't like someone don't pretend you do, don't greet them with kisses and hug them, just don't and if you do like some one: tell them, show them you care and don't be afraid they might reject you, if they do it won't kill you. You go on. Boy, but if they do care about you like you care about them: wow, that's gonna be great, right!!
As a child I saw it, how come others didn't I couldn't get my head around that, I'm telling you: people were upset by what I said and I learnt to shut up.
Last week driving in the car all by myself, I felt an overwhelming urge to scream - why? you may ask, because of Life, because I'd just about had enough and because my back hurt, another painful period, hey still fertile, or maybe just the last batch of eggs collectively exiting my body - anyway, I felt the urge to scream and I was like censoring myself (don't be an idiot, you can't scream! not here alone in the car) Ha, that's control-freaking in a big way, so I just let go and screamed and my throat like doubled and it was beyond me and then it stopped and I felt relief and okay. My throat did not feel sore. On I drove and that was that, I came back home, was greeted by the dog, saw my men and felt liberated in a small way.

I see the silhouette of a dog in the inner lines, which itself is placed in a lion's head

more signs of life in the logs destined for the woodburner; once I'd spotted the slug and wood louse, I took it outside again and they can either decide to move out or stay put, I'm not going to burn them (even if it is pretty cold today)

 'cloth of change', started in the tail of Spirit Cloth Diaries part 1.
 I wasn't happy with the 9 patch as it didn't feel like me or mine, however I wanted to keep it as the 9 patch was the starting point for this piece, so for it to become 'mine' I had to pervert it by cutting into it, choosing circles, as they represented the opposite of squares, something I had done before ( Motherhood) and placing very thin fabric, puffed up-or not, creating 'opaque windows' or billowing bumps, something I had not done before. Front and back both becoming viewable and equally important. Another piece with bumps
 the so-called back is interesting to me as the windows and stitches are more visible, the eye is led to the details 
whereas on the 'front' the eye is distracted by all the colours and shapes.
The whole piece is not necessarily 'beautiful' and I like pretty, but I'm letting that go for now, just focusing on what I'm learning here, the process of sewing and the technical challenges of having 'good' stitching on both sides and getting the thin bits of fabric just 'right' in the cut out circles.