'our mothers are why we are here'*

Sew sew so….finally I get round to writing a post, I promised myself I would as soon as I had finished stitching most of the horizontal rows of The Allotment. It’s held firmly together now and I need not fear the coming-undone of the two layers, nor are there any worries about the smoothness of the layers and I know I can now start kantha-stitching wherever I feel like. I have been reading blogposts elsewhere, however have rarely commented as my mind is preoccupied by the care-taking of our parents, even if it is mostly long-distance, it is almost all consuming. I have started many posts whilst walking, witty and profound thoughts sprang to mind of course, insightful and (too) clever ideas came and went as I wandered with Django. All elude me as I start to write, so I’ll pass on those and share what I can.

The quote in the post-title comes from Saeed Jones’ memoir How we fight for our lives. A phrase that has haunted me since I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago, as it reverberates on many levels in my life these days. Amongst many things I thought and felt whilst reading, was the sensation I was looking into a mirror. I felt akin to the author, despite being neither black nor gay, nor a man for that matter: how I too, in my early twenties, felt lonelier than I have ever felt before or since; my sense of self-worth was at an all time low, in my periods of self-loathing I would traipse along with unsuitable men and end up in a stranger’s bed, sometimes there was sex, often not; a lot of talking, drinking and smoking was involved and an urge to feel a body next to mine, a way to connect. Fortunately it never became truly dangerous, my basic instinct for ‘safe’ men seemed to have always been turned on. At the time I did not realise how unhappy or desperate I was.

Probably there is more to say here, I just don’t know how.

Creatively I could not manage more than the endless stitching back-and-forth on The Allotment these past few weeks. I am very happy with the result so far and look forward to sewing more vertical rows, perhaps adding more coloured threads as I’m running out of the lighter tones….. We are experiencing a heat-wave and I cannot be bothered to go shopping in town, not even for embroidery thread!

The two images above and below are the actual bird

Yesterday, all of a sudden ‘thwump!’ a bird hit my open studio door, alas a young blackbird has hit the glass pane and is lying on the paving, heaving heavily as he breathes his last breath, with a twisted neck, broken I suspect. He just happened to hold a downy feather in his beak.I bring it in and make several ink wash drawings:


several readings will be required

this post, a love letter
Nancy said…
I just wanted to cry for this young bird, stopped perhaps building its first nest...as I want to cry for your younger self, looking for your way home to self. May you find more stitches to hold your days together. Your painting, as always, still me...there is always such a zen quality
Ardensgarden said…
Saskia- thank you for your sensitivity!
I love the washes of the bird they all seem to capture your experience of his essence moment to moment as you painting a tribute to a life.
The first w/the indication of small downy feathers to the last where the shadows I see as the birds spirit leaving!
Peace be with you dear Saskia
deemallon said…
Your bird studies are really something. Sensitive, honoring, sad, and yet not.

I could relate to a lot of what you said about your twenties, particularly about having some 'safe' switch that was always on, even as I ran around.

I read Sayeed Jones's book last fall and gave two copies away at Christmas because I was that moved by it / by him. I can't imagine overcoming what he overcame, or living with that much difference -- a gay black Buddhist in Texas!
Saskia said…
ha Grace
observing all that happens here is what I can do Mo
I try to really look closely at the bird and then 'let go' whilst painting Nancy
you are welcome Sarita, I am grateful to be able to capture something of the bird's essence, so that you feel it too
it was your review that made me aware of Saeed Dee, forgot to mention that! and thank you....I must admit to finding it comforting that you too ran around for a while, maybe we all do at some time in our lives
jude said…
I am here but wordless
Saskia said…
that's good to know Jude



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