Cloth is a layered metaphor. While my intent has been to discuss fabrics like cotton, linen or silk and other materials of my art-making, I can use cloth to imply the intangible of ideas and meanings, like the cloth of my adventure: a very ragged, worn scrap, frayed at the edges, stretched as a shield, crushed between my fingers like a baby’s lovey, smoothing out slowing into a project.
With the cloth so transparent, I can see the movement of its meaning between two and three-dimensional art forms and the cloth of poetry, writing and story. I am moving creatively between the forces of sight and sound in this place so full of beauty and profuse with newness. Absorbing it all is today’s creative responsibility and sometimes all I can handle.
While the act of making something is soothing , it is often difficult to jump toward trusting that notion and the known, while so mired in the unknown. The unknown presently radiates like awareness and armor. That shell is often hard to break – even with the known, even with stitches and cloth.
My dye pots are deep in storage, so I can only gather leaves, learn their names, imagine their imprint on cotton or silk. No boiling of essences right now, just studying, cataloguing, saving. Textures of tree trunks, tracking the egret (outside my door), absorbing the light between shadows, memorizing the palette.
In my Threads of Meaning Virtual Course, I must explain my process for the students, admitting that getting started has been difficult during the transition. I have confessed that it has been hard to pick up old projects let alone, start new. I did bring a medium cardboard box of fabrics with me. Sifting through them, in search of ideas is enough on one day. Fascination with orange may be enough the next day. After five weeks, I’m finding new ways to make do, process the constant newness and be kind to myself.