The other day I pulled out my scraps of fabric to stitch together. I wanted to add a piece to the Gathering Book that I like to work in when I know my old basket friends in Australia have gathered to make baskets and do some stitching. So I pinned two pieces together.
The little brown house went into the Gathering Book to be seen through a window I cut under the drawn needle of the previous page.
Knowing the basket makers were all gathering at a beautiful historic place where I was lucky enough to teach many workshops over the years, I decided to do a drawing of it to put opposite the small stitched house.
I drew in some palm inflorescence because it is a favorite material of so many of the basket makers there. I love working in this book when they are all gathered together and believe I can hear them catching up and sharing…Australians have always been such good sharers.
The other patched piece is using almost all of my contemporary Japanese scraps of cloth. It is for another project I will get to later.
I made a slight shift in my seating with the men in the morning. I moved off to a separate table to still hear them but also get some writing done in the listening. It gives them one more chair around the table for when other friends come in, and keeps me out of some of the many conversations.
I am still handy for one on one visits but not stuck in the middle of conversations from two or three sides.
And the other day I took myself to lunch and found the best quiet spot right near the doorway into the bar part of the restaurant. A small table for two that I can easily put my notepad on for writing while waiting for lunch. I might do this once a week as a treat. My builder with a couple of his workers came in and offered to buy my lunch if I joined them. I declined. And another person came up to introduce herself and say she remembered me from my many years teaching at the folk school. She was employed in the craft shop where some of my work was sold. Nice to be remembered. And I really liked my corner.
The walk to the gym yesterday was very nice. But also very wet.
And the volleyball court.
And I finished the editing on Kind Gestures, a novella. It is now available with the other three books on Amazon. I can see why people pay for professional editors. No matter how hard you look and are familiar with the story as an author, you still miss things. After Short Stories was published and I received a copy, I noticed that a whole paragraph was in italics. I might be dragging a finger over the bar that has text options and not noticing that I bumped italics or that dreadful shadow line option. Anyway it is what it is at this point. And I am through until I get a bunch more new poems written for Inner Navigations, Vol. 2.
Regarding the Kind Gestures story, someone asked years ago why I preferred the company of men. The question made me wonder why that was. Off the top of my head there seemed like a slew of reasons, but the fact was, I did not know many women in groups like I did men. So I decided if I wrote a story that involved several different women, at least I was making an attempt in listening to what they had to say.
I only needed to spend one twelve hour day to get to know them, so structured the story over those hours and the women who were showing who they were in that time frame. When I finished telling the story, I realized that I never put more than two together at a time. No groups.
And the character, Margaret, was so me when I wrote about her. Her short experience in a book club is a version of my only time in an all women’s group. I have used Margaret in other works as well. Loose Threads in the Short Stories book and other places. I seem to count on her continued companionship and think she will be around as long as I am.
Because I have the time this morning, I will show you what I did with the Japanese scraps patch. It is an artwork that I will get framed for friends who house was lost to fire. They are building a new house now. I asked for some of the burned wood at the time to use in an artwork for them.
I took out a large piece of printmaking paper and tore it in half. Now with a 22″ by 30″ I could begin placing pieces. After laying the fabric patch where I thought it should be, I drew a section for a rock foundation. I knew there would also be a drawn tree to the left. I was thinking how we just redo what we need with what we have…starting over and making do in new places.
At one time in my putting in and taking out process, I found a perfectly colored wood block print I did of an owl. I liked him for a bit coming out from the top of the patch. And then I didn’t. I went for a circular cloth stitched moon instead. The burned pieces of the old house are fitted here and there with the cloth and drawing. I will admit that when trying to explain what I was doing to an artist friend, it occurred to me that I might need to get ahold of myself. Was I getting too much on the page. And then I remembered that many years ago this young woman’s grandmother bought a piece of mine that had a large woodblock print, scraps from a building we owned (thin red barn wood pieces) and a worn and torn bit of Japanese fish kite making up a large work that still hangs in the dining room of what is now her daughter’s house.
So no, this is fine. It is me conveying thoughts through cloth, artwork and found object. It will be going to the framers soon. And if they do not like the work, there is always the guest room. So much of what simply doesn’t make the cut ends up in guest rooms.
But my god, it sure felt good to stitch and draw. Now what!