Thursday, February 19, 2009
For the first time in ages I am dwelling on my work. It's a total luxury to be able to have it with me at all while I'm at the office. I pin the piece up on the wall of my cube and just look at while I'm taking calls and think about what's going on with it. Then, between calls, I can cut, adjust and stitch, slowly. thoughtfully. only this time I'm not thinking all that much about process or technique. With this kind of time on my hands what could be simpler than honoring the grid and attending to good design elements, each one a wayward and willful sheep? I'm thinking about the cloth and the spirits in it as if possessed. The ground, of course, these antique damask tablecloths that I have rescued from rag bags and dyed, are each full of mystery and history. They came to me mostly white but I feel as if the colors that I have given them reflect something of the character of their lives and service. Some are worn through in places, evidence of what? Years of happy Sunday family gatherings? Years of straight laced enslavement to social requirements? Was this tablecloth washed, ironed, folded and fussed over by a young, Irish immigrant girl brought to New England as an indentured servant before the turn of the century? Did this tablecloth cost more than her family could earn in a year? Did her heart ache as she stood back and watched dinner guests spill wine and gravy on it without a thought? The grid elements are refugees too, all snips and bits taken from here and there. The black here is a messy-when-cut expensive linen taken from a pair of designer label slacks that were incredibly a size 2. Not much fabric here. Each piece of cloth I'm handling is speaking to me of it's origin, it's use, it's history. I hope the finished pieces will convey the fabric's wishes as much as my own.