Some of you are completely new to this blog (welcome!), others have been dropping in when you have time (hello again!), and then there are ... I don't know ... three of you who are wondering when in the world I'm going to get around to blogging about the next Boxes of Mystery (hi, Mom). Thanks for your patience. Can I give a couple of excuses for being delinquent?
We did a little traveling for Spring Break:
And then I skipped off to Philadelphia for a SAQA conference where I presented a short talk, met wonderful people I'd only known from social media (they're real people, not just teeny square faces!) and had a fabulous time touring galleries, getting smart and traveling alone (did you know it is possible to sleep on an airplane? Not well, but when you aren't dispensing snacks every 10 minutes it's a distinct neck-wrenching possibility).
Now I'm back and ready to share the next set of contributions to the Inheritance Project. There are a lot of items, from a lot of contributors, so the titles I've given help keep them all straight in my head. I'm incredibly grateful to the contributors all for their generous spirits and willingness to share their time, effort and most importantly, their stories.
Even the stories with holes.
Especially the stories with holes.
The Jaunty Cock.
No, no, no. This is a family blog. I'm talking about a rooster, here people.
Thank you Nikki Senecal for sending this handsome man my way. Here's his story:
"...I started stitching this Linda Gordanier Jary design that was published in the May/June 1995 Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine for my mother (it matched her dining room). I made a horrendous counting mistake and the project languished. In the meantime, my mother redecorated."
I love this guy, and wherever that counting mistake is I'll never know, but cheers to the number of hours Nikki put into this stitching. Holy Moly! I guarantee Mr. Cock will receive a new life -- he won't end up in the stew pot, but he'll be dismembered nonetheless. And good for Nikki's mother for redecorating her dining room at least once since 1995. For Pete's sake, we should all do this more often.
And I also say we should be willing to abandon a project that doesn't speak deeply to us any longer, for whatever reason. I've done it, you've done it, and we've all felt some level of lousy guilt. So, I suggest you call your unfinished work something other than "Unfinished." Instead, call it throat clearing.
Lodge this rooster in your mind when you put your own work down indefinitely and move on. Those A-hole Cocks clear their throat every guilt-free morning and sometimes all damned day. So, why shouldn't we?
Clear your throat. Move on. (Okay, first climb down off the barn).
And while we're talking about barns...
The Best Name for a Farm Ever.
This coordinated group arrived in an envelope with no letter or explanation other than the tags attached and the return label. Many thanks to the folks from "Funkarella Farms" in Exeter Maine.
Can I PLEASE live on a farm called Funkarella Farm? I'll only climb on the barn roof once in a while.
My new Dutch Friend.
If you've never had hagelslag, I highly recommend it. Or, at least my children will. Because after driving for an hour to meet Lous and John Brubaker ("Come on kids! This will be an adventure! We're going to meet lovely people who have some things they'd like to give us..."), this was the Dutch treat Lous made for them. Hagelslag is bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles. A lot of chocolate sprinkles. Like, so many chocolate sprinkles you can't even see the bread beneath. My kids politely sat at her table, took one look at this, then looked at me like, "Wait, you aren't going to take this 11-am-sugar-amazingness away from us, are you?"
Spending several hours with Lous and John that day reminded me of many childhood visits with a German couple named Carl and Sue. In their home in California, we were allowed to load and operate, and load and operate. and load and operate a rickety player piano, handle gently (but not play with) an enormous collection of Hummel figurines and trolls with shocks of orange hair, ask Carl to wind up the mechanical singing bird and wind it up again and then wind up the equally-exquisite-but-not-as-cool figure-8 spinning ballerina music box, or visit Carl's woodworking shop and choose special scraps off the floor. Sue always gave us Coke in small glasses and cookies from a box.
Similarly, through story and mysterious objects, the richness of Lous and John's lives together and the stories of places they'd lived were not lost on my children. They had many questions on the drive back to Anchorage. The most important question: Will we ever see them again?
Yes. Yes, we will. And we'll bring Papa next time to meet them, too. We've already promised.
Thank you Lous and John for the invitation to visit, for the homemade fish chowder and gorgeous bread, the hagelslag, the coffee and the lovely items I've inherited from you. I have been thinking deeply about how best to incorporate them into my work. They are so very special.
Rawness and Beauty.
Lastly, I'd like to thank Lorie McCown. She has been a social media friend for quite some time. Did it start on Facebook? Pinterest? Neither of us quite remember, but we did have the chance to meet for the first time in Philadelphia recently and our suspicions were confirmed: we are kindred spirits, working with cloth in a way that is rooted in meaning, both of us a couple of fish "swimming upstream." Well, as someone from Alaska, I can attest that those fish have traveled the farthest and are the strongest. Lorie's work has shown at Quilt National, Quilts=Art=Quilts, Art Quilt Elements...plus she's a painter. I loved spending time with her.
She had a rough winter, and I knew this when these items arrived a month or so ago. I felt blessed that amid heartbreak and turmoil, she took the time to send something my way. Incredible.
"These came out of my mom's house...we buried my dad and put my mom in assisted living all in one week. So my feelings on these are this: dissolvent (of my childhood home), sadness, loss and grief. Had all the aging stuff gone down a different path i.e gracefulness, nostalgia, or whatever, I may have tender thoughts. Now I'm a raw bone."
I'm honored to have met and connected with Lorie in person. We'll do it again.
Below is Lorie talking about her piece "The Story Cloth, Vol. 1-4" at the last Quilt National. She is smart, funny and sensitive -- a maker of deeply moving work.
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For more information on the Inheritance Project, please click here. It's a doily-centric crazy crowdsourcing effort that has turned into a web of connected relationships and curiosities and narratives about loss, friendships, history and valuing the valueless.
It's kind of awesome.
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But it might happen someday -- the newsletter. Not the bombardment. Or the lousiness.
A year ago, I posted about a Yellow Quilt that I'm almost ready to turn toward in reality. Really. Let me just climb down off this damned barn. No, really. Wait, I think my pants are hooked on the weather vane.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.