Saturday, October 18, 2014

naming


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Some days are better.  This was one of them.

The Amish have gathered corn into stately shocks along the ridge fields. The Amish school yard was empty today, but yesterday, young boys and girls in dark black capes, hats, pants, suspenders, and bright blue skirts, and emerald shirts, girls and boys together,  stood like pins on the little baseball field, in the glow of the sugar maple grove beside the school.  A girl was pitching, to a boy.  Another girl was on first. But this morning was cold and rainy, as bunches of Amish children walked to the  school along wet roads.  Most of the little boys still walked shoeless, with red, bare wet feet.

The night before last, I showed up for my 6th writers' class, and read what I wrote for the first time aloud to the small group. There were murmurs of encouragement. This may be my last formal engagement with education, in my life. I'm really bad at being a student.  But, I'm sure what I've learned will serve me well. I am sure I'll keep writing at fiction,  because I have nothing to lose. The adept writers in my class actually give me hope that I will make progress, if I persist.

Just off the loom is a  new batch of crying towels, each named after an aspect of tears, crying, sadness, joy, onions, or any occasion for tears.  So, they have a text, as well as a texture. "Water Works,"  "Spilled Milk (half full / half empty),"  "Father sighed, Mother cried,"  "Hang my tears out to dry," "When it rained down sorrow, it rained all over me,"  "Stop all this weeping, swallow your pride. You will not die, it was not poison.  Bob Dylan." The names are fragments of song lyrics, old expressions, the ways we talk about our small and large griefs.

Wash cloths, face cloths, sauna cloths, all belong to our daily, private ritual of putting on  a fresh face  to meet the public.  Crying towels are another acknowledgement of being human, of living with our sorrows.  Tears are universal.  My weaves are made to provide what textiles always have, comfort, warmth, memory,  protection, cleanliness and absorption. 

 My utility blanket, in two panels is one such cloth.  I wove it in my old familiar, Rosepath, with linen, wool, cotton rag, perle cotton, and raw silk and call it "Pot Calls Kettle Black," a name about naming.  Names attach themselves to the weaves while I'm weaving, my thoughts adrift.  The name belongs to the weave. 



 (Thanks to Harry and Barb in Dell for the pumpkin scene!)

18 comments:

onesmallstitch said...

the pictures are lovely, the words even more so and the towels with their names are inspired.

Judy Martin said...

All the photos are beautiful and set a tone for your post.

the ones that go together the best for me are the ones of the building's structure and your weaving.

The idea of making crying towels is profound. These are beautiful.

Judy Martin said...

Also, the writing about your work is very clear, and moved me quite a bit.
x

Susan said...

Onesmallstitch, thanks. My bikeride is soo colorful now. I want some pictures here, because it changes by the day. Soon the big color show will end. A friend asked me about my names, so I wanted to explain why I do that.

Susan said...

Judy, thanks for your careful reading, and comments. I hope to be clear, but it's still fuzzy. They weren't wash cloths, or napkins. Hankies? Hardly. Crying towels, oh yes. That made sense. The pictures here were simply a day in the life set: morning in the rain, weaving until the sun came out in late afternoon, when I rode my bike up the valley. I take it for granted that it's all integrated. Nothing feels out of place. As I said, this was a good one!

Debbie said...

Beautiful words and pictures, I love Autumn all the reds,russets and browns, and crying towels, what a beautiful concept, I felt very moved by this post.

Shuttle, Hook and Needle said...

Lovely words and pictures. Crying towels is so wonderful! Both the weaving and the words attached to them!

Osal said...

Hopped over here from Jude Hill's Blog, and so happy I did. Just love love love these towels, and the names for them! They should be shown far and wide.
Gorgeous. Far too good to- for example, dry dishes with, but how I would love one, to do just that.

Tears. This is so cathartic, what you've done. For several years I cried every day. I often would think, I should make a homeopathic remedy, maybe heal the grief of the world. But then, the idea of bottling 'my' tears, just the plain physical getting-it-togther
usually felt contrived. Looking back, the inspiration to do so I now see as a divine gift--a suggestion to see from another place, as you have done, here.

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

...sigh, sigh, and sigh again...I love your work, and your words as well. When I come to your blog and read, it's as if I've knocked on your door to borrow some salt...and stayed for awhile.

Susan said...

Osai, thanks, but of course they would be good for drying stuff. Tears can be cathartic, but sometimes spilled in vain. Mostly, crying makes our face look bad. It's better when we don't need to cry

Susan said...

Dawn, that would be wonderful!

Velma Bolyard said...

love the tear towels. you weave words, susan, and i think i might do some of that sometimes...

Velma Bolyard said...

oh, and it's neat to see the amish corn ladies in wisconsin, old farm skills that are universal to a certain part of the farming community.

Susan said...

Velma,
I like tear towels. So close to tea towels. About writing & weaving, I found something written by B Kingsolver, that she likes to write a first draft like hoeing to the end of the corn row, to get it done. Then she likes to go back and draw threads through, like weaving. I see the 2 processes as very similar, & yes you do both, and then some

jude said...

wordless

Min said...

I love your approach to weaving.....I need towels like that every now and then when memories flood in. Even if I happen to be 'crying over spilt milk' the emotions are there and a good cloth would absorb the tears and comfort me.

Min said...

Perhaps cloths of happiness might follow.........

Anonymous said...

Susan your words are an inspiration and I love your work. I love the crying towels. I could have used these for all the years and tears I shed. Yes, I too longed for the children to grow up so I could have time for myself and my work. Now they're all grown and long gone and I wish I had of cherished the time more. The looms now sit silent as I find it hard to warp them. The eyes are dimmer and the knees are new but I'm determined not to give up and get them going again.