After my walk in the woods with Fate today, I filled up her pool with clean, cold water. It’s hot again, the cool late summer days came and went. I stood in the pool while I was filling it up, soaking my feet in the icy water. Later, when I was working in my studio, I saw Fate go all in.
I’ve been sewing the tree from my Goddess Eyes piece all day and I’m still not done. I can’t believe how long it takes and how stiff my shoulders are. (although I am blessed with a husband who is not only willing by happy to massage my shoulders and neck at the end of the day. Those hands are good for more than just writing) I’m sewing it by hand, but I’m considering doing the donkey head (which is even bigger) on my sewing machine. The outline of it anyway. Maybe I’ll still the inside stitching by hand. Too tired to sew another stitch….
I’m thinking about the Bedlam Farm Open House. I can’t help but think about it, it’s just a little over a month away. I made some potholders for it, and I have a little list on a scarp of paper hanging in my studio of some other ideas of things I want to make for it. Something different this time I thought.
So this morning I got the itch to try to make some Intuition Dolls. You know, these are based on the doll that Vasalisa’s mother gave her in the fairy tale Baba Yaga. A symbol of her mother passing on the idea of the importance of intuition. How we need to learn to trust our own intuition and act on it to allow it to become stronger. I made an Intuition Doll for my self a while ago and wrote about it on my blog. My personal Intuition Doll was based on my I’m Alive Goddess that showed herself to me around the same time.
My Intuition Doll has a different vibe than the dolls I made today who are loosely based on some of the goddesses and goddess symbols in my Language Of the Goddess book by Marjia Gimbutas. I think they reflect the idea of intuition coming from an earthy and gutteral place. And their trance-like expression suggests an ease and confidence in themselves.
I’m not sure how much I’ll sell these for yet or if they’re something people will want. But I did like making these women and I can see making some more. It would be great to see a bunch of them together, see what kind of mojo they can conjure up.
Suzy’s lamb Liam is all grown up. He started life getting into trouble, and I thought he’d continue to be trouble, but he’s actually calmed down. He, like Pumpkin, our other male sheep is a wether. A castrated ram. He still loves to hang around his mom Suzy. The two of them are always laying near each other in the pole barn. He’s given up on chasing Fate, something he only did a few times. I think he’s handsome, looks more like his father, Ted, who was a Cheviot, than Suzy,who is a Border Leicester. Sometimes, from a distance I get him mixed up with Zelda. They look a lot alike.
I started measuring the length of the sheep’s wool because Deb at Vermont Fiber Mill, where I take my wool to be processed, said some of the wool from the last batch was too short to make into yarn. She needs the wool to be at least 3 inches long. So a couple of weeks ago I got a pencil and marked three inches on it and took it out to the pasture where the sheep were grazing and being herded by Red and Fate. Liam’s wool, like Suzy’s, is already 3 inches long, so I’ll be shearing him for sure in October. Zelda, Socks and Pumpkin’s wool is still pretty short, so I may decide to shear them only once a year in the spring. But I’ll measure them all again in another month to be certain.
Last springs wool is ready for me to pick up. I’m not sure when we’ll get there, we may wait till the shearing in done so we only have to make one trip to the Mill. But I’ll let you know when I have it and will be selling it.
I was snuggled in the big stuffed chair in the living room, reading an new novel Eileen and sipping tea. I’m not sure what made me look up and notice the book at the bottom of the stack of books on the table in front of me. I had almost forgotten I had it, but I put down my book and opened Signs and Symbols, African Images in African American Quilts, by Maude Southwell Wahlman. The book is about how African textiles designs are evident in some quilts made by African American women. How women who were brought to America as slaves used the designs in quilts and passed them down to their children.
As I was leafing through the pages, I came upon a graphic pink, black and yellow quilt called “Snail Trial Quilt” made by Mary Maxtion Boligee in 1990, in Alabama. There’s not a lot of information about the quilt, but there again was a whisper of connection over time and space. I emailed a photo of the quilt to my Aunt Katie. Round it goes, up and down, back an forth, over and under. From Aunt Katie, to me to Mary Maxion Boligee and back again. The Snail Trail.
I didn’t see the bones of the small snake till I sat down on the rock to rest. It was years ago and I was hiking in Catalina Park in New Mexico. They were tiny, picked clean and sun bleached. There was also a small pile of berries, maybe juniper, with them. I felt like I had come upon someones stash.
So I started playing. Arranging and rearranging the bones and berries. I remember deciding not to take the bones, but leave them there on the rock for someone else to find. I thought of it as a drawing with bones and berries. I don’t remember exactly what I did with them, but I thought they looked beautiful enough to write to a friend about them. In detail, I explained to her exactly how I arranged them. A week later I got a letter from her. In it was a photo of what looked like my snake bone drawing. It turned out my friend had some snakes bones too and followed the description in my letter arranging them like I had. Then she took a picture and sent it to me.
The thing is, when I saw that picture, for a moment, I thought it was a photo of my bone and berry drawing. And since my friend was in New York and I was in New Mexico, of course there was no way it could have been mine. But for a moment, I felt like a bit of magic had taken place. But then, when I read the letter and realized what my friend had done, it seemed no less magical to me. Because now I was struck by the fact that she had some snake bones lying around her house and had taken the time to read my letter so closely to replicate what I had done and saw it as important enough to do it herself and let me know about it.
It was her understanding, her “getting” me and what I was doing that meant so much to me. To be known and appreciated in that way.
Yesterday, I got an email from my Aunt Katie. My aunt that I recently visited with my mother a month or so ago. And the email was a picture of a snail trail on the wall of her house. She called it “Snail Wall Art”. And when I saw it, I got that same kind of magical feeling as when I saw the photo of my bone and berry drawing.
That my aunt would know and appreciate this part of me, the part that would be fascinated with a snail trail, and take the time to send me a photo of it, it was that same kind of connection. My aunt later reminded me that she sent me a photo of a snail trail a couple of years ago and knew I would like this one. (which I have to say I think is really beautiful. The variegated, line fluid and random yet at the same time seeming purposeful, creating an abstract drawing). I don’t remember the first snail trail, but I think it’s kinda sweet that she did.
Bones and berries and snails. Nature coming in and making connections between people. Allowing us to see ourselves and each other through it and in it. Even if it’s not magic, when that kind of connection happens, it feels like magic.
Goddess Eyes, like an owl’s eyes. Divine eye’s big and wide open. All seeing. There are Goddess eyes all over my new wall hanging.
This is a piece of the front of the quilt I’m using. You can see the original “baskets with flowers” and how I altered them.
I still haven’t sewn anything down, it’s all just pinned. And more to do….
I started another quilt today. It’s the second of it’s kind. Not sure what to call them yet.
I’m using marker and sewing on an old hand quilted quilt. This time I’m using the back of the quilt. The front, though worn and thread bare, had too much going on and my drawings would have been lost on it. But I am using some of the baskets from the front of the quilt in the piece. I stitched goddesses in the “flowers’ coming out of the baskets. More tomorrow……
As much as Lulu and Fanny like their treats, they also crave attention. They love to be brushed and have their ears rubbed, but they also like just to be near to me. When I crouch down, they come over and lean against me and we’re just still together. They seem to like this as much as apples and carrots. I know I do.
And now I see it’s the same with Chloe. I’ve been more discriminating with the treats and spending more time doing things with her. Sometimes I just bring her into the pole barn and give her some extra attention. Now she loves getting her hooves scraped, ears scratched and face brushed. And when I’m done and take off her halter she hangs around and we just stand there together for a little while.
It’s a sweet thing, getting to know each other this way. I’m beginning to have the kind of ease with her that I have with the donkeys. That kind of comfort and trust.