Peaceable Bedlam Quilt Pieced Together

April 18th, 2014

peaceable bedlamI was definitely thinking of the Gee’s Bend quilts when I designed Peaceable Bedlam.  Mostly about the way they intentionally disrupt a traditional quilt design by changing a pattern just enough so you can still recognize the pattern but it’s not quite right.

In all the interviews I’ve read from Gee’s Bend, the women say it’s a way of making the quilt their own.  The idea of individuality, of no quilt being the same, is a driving creative force.

I’ve read in other sources that braking up quilt patterns  is seen in a lot of quilts made by African American women (and a few men).  It’s a tradition based in the idea of the quilt as protection.  The belief is that evil spirits would be confused by the design and would get “stuck” trying to figure it out, keeping them from bothering whoever is sleeping under the quilt.

It’s like painting your front door red to keep out the evil spirits or  the belief that winding streets in cities keep the evil spirits wandering so they aren’t able to settle in one place.

This is just the quality I love about the Gee’s Bend Quilts, that they keep me looking at them.  I’m forever trying to figure them out, trying to understand how the quilter made the decisions she did.  From what I’ve read, those decisions come mostly from intuition.  Intuition is also the driving creative force when I design my quilts.

I see now that my quilts are influenced by my life long issue with decision making.  Since they are intuitive,  I get to decide what looks good where.  Right or wrong comes solely from me.  Anyone can disagree with me, or not like my quilts, but that doesn’t make them “not good” in my mind.  I know what each individual quilt should look like.  I’m the authority, the only voice inside my head and heart when it comes to my work.

My Darkness Is A Child’s Fearful Voice

April 17th, 2014
I found this deer bone on the side of the road while walking Frieda. While I was having the energy work done I kept seeing a shape similar to this bone.

I found this deer bone on the side of the road while walking Frieda. While experiencing the energy work with Stephanie, I kept seeing a shape similar to this bone.

It’s fear I said.  I could see it and feel it just below my belly.  The darkness that had been plaguing me for months, that I thought  could only be rid of through exorcism, was  actually old fear welling up inside of me.

I laid on my back on the massage-like table in Stephanie’s office.  She was using Cranial Sacral Therapy to help me deal with the darkness I was feeling deep within my body.   Her hands were beneath my sacrum and lower spine.  As she slowly  moved them towards my neck and finally to the top of my head I felt a spasm in my spine as if it unraveled.  I was longer, there was more space in my body. Something had shifted.

We had been talking about making decisions. Something that has been difficult for me my whole life.  It was only about 5-6 years ago, when I got divorced, that I really began making my own decisions and taking responsibility for them.  And now I realized that I had this notion that each decision was final.   I believed that any one decision could and most likely would be the one that changed my life, and always for the worse.   For me decisions always came down to the story of “If I just hadn’t done that, this wouldn’t have happened”  It’s the kind of thinking that comes when something truly bad happens, like an accidental death or injury.  But in my mind every decision was potentially dangerous to this degree.  Every decision was either right or wrong and it was a fifty-fifty chance that I’d get it right.

My eyes were closed and every once in a while Stephanie’s voice would break the silence.  Life doesn’t stop with each decision she told me. You make a decision then you adjust to that decision and make another one.  Decisions are not right or wrong.  And you’re the only one who gets to decide what is best for you.  I let her words sink in, so simple, so obvious, yet not something I knew.  For the first  time I could see the trajectory of a  life that rolled from one decision to the next, moving gently and slowly without the sudden stops and starts of judgement.

Then Stephanie asked me for a word that described what I was feeling.  I didn’t have a word, but a picture.  Inside my body, a part of my body, I saw a flower with a long, thin, supple stem that was dancing easily with the wind that blew it.  And each time it swayed seeds burst from its center and scattered in the breeze.

That’s when I knew that the darkness that had been haunting me for the past few months, was not a demon to be exorcised, but old fear that had risen from deep inside of me.  Most likely it was coming up now because lately I had been doing lots of things that were out of my comfort zone.  Taking big steps in my life and work.  Making decisions that scared me.  It was the fear I felt as a kid, and that fear was protecting me at a time when making decisions was unsafe for me. It was my father I saw in my mind, whose randomly angry reactions to my actions were incomprehensible to me.  Right and wrong were arbitrary. The smallest decision became potentially dangerous.

A part of me was still living in this childhood paradigm.  The doubt and fear and panic about decision making was answering to an authority long gone.  So I told the scared child, which was the the fear living inside of me, that I was the only authority over my life and body now.   I get to make the decisions, get to decide right and wrong.  And when she was scared she could come to me, that I would take care of us.

Something shifted in me then.  I could feel it.  Intellectually I knew all of this years ago, but my body didn’t know it.  My body was still living in the old fear, in conflict with my mind. The work I did with Stephanie helped me to really know this. When I stood up from the table, I felt taller.  “Like a giant”, I told Stephanie.

It’s been three days, and I’ve been able to hold onto this feeling, this new knowledge of myself.  I know there’s more work involved, there always is.  But I got my strength back, my centering, my grounding.  The darkness is now just a child’s fearful voice inside of me, looking for assurance.  And now, I’m able give her that assurance.   I had other visions and and other experiences during my session with Stephanie, but I’ll write about them separately.  I have not doubt they’re all connected, but at the moment I can’t really see how.  I think that’s something that will need more time.

 

Practice Make Happy

April 16th, 2014
One of my many scraps of practice

One of my many scraps of practice

I’ve been practicing and practicing on my new sewing machine.  And I must say, all that panic the other day, well, as panic always is, it was a waste of time and energy.  I’m figuring out how to control the machine when using the free motion foot.  The small curves are harder to turn, but I think it mostly has to do with getting used to the new foot pedal.  How much or little pressure to apply and what speed to set the machine at.

Today I started sewing together the Peaceable Bedlam Quilt.  I think doing the straight sewing is a good way for me to get a feel for the machine.   And I have to say I’m loving it.  The pressure foot automatically lifts up after pressing the thread cutter button (which also ties off the thread on both ends).  It also lifts when you release the foot pedal. Letting up just enough leaves the needle in the fabric so it can pivot.   It’s fast and sturdy and the bobbins hold more thread which means less bobbin winding.  I wouldn’t have known how much of a difference all this makes without experiencing it.

What it comes down to is that I’m loving my new sewing machine.  I don’t know if I’ll ever use all the buttons and stitches and attachments, but I don’t really care either.  It’s working for me the way I want and need it to.  And it’s making me very happy.

Brenda’s Hankies

April 16th, 2014
Brenda's Quilt

Brenda’s Quilt made from her mothers hankies

Brenda sent me a box of hankies, some photos and a note.  The hankies belong to her mom who is 91 years old. In the late 1980′s Brenda asked her mom if she could have the hankies that she kept in a ceder chest. She wanted to make a quilt using them.  She found a pattern and started sewing the quilt by hand.  She’s still working on it, two more squares to go and hopes to finish it this year.  She wants her mom to get to see the finished quilt.

The hankies that she sent me were the ones she didn’t use.  She said they’ve been sitting in her draw and wanted me to have them.  I posted a photo of the hankies on my blog a few days ago and got this message from Ann:

When I saw this picture, I remembered my mother having some of the exact same hankies. I just spoke with my best friend who told me she sent the pictured hankies to you. I had given her some of Mom’s hankies when she passed away. So, not only did they look like my Mom’s, they WERE her hankies! What a nice surprise. I’m so happy they will be put to good use. Thank you so much!”

This is what working with these hankies is all about.  Making connections, sharing ideas and stories and creating beautiful and meaningful work.

Healing

April 15th, 2014

drawing todaydetailToday I did something about all that darkness inside of me that’s been haunting me at 3am and 3pm,  the bad brain and the panic attack over my new sewing machine.   I saw a healer, one who practices Cranial Sacral Therapy and Shamanism.  I know it helped me already, but I’m too close to it and too tired  to write about it tonight.

After sleeping for a couple of hours after our session I did a drawing to help me sort it all out.  This is a detail of that drawing.  One of the images that came to me was a ball of brown yarn and white bone in a shiny metal basket. I remember saying out loud, that with them, I could make a new me.  I don’t think I’ll be starting from scratch, but I would like a few improvements.

 

Zelda, Not Impressed by the Blood Moon

April 15th, 2014

zelda 2 (1)

Well, my own personal prophecy was wrong.  Neither full moon, lunar eclipse, nor Blood Moon can make Zelda do something she isn’t ready to do.

When I went out to the barnyard this morning around 2:30 am it was cloudy and windy, the only sign of the moon was that I could see in front of me. The donkeys were happy to get a few carrots pieces I had in my pocket and the sheep looked at me as if wondering why I was there.  To them, it was just another night.

Making Notecards and The Original Drawings

April 14th, 2014
Magic Stuff

Magic Stuff SOLD

I choose the drawings, Jon took photos and I brought the photos to A&M Printers this morning.  In a couple of days I’ll get back the proofs for the first pack of note cards of my drawings.  If they look good, I’ll have them printed.  About 40  of them will go to the backers from my Kickstarter Project and I’ll sell the rest.

I’m also selling three of the original drawings that I’m making the note cards from.  They are $25 each + $7 shipping.  If you’re interested in any of them, just email me here or at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  I take checks and paypal.

I drew Magic Stuff over the weekend.  I’ve been confronting (or not confronting) some dark places in me lately and I started this drawing thinking about just that.  When I had finished it, I realized it was about trying to get my power back.  This girl has her broom and her cat and is working some kind of magic with her bare hands. One of those hands is reflected in the mirror affirming where her power really comes from.  Magic Stuff is for sale.

She saw her reflection for the first time.

She saw her reflection for the first time. SOLD

It was years ago during one of the first hikes I went on alone.  I was on the Tongue Mountain Range, in Lake George and I was scared.  Not of the Rattle Snakes that are said to be along the trail, not of any real danger.  It was the murderers and rapists from every bad horror movie I had seen growing up that scared me.  But I was determined to go hiking by myself (even though I had my dog, Skunk with me, I still considered this being alone enough) determined to overcome this fear.  I had made it over a mountain and got to rest on a giant rock overlooking Lake George.  I shared my chocolate bar with Skunk then headed back, not wanting to linger too long.  On the way back, when I knew I was getting close to the trail head, I finally relaxed enough to stop and look around me.  Not far away I saw a young tree about twice my height.  As I looked at it the words, “I didn’t know I was that skinny”  popped into my head.  I was seeing myself as one with the woods.  A feeling of well being came over me as I realize my fear of the woods had nothing to do with the woods, but with what I brought to them.  She saw her reflection for the first time is for sale.

"Tree Woman"

“Tree Woman” SOLD

I originally drew Tree Woman at the Ted Talk where Jon was a speaker.  I redrew it over the weekend so I could use it as a note card.  The original was much smaller and many of the pencil lines were smudged.  It’s pretty much the same as the original except for the green window on the top left which I added along with the color.  It’s about being grounded and receiving the earths creative energy and using it well.  Tree Woman is for sale.

"What I Know"

“What I Know”

I drew What I Know a while ago.   I’ve written about it before and feel the same about it now as I did then.  That  girl knows something and when the time is right, I’ll know it too.  What I Know is not for sale.  This is the drawing that I’m keeping for myself.

Zelda and the Blood Moon

April 14th, 2014

zelda 2

Is this what Zelda has been waiting for?  The Blood Moon that will occur between 1 and 3am Tuesday morning?  If she hasn’t actually been waiting, will tonight’s Full Lunar Eclipse be the push (or pull) that will help deliver Zelda’s lamb?

Well, I’m usually up around 3am anyway, (my own personal witching hour) so tonight I’ll be outside watching the eclipse and looking at that orange moon (which I read will occur 3 more times  in the next two years) and maybe, just maybe, be in the company of a lamb or two.

Me, Donkeys and Giant Horses

April 13th, 2014

 

I felt a strong connection with Piper, on of the horses at Blue Star Equiculture

I felt a strong connection with Piper, on of the Percherons at Blue Star Equiculture.

The almost full moon was pale in the darkening sky when I locked up the chickens for the night.  I didn’t intend to visit the donkeys, but Lulu was standing by the side of the barn looking at me.  And I  wanted to see them, somehow I felt like something had changed between us since spending the day at Blue Star Equiculture, a rescue farm for working horses, mostly Percherons, Shires and Clydesdales,  in Massachusetts.

I walked into the barn yard and the three donkeys surrounded me.  I scratched their necks and under their chins and pictured the giant horses I saw today.  I made space in my heart and silently I told the donkeys that I was with their cousins.  I let the feeling of what it was like to stand under a horses chin scratching her neck, a horse so big I couldn’t reach the top of her head, trusting that she wouldn’t hurt me.  And I’m not really sure what that feeling is, how to explain it, to be walking around with these massive animals and not be afraid.    It felt like kindness and wisdom and a shared history.   Like an innate knowledge of each other.

Sometimes, when I’m with the donkeys, I open my heart to them.  I let myself fully feel whatever I’m feeling, which I sometimes have words for and other times don’t.  I can feel the emotion passing from me to them and back again, until the boundaries between us disappear. So it’s no longer me and Fanny or me and Lulu, it’s just the emotion and we become one in it.   And it’s more than just a connection between me and donkey.  It’s the feeling that I’m not alone, that I’m as much a  part of the natural world as the mud under my feet and the trees in the woods.   That I belong.

And I think those giant horses make me feel the same way.   But because they’re so big, they remind me of the powerful forces of nature, the ones that can easily destroy.  Yet they choose not to.  They choose to live with us peacefully and in partnership.

So this evening, when I was scratching Fanny behind her ears and Simon pressed his head into my back, I felt they understood what I had experienced today.  And we passed the story back and forth between us until  time and distance dissolved and we were all standing there together, me the donkeys and the giant horses.  All one.

Jon and George, The Lost Twins

April 13th, 2014

jon and george 1

Sometimes Jon and George are standing next to each other and the energy between them is palpable.  There’s a connection so strong and gentle it makes me think of the love between brothers that I’ve never seen but have read about. The lost twin finally found.

And sometimes it’s like they’re the same person from different universes or planes of existence that have somehow come together.  I wouldn’t doubt that Georges Ginofor Gallery is a portal of sorts that allows such things to occur. I’m certain magic happens there and that George is only privy to some of it.

jon and george 2 (1)