I see the scraps of fabric littering the floor around my wastebasket and I think of the shoemaker who lived in a house I once owned.
I knew his profession because I researched the history of the house. I only got back as far as him and his family. They lived in the house in the early 1800s but I could never go back far enough to find out who lived there before him or when the house was built.
The shoemaker sold the house to a doctor who used the same room the shoemaker had his shop in as an office.
But when I pulled up the floor in that room to insulate under it, between the cracks I found thin strips of leather.
They were the shoemaker’s scraps.
When I found them I imagined what his shop looked like. I saw him sitting at his workbench, trimming a thin strip of leather from a shoe and it falling onto a pile of other leather scraps too small to use that he’d later sweep up.
I saw one of those scraps getting wedged between the floorboards, getting pushed further and further down with each sweeping till it slipped between the floor and subflooring or filled the crack becoming a part of the floor itself.
I loved finding those scraps, evidence of the work that was once done in that room. Witness to the man who lived and worked there. A reminder of his craft.
I feel a kinship to that shoemaker when I look at the scraps on my studio floor. They are evidence of my day’s work as much as what I created.
I’m certain there are scraps of fabric, threads, and pins settling into the cracks between my floorboards. Some even sandwiched between the flooring and subfloor. All becoming a part of the building.
All of them, witnesses of my art and creative life.
It was one little triangle of fabric that inspired me to make a little house shape that then became 14 Happy House Potholders.
We make our homes inside the space we live in. And I believe that space takes on our energy, with the potential to make it a happy place. There are happy houses, and sad houses and scary houses and peaceful houses and crazy houses.
The houses in my Happy House Potholders may encompass a few of those emotions, but they are all colorful and inviting.
I still have to actually make them into potholders. That will happen next week then I’ll put them up for sale in my Etsy Shop. It’s been a while since I made potholders. Today it was relaxing to simply focus on making these.
It left little space to think of much else.
The donkeys weren’t interested in the too big Zucchini. Even Zinnia spit it out. So I fed it to Oscar, our new composter.
I turned my head towards my outstretched arm and there was Lulu peeking around the side of the pole barn. If any animals on the farm would get Bellydancing it would be the donkeys.
Julz, Kathleen, Emily, Kat, Trish, Callie, and I stood in a circle between the house and the barn. It’s called “The Gratitude“. It’s a series of motions each with its own meaning that we do at some point during every Bellydancing practice or performance.
We are giving thanks for the people we dance with, our dancing ancestors, the music and the space we are dancing in.
There is superstition around The Gratitude. Kathleen and Julz both have stories of serious mistakes made during dance performances where they forgot to do it.
Just before the women from my Bellydancing class started to show up at the farm to dance together for the first time since March, the sky got dark, the wind came from the north in howling gusts, thunder rumbled and soon the rain started.
It seemed fitting. I thought we were worthy of such a force of nature welcoming us back.
The storm passed quickly and cooled things off for a while. But soon the sun was out again and we moved around the yard trying to find the evenest ground with the most shade.
But no one complained about the slippery grass, uneven ground, or the scorching sun. These women are professionals. And it felt too good to be dancing together.
Next week and for the weeks after that, we’ll be back in Bennington on Wednesday nights instead of Thursday. Julz and Kathleen found a new space for us to dance in. It’s in an old warehouse, with mirrored walls, high ceiling and airconditioning.
It sounds luxurious compared to dancing outside on the grass.
But this evening, as I swept my arm around gesturing thanks to the space around me and I saw Lulu looking at me, I had the feeling she knew, not necessarily how grateful I was to be dancing on the farm, but that something meaningful was happening.
And she was so right.
I searched my studio for the piece of fabric that would inspire me. I wanted to make some potholders, but as I pulled out fabric from the shelves in my studio, it all fell flat. It just wasn’t happening.
I finally gave up and instead of sewing, I looked at the half-finished collages that are pinned to my wall.
I took down the one that felt like it needed the most work, got out my collage materials, and began.
My focus was on the figure within the figure. The outer being some kind of protector, a spirit or angel. But that’s all I really know about this piece. I feel like it needs a few final touches before it’s done.
Maybe then I’ll know more about it.
I got carried away watching this leaf gently shifting in the stream as skates rippled the surface of the water. You can’t see the skates, only the ripples they leave behind. There’s also a tiny white petal that floats up to the tip of the leaf that caught my attention. It’s my first sixty-second meditation.
I never know who is going to respond to my Flying Vulvas and how.
When Jon wanted to give a Flying Vulva Decal to Kelsey at Jean’s Diner I wasn’t sure how she’d feel about it. Kelsey is about 25 years younger than me and most of the women I’ve sold my Flying Vulvas to, in any form, have been closer to my age.
But I was delighted when Jon texted me that Kelsey lit up when he gave her the decal. She even took a picture of it and texted it to her friends. And when I saw this photo of Kelsey, I could see what it meant to her.
“After all,” Jon said, “Kelsey wears a WonderWoman outfit to work, of course, she’d “gets’ a Flying Vulva.”
Kelsey also makes a mean veggie wrap, which I have to admit, Jon was also right about.
I have Flying Vulva Decals and buttons for sale in my Etsy Shop.
I finished my quilt “A Gentle Place”. It’s already sold. I had more people interested in buying this quilt than any other that I’ve made.
I think it may have to do with the time we are living in, how so many of us could use a peaceful place to retreat to now and again. It’s interesting that it came out of this time. Apparently I was craving a soothing place too.
I have to thank Carol Conklin for her part in this quilt.
She gave me the two batik printed panels with the serene waves, mountains, and night sky. I even got the name for this quilt from Carol, her batik is called “Evening In A Gentle Place”.
The light blue fabric came from four or five of Jon’s old Chamois shirts. The patchwork is an old quilt top. There’s also a piece of a sundress that I got twenty years ago for $1 at the Salvation Army and wore till just last year.
I’m fortunate to have more of Carol’s printed batiks. She gave me a bunch of them as a trade for some lenses I gave to her for her iPhone. I’m sure to be making more quilts using them.
You can see more of Carol’s work and buy her batik prints and originals on her website amityfarmbatik.com.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Minnie share her seat on my Rapunzel Chair with a chicken. But this morning she and Brown Hen sat comfortably together while White Hen pecked around on the back porch.