I woke up from my dream trying to clear the dreadful feeling from my body and the images from my head. In my dream, Fate had jumped into a pond with an alligator in it. She was swimming around like a seal (she doesn’t like to swim in life) at one point I even mistook her for Lenore, she was enjoying the water so much. I was yelling for her to come to me but she wasn’t listening. I knew the alligator was hungry.
On Friday before I left my studio, I decided I wanted to fill the space under the raptor eyes with words. Not necessarily words to be read, but using them as texture and marks. I wasn’t confident enough about the idea to start it and left my studio unsure about the piece altogether.
On Sunday, Jon and I went to the Williams College Museum in Williamstown MA and to see the movie The Fits. At the museum I saw a photo by Lalla Essaydi. In the photo everything but the woman’s hair and hand is covered in Arabic writing in henna. A beautiful and emotional photo dealing with identity, tradition and culture, I took it as a sign to use my own writing on my Raptor piece.
Since I wasn’t expecting the words to ever be read by anyone, they’re really too hard to see because of the surface of the quilt, I just started some stream of consciousness writing. But by the time I was done I realized I had analyzed my dream in the writing.
Alligator has come to me before as a symbol of ancient wisdom and protective mother. In my writing I came to see that the dream was about me being afraid of my own strength and how destructive that strength can be if unacknowledged. Then I looked up alligator in the book Animal-Speak and read ” The viciousness and destructive power (of alligator) was often symbolized as a mother swallowing her young.”
The alligator was my misguided strength become vicious enough to do great harm to Fate.
I no longer saw the dream as scary, but as a message from my subconscious to accept my strength and not allow it to be misdirected and destructive.
When I finished writing on the quilt, I stood back and looked at the whole piece. I was no longer ambiguous about it as I was on Friday. Suddenly I had my confidence back. I pulled most of the stitches on the Super Girl patches and straightened her out (I had sewed her on crooked and didn’t have the energy to fix her on Friday). The piece was starting to come together and I began feeling good about it again.