Saturday, October 1, 2016

Layers, Labyrinths and Ancestors

Mughals Dream  1996

I've been so busy sewing cloth lately I can't find time to write, but I have thoughts floating through my mind that threaten to leave me if I don't give them my full attention.  Thoughts can be fickle and needy that way.  But perhaps they are just realistic, most anything ignored fails to thrive.  
I have a photo shoot scheduled and I want lots of new pieces of Ancestry Cloth.  The photos will be taken in the woods where my father's ashes were spread.  For me this is a gesture of respect and honor, was well as a beckoning for energy from Dad, who now exists in the Ancestor realm. 

Innocent and Kind  1994
Ancestry Cloth 2016
As I sew I think about layers.  I have painted in layers for years.  These layers represent time and memory and the limits of both.  How we view things from the present changes the image of the past. It is impossible to see everything at once, so we pick and choose the details to focus on and those to cover with new experience.  Which brings me to patterns, because it is our patterns, of thought, of language, of noticing, that determine the final image.
While I'm sewing and cutting Ancestry Cloth I realize I am doing the very same thing, but (at the moment) in abstractions.  Because I am creating these patterns and layers of abstract shapes my mind is free to take them to places unrestricted by a storyline.  They are simply layers and patterns, the ancestors talking to me and me talking back.

Ancestry Cloth, back view 2016

I have also been noticing my stitches spiraling into labyrinths.  So I think about labyrinths. There's the trap of the labyrinth in the story of the Minotaur.  But there's also those in the Buddhist Stupas, a spiral walk intended to center your mind.  These are the labyrinths that intrigue me most.  This stitching centers my mind in a way that makes me think at times I can almost articulate the emotion of this work.  
This emotion feels a lot like caring, and it is possible that it is love.

Adinkra  2014

"Love is the only Engine of Survival"  L. Cohen  (from "The Future")

Ancestor Dress 2016


  1. Love these pieces Dawn! What an honor to your ancestors!

    1. Thank you Jen!
      I like to keep them happy :)


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