Friday, December 2, 2016

The Holes in the Fabric of Forgetting

Ancestry Cloth has become my life's work.  It has become my metaphor, a metaphor for the immigrant, for the nomad, for the wanderer.  It is a daily meditation, weaving together a forgetful monochromatic present with the colors and patterns just beyond memory.

When I'm cutting and stitching, I think about Indigenous People around the world, who were ripped from their homes and taught to forget.  When I listen to the elders speak at Standing Rock I know what was almost lost, a wisdom for the present that we need for our survival.  Despite the suffering, the abuse and the losses along the way,  Indigenous People, by some miraculous triumph of the human spirit, have survived.  The survivors of the world have created a strong and beautiful mosaic of memories from the shards that were not completely lost in the rape of their cultures.

I think of the dream I had as a child, everyone around me turned to skeletons as I hid to save my skin.  I can't get this dream out of my mind, my childhood nightmare haunts my waking hours. It is no wonder I sew.  I sew this cloth, made of layers and layers of past and present.  I am creating a new skin.  It often looks like the hide of a animal.  Sometimes I see earth and the fire within, and sometimes it is a topography of the soul.  Other times I see rhythms of a distant dance, ebbing and flowing through the holes in the fabric of forgetting.. 

I am making a new skin for the skeletons: connective tissue for myself and my human family.  I am making a cloth to cover our bones and to make us remember.  They are the Time Traveling Champion Capes for defending the spirit.  They are the Memory Headdresses for channeling what we already know.

They are dresses of Armor, to warm us in the cold and steel our nerves when we cannot see through the darkness our forgetfulness has left us.  They are the ceremonial attire for the dancer who spins to the music that brings collective memories back to the surface.

They are the wardrobe for the Nomad on her long Journey Home.

Special thanks to photographer Kara Counard

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