Sunday, August 2, 2015


"It’s how I fill the time when nothing’s happening. 
Thinking too much, flirting with melancholy. 
Tim Winton

I wonder if that's what she was doing,
slipping quietly into inherited melancholy
while life zoomed and buzzed around her.

I never saw my mother 'at rest';
there was never time when there was nothing happening.

I don't think her generation ever was at a complete stop.
There was always simply too much to do. 

She was never just watching TV,
she was multitasking -
doing some form of hand work with thread - 
which would now get her classified 
as a housewife AND fiber artist!

Even on camping trips,  
or sitting on the porch of our beach house,
she was never idle.
and, with that role model, 
day after day,
words didn't need to be spoken.

I got the message loud and clear -

So I joined the long list of women 
who used their hands
and their time 
to create humble decorative works 
to adorn their homes.

I live in a cottage;
build in the mid 1930's;
it has lots of doors and windows which take up 
most of the wall space.
So it's a good thing I'm not a minimalist!
I don't have wall space to waste!
I have samplers everywhere!
And, for every one I kept, I gave away 3.

Back in the day,
samplers were the means through which girls learned the alphabet
and the necessary sewing skills to fashion and decorate clothes.

Trust me,
with all the practice I've had,
I know the alphabet!

Some of the samplers I designed and created myself

For some, 
I took prayers or collects 
from the Book of Common Prayer; 
thoughts that were significant to what I was going through.

 I used my name on some
and my ancestors names on others;

not even strangers were exempt.
There's a small church
on the 11 mile bike loop around Cade's Cove
 in the Smoky Moutains National Park.

A grave there for a 2 yr old little girl touched my heart;
I imagined her learning how to sew 
and what her life would have been like 
if it hadn't been cut short.

And another child,
dead at 1,
in Calvary Cemetery in St Louis,
served as inspiration for this one.

And one,
has hung in every home I've had an an adult -
even my trailer 
in the married student trailer court!

Each one is flooded with memories;
feelings and thoughts captured with each X.

So it's also no surprise that I've rescued several from flea markets or garage sales.
I know the time, the care, the feelings and thoughts that are embodied in each one;

I'm amazed that smack dab in the midst of the flowers and small animals,
there are whales -
What's that about?

But don't worry,
even with all the samplers,
I've still found room for other pieces of art as well.

My beloved poodle, Jack,

 a purple magic marker Pieta by my son,
(done while he was in high school)
with the focus on Mary,
which allowed me to see,
for the first time,
that his talent was a force totally unknown to me;
 somethings completely outside of my control or input.

 A painting of the sea
which immediately takes me back to LBI
and childhood summers
 and folk art that just makes me happy.

More on the folk art later ...

What's on YOUR walls?
and why?

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