when I was young and curious,
I spent many hours
drawing and weaving
my naked self.
I was also able to draw my friends.
Vicki (the one with the long blonde hair
in the tapestry above),
was great about whipping off her clothes,
and holding still in an awkward position
while I plied my pencil.
But given that I was a full time stay-at-home mum
(I spun miles of yarn while hanging out with Henry),
as well a full time tapestry weaver
working madly on my drawing skills,
the live model at hand when my son was napping
was usually me.
Besides, most of stories I wove
(assuming you are willing
to accept that my friends and I
really did ride through the night sky
on high-whorl spindles),
so it was both practical and necessary
to render my own thighs.
it was also more sensible, time-wise,
to set up a couple of mirrors
and spend a few hours
drawing my backside
than to try to take photos of said rear end,
send them to the photo place,
, wait while they were turned into prints,
(hoping all the while that the position I'd photographed
was the one I actually wanted),
and then draw from that.
I'd end up spending a lot of time
looking at my body either way,
and if I was going to be judgmental,
better the real thing seen only by me
than photos that could hang out for decades.
What amazed me then though,
and delights me now,
is what a great help
all that drawing proved to be.
That fleshy form
those motherly thighs,
the smiling C-section scar
with its the little pooch above,
to be objects of angst,
and became instead a collection
of truly lovely shapes that,
if only I squinted just right,
and did a lot of erasing and unweaving,
I could somehow maybe capture
with graphite and yarn.
Also, it always has been hard to decide what to wear.
as a break from holiday madness,
my now adult son
(boatbuilder and sometimes spindle maker
because fruit and trees and all that),
was rummaging in the basement
for what he thought were carefully stored
mementos of his youth and found,
not the outdated and now non-canon
Star Wars memorabilia he was hoping for,
but rather one last and forgotten box
of these notecard--
my own reminders of a time long gone.
but there were enough inside
to put together some sets
and they are now in my web store
for as long as they last.
to spend time with these images --
to think about the incredible joy of that time:
of drawing and weaving,
studying color and shape,
honing tapestry techniques,
practically bathing in natural dyes
(see the tapestry Indigo Bath on this page),
and of giving in to the freedom
of being interested in the dailyness of life
and of rendering those days in wool,
a pick at a time,
even as they unfolded.
I see that in the years since I wove them
things have not changed all that much.
There are fewer nudes to be sure--
seemingly, it is more compelling
to draw the skirt I just wove
or sweater I recently knit
than my lovely soft and sagging flesh--
even if it is still hard
to decide which of them to wear.
of learning to work with new (to me) materials,
of recording the ways
in which different aspects of life
overlap, influence and interact with one another,
and of transforming some
of those impressions into tapestry,
is as entrancing as ever.
the tapestries more focused
the narrative less voluptuous--
well, I put it down to the emergence
of the my inner Luminist,
an aspect of my creative psyche
which (or maybe who),
after decades of contentedly hanging out
and quietly observing
the heretofore unchallenged Storymaker,
now insists on a fair share
of creative control.
that their very differences
now drive my creative life.
(And if I didn't take pleasure where I find it,
the Storymaker would have nothing to work with).
if you're interested in reading more
of this nonsense--
or about a body of work
created by their disagreements,
hard copies of Backstrap Dialogues
are also once again in the web store
along with the PDFs.
I've even stocked up on envelopes,
so if you want one -- now's the time.