I continue to work on the invitational "Rituals" piece. It is a large piece for me, so it is slow going by my usual standards. This is a smallish section.
You may remember that a year or so ago I was working on a large piece for an invitational show and became so frustrated I vowed that I was not going to do that again. "That" being make a quilt in a prescribed size and theme that was going to make me frustrated and unhappy with the outcome. So why am I doing this? I thought about it and decided that I needed to open my mind a little and try larger work as long as I could think it through, come up with something meaningful to me that could be effective at a larger size. I am also trying to make work that is personal and meaningful to me. This all ties into my 2012 word, "intention."
A small story that I hope isn't too sad or morbid. I know of a woman, who is about my age, who was recently diagnosed with a terrible kind of cancer that will almost surely kill her within the next year, give or take and depending on her response to some experimental treatments. She has an online journal that I read periodically and I think about how I would react. She is brave, matter of fact and very, very honest. She is packing her life, right now, with all the things that matter to her—family time, walks in the woods, books, music and friends. I hope I could face such a fate with the same seeming calm and determination. Reading her journal and thinking about what she is doing with the time she has, made me realize that our life is defined by the things and the people and the causes we love. And that is what whatever work we do should be about.
My ritual is making and sending valentines each year. It is not about valentines. It is about friendship and the delicate threads of connection. I make valentines, write letters and as I cut and paste and write and address envelopes I think about each person and what they mean to me. It is my heart I am sending and reconfirms the connection whether it is old and fragile, new and tentative or strong and tested. My piece has many hearts on it. At one point I thought I would stitch words into the background that referenced the messages that accompany the hearts, but decided instead to add the black stitching as a kind of representation of the complexity of small things that connect us to our friends—quirky, irregular, but in its entirety a kind of network of memory.
If my quilts become a series of "what I love" this one will be friends. I love my friends.