All over the place

So much-ness … dyeing with windfall lichen gathered with our Austin grandkids …

playing with miniature bookmaking (and no, this is NOT the way to do it, but it photographed beautifully) …

this is more like it …

Inspired by Annick, I played with letters, names …

wondering how they might find their way onto cloth.

Meanwhile, the yard is slowly becoming, so different from the Hill Country, but yet …

echoes of that time continue.

And of course, there is stitching …

and learning, how linen and flannel may not nestle as well as one might hope …

but well enough …

And last is best, as stitching down this tiny bit of cloth …

the naming of the larger bed cloth came to me …

my heart’s compass.

And so it begins (Ten of Wands)

I finally have a functioning version of Microsoft Word … nine long months after hitting a subscription renewal roadblock that utterly defeated me. Fortunately, a new project provided the incentive to get it fixed once and for all. Thank goodness that’s done!

Now I’m on to the (latest) new project. Ever since encountering Lee Thomson’s Tarot of the North Atlantic late last summer, I’ve been contemplating (and hinting broadly) about creating a “Hill Country Tarot.”

Thanks to Dee Mallon, who recently sent me my first-ever tarot deck … and Deb Lacativa, who has provided guidance on sources for interpreting Tarot (including this link to Joan Bunning’s Learning the Tarot) … and Acey, who hosted a wonderful month-long immersion into daily collage-making … as well as the circle of bloggers aka Kindred Spirits who consistently cheer me on … thanks to all that, I’m planning to create a Texas Tarot (with a somewhat wider scope than the “Hill Country” alone would afford).

I’m not sure how much I’ll include here on the blog, but I do like to document process and product, so I suspect (even hope) this project will show up here with some regularity.

What will that look like? Contrary to the original plan, I’ve given up on the idea of creating Tarot cards, per se. Rather, I’ll create one collage at a time in a journal organized first by Major Arcana and then by suits within the Minor Arcana (for more on that, see the Joan Bunning link above).

However, “organized by” does not necessarily mean they will be created in said order. Instead, I will draw a random card each day and then create a collage in response to the card. The journaling that accompanies each card/collage will remain private, but I will (briefly) note any symbolism that seems apropos here on the blog.

Why? Well, because I love symbolism and writing and, better yet, making something that combines the two with a creative activity. Plus I simply miss living in the Hill Country. Which is why I’ve been thoroughly immersed in the mental exercise of formulating a structure that I hope will ultimately become a love letter to The Land.

I’ll share more about the structure in another post, as I’ve gone on quite long enough without showing a single image. So here’s the first collage for the Ten of Wands (with the Wands being a suit that will be represented primarily by wildflowers and butterflies), backed by The Land as the Crow Flies

As for the symbolism …

Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom characterizes the Ten of Wands as being “weighed down with commitments and problems.”

Melissa Cynova’s Kitchen Table Tarot states, “you can tell in a few more steps they’ll drop everything or fall.”

Jessa Crispin in The Creative Tarot notes, “too much excitement can lead to exhaustion.”

All of which led me to choose the Texas Skeleton Plant (Lygodesmia texana), with its 8-12 ray-like flowers per flowerhead (an average of ten), as proxy for the haplessly overloaded individual pictured here …

because the Texas Skeleton Plant blooms for but a few brief hours before dropping all its petals to the ground. Oh, I do love metaphor!

And because the background of the Tarot card depicts a fire-y sky, I chose to print a Hill Country image of the sky after one of the hurricanes, which threatened (but thankfully did not deliver) doom and destruction to our land. Then I overlaid the print on a foreboding background image from my bookcover collection. Because I do have a bit of a tendency to worry, often needlessly. More metaphor.

There’s also a bit of symbolism for the number ten in the bottom right corner, but again, I’ll go into that another time.

One last thought: I anticipate returning to some of the card/collages in the future in order to add new images and insights. Perhaps even to “mend my ways” if needed. Your thoughts and comments are therefore most welcome as they may well inform that process.

Iron-y

I gave this piece, continued from here, a very light pressing, not wanting to smash the stitching …

There’s a back story, of course …

I’ve been using Rowenta irons for over 20 years, ever since being introduced to one at a B&B when I needed to iron a cotton Laura Ashley dress that hadn’t traveled well. I was smitten by its weightiness and by the scorching heat it generated.

Unfortunately, I have a habit of knocking irons off the board, thereby bouncing them on the concrete floor, which tends to scramble whatever electronic impulses are necessary to make the darn things work. After the most recent drop, I went to Target and grabbed the first Rowenta I saw off the shelf. Alas, I did not read the box labeling, which touted a new feature: no temperature control button. Rather, the damn thing promised to automatically adjust to whatever fiber I was pressing. I call BS on that.

So I went back to Target, bought the cheapest iron I could find (a Sunbeam) and have been happily ironing away ever since. And yes, I did scorch one piece of cotton cloth by using the linen setting … but hey, I like to live dangerously.

All that by way of saying I eased back on the throttle with this cloth, using a wool setting so I wouldn’t overdo it.

Deb Lacativa’s so-called Dirty Threads served me well, as always. Shades of grey for the initial wording …

“what if words are like shadows … like dreams that fade away with barely a trace left behind … leaving thoughts in their wake … ”

Followed by sea blues and greens …

“… and a new understanding of how we might go … in the words of Old Man Crow: we dream of a world where live is the answer, when the question is how do you get through the day?”

And finally, sky blues and violets …

“Stitched by Nana (Liz Ackert) for Griffin in 2019”

with an asemic bit that can only be read on the back …

“keep on dreaming, keep on believing you can make dreams come true.”

With thanks to Hazel at Handstories for telling me about the book Pockets by Jennifer Armstrong, which put the idea of a hidden phrase in my head (while I await receipt of my own used copy, ordered from abebooks.com for $3.99 with free shipping).

And with thanks to Griffin for loving this cloth into being. Soon enough ’twill become a pillow for his bed.

P.S. This project has gotten my rusty stitch lettering back up to speed. Now I’m looking forward to revising this bit of patchplay.