Friday, August 28, 2015

Hearts For Charleston

My Hearts for Charleston quilt block has been sent and received!
I am incredibly happy to be able to say that.

For one reason, I ran pretty close to Dee's deadline, as my usual way.
 But, mostly because I am so immensely  honored  to be a part of this amazing group.
If you've been looking at Dee's Hearts for Charleston posts as I have been, I'm sure you'll agree that this is one group of talented ladies.
I'm practically surprised to be among them.

Beginning ripples
 After completing the weaving and tacking down lots with Jude's invisible baste, I added the heart.  The finger paint fabric, in red, was used to symbolize Cynthia's beautiful uniqueness...to represent her, as individual as her fingerprint.
 I wrapped her heart in a blanket stitch to symbolize the loving care she gave to all of the patrons of the library...
to symbolize the love she gave to her friends, family and church community...
to symbolize the love those who knew her gave back to her...
to symbolize the loving care we should all give to each other...to symbolize the loving care that, because of this tragedy, is being shared with Cynthia's family.

A good blanket stitch can say all of that. 

Finger paint - Finger print Heart
 I next began the ripples I had envisioned.  The ripples grew and grew and grew.
They began close to the heart in red to symbolize both the love 
Cynthia shared and the love sent back to her.
They began as a heart shape.
Hugging close in.

As they radiated outward/inward, the heart shape morphed into a lumpy circle.
Years from now, way out in the edges of the ripple...
may Cynthia be remembered well.
The stitches turned blue to represent the community.
The community who knew her.
The community who loved her.
The community who only got to know her because of her untimely passing.
The community surrounding her, holding her in light and strength.

There are a lot of stitches.

In honor of Cynthia Hurd

Ready to fly
 I love seeing that left-over collar piece in there.
It makes me feel so connected.
I still can't completely recall if the shirt was my mom's or my dad's.
If it was my mom's, it works for all of the reasons I mentioned in a previous post.
If it was my dad's, then it's just pretty darn funny because he rarely read more than select sections of the LA Times and had a fondness for mispronouncing the word "library".
So, that works too (in my opinion).
Light
My not so tight weaving made me think 
of this favorite quote by Leonard Cohen.
 
 "Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

My weaving is not perfect.
This life is not perfect.
This world is not perfect.
But, it is beautiful.
Really beautiful and strong enough.

Stitches & Braids
 The button that was easily seen in previous posts holds eight braids to symbolize the other 8 lives lived and taken that day.
I considered tacking them down in a variety of placements.  Instead I left them loose, able to fly...able to be handled (if possible).
As I braided the eight, I considered the Black Lives Matter movement and I hoped these could be used as a physical source for comfort for those remembering 
Cynthia and the others...
for those deeply troubled by the current state of affairs.
It is comforting to hold them.

Trimmed
 When I trimmed it up, it became a bit wonky with very uneven squares.
When Dee goes to add it to the others, some of the outer stitches may disappear.
I kind of like that though.
I like that the love will radiate out into an unlimited future.
It may seem to fade...or disappear.
But we know that it will still be there.
This time
This person
...will not be forgotten.
Glowing
 This cloth is thick in your hands.
It is sturdy.  Dependable.
I like that.  From what I read about Cynthia, it feels fitting.

The back
 I always love the back as much as the front.
No more needs to be said.
Look at those stitches...
you could get lost in them.
They hold you.
They send you.
They travel.

Looking over the landscape
 In considering how I would sign or label my block, 
I knew I'd include my usual signature.  This is the one used on over 100 Christmas stockings and all cloth work since the mid-1990's.  My initials and the year.  Simple.
A dear friend once told me, "I have an one of the first NAE's".
What a touching thing to hear.
I also knew there is no way I'd have time to make a beautiful label, 
even if I wanted to.
So, my label became another often used technique of mine...
just write right on it by golly!
I thought this felt fitting too, what with the whole previously mentioned 
'words' thing!  I liked writing my words on this words fabric.

My typical signature tucked into the heart, "NAE '15"
 My label reads: "Memory - Love radiates - Leaving ripples
Nancy A. Erisman August 2015"
It's simple and says it all, just like this block.
"In memory - Love radiates - Leaving ripples"
Love radiates.
Love ripples.
Love heals.

 Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2015