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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feathers Will Fly

The feathers are flying...everywhere!  I have been checking in on Jude's recent 
Magic Feather Project
 It has been great fun to see feathers and stories arriving to her
from all over the world!
These two are on their way!

This is his feather

One Crow Feather
Here is his story, in his words:

"First, I helped Grandma dye the fabric in purple cabbage.
Next, I helped Grandma take out the cabbage.  It smelled very bad.
Then, we put the fabric in the the freezer.
When we took it out, the fabric was silverish-white!
Last, on comes the feather."
The Back
Where Quill meets Shaft

He practices drawing crow feathers.  When I ask him, "Are you ready to draw?" (meaning the feather on the cloth), he responds, "Nope, you can't rush art".

He decides to use the purple cabbage fabric.  You may remember it from here.  After the rinse, the sun and the freezer, there is not much purple left!  He whips out the invisible stitch and attaches it to a piece of muslin.  He loves doing this stitch and completes the X in record time!   He chooses to make a crow feather.   He begins by practicing the shape of the crow feather. We discuss the coloring of it, all black. He draws the outline and away he goes!  He notices that where the quill meets the shaft, it is both black and white.  I suggest that he use one strand of each color and he agrees.  You may be able to see this if you enlarge the photo on the right.   He has already taught himself the wrap stitch after watching a moment of Jude's teaching video.
I must say, I love this little feather.  I love the tight bunched up little stitches, the mistakes cut and/or covered up with more stitches.  I love the cabbage fabric that will one day show no color at all, faded away like stories of our past.  This cloth feels so good to hold...it is so soft and it holds the gentle touches of his hands, stitched with his generous spirit and his own way of understanding that this will be sent to Jude for a quilt project for children.
"For the homeless children", he keeps saying. 
It is stitched with the long lashes of his down-turned eyes, focusing on this one single creation.  This one that will become one of many, a part of something bigger...for someone else.  This fills my heart and I hope that this experience, that will become but one in a lifetime filled with experiences, will stay with him in some way.
It will stay with me.

Big Crow Feather & Little Crow Feather
 Then it was my turn.  I had a few ideas and false start or two.
But, then I came across a square of orange cotton fabric in my stash.  I had gotten it years ago, too many years to remember now.  It was a giveaway square from a local quilt shop, one of those - free with purchase - choose a square.  I looked at it and thought of all the eco-dyeing going on these days.  I loved all of the variations of color and the markings on it.  I didn't even notice the butterflies until I started to stitch!  Orange...not my usual color choice...but it reminded me of the sun and the heat...or lack of heat and rain instead, that has been such a topic of conversation in the stitching community this summer.  It made me think of community and the ways we come together and support one another...how we all need the same basic things.
-Sun-Food & Water-Shelter-Loving Care-Mental Stimulation & Growth-Emotional Support-
Feather Finds the Sun
 In this stitching community...the spiral is to symbolize either spiraling down towards the warmth of the sun or up and away from too much heat.  It's a circling around, a gathering...an open-ended movement...

 These are some of the ideas associated with the spiral found on the web:

 "Ancient symbol of the goddess, the womb, fertility, feminine serpent force, continual change, and the evolution of the universe."
From  radio liberty

"Balance, Progress, Direction, Initiation, Centering, Expanding, Awareness, Connection, Journeying, Development."
From  What's Your Sign?

" Celtic artists used the spiral symbol as a mind-altering creative process in which the act of creating a spiral in their work released their minds into a creative splendor."
From  What's Your Sign?

 "Represents ethereal energy radiating out (or inward depending on your perspective) Also symbolizes growth, birth and expansion of consciousness."
 From What's Your Sign?

In terms of astrology, mysticism and myth the spiral translates into meanings of spirituality and rebirth.In terms of spirituality, the spiral symbol represents the path leading from outer consciousness (materialism, external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (enlightenment, unseen essence, nirvana, cosmic awareness).
From Symbolic Meanings Blog by Avia Venefica

The spiral is one of the oldest pagan symbols in existence. It represents the perpetual motion of life, with the spring-like coils suggesting latent power, presenting a picture of life as an endless, evolutionary process bound within the cycles of time. Although each loop of the spiral brings us back to the same place, it takes us to a higher and more evolved level.
From  Exotic India Art


So many of the ideas, in particular the single words themselves really spoke to me.  But, I have to say I didn't do this mini-research until after the feather and spiral were already spinning and winging their way to Jude!  Although, I may have to use some more spirals in upcoming work!!!  I designed it by intuition, by gut, by artistic flow.
However, I did make 'design' choices inspired by what I wanted to communicate.
I chose the 'magic feather' in Jude's traditional style of black and white because I wanted this first (or only?) feather to be a representation of Jude's generosity and the spirit of the Magic Feather Project.  I loved how striking it looked on the bright orange fabric!  When I went to add the spiral, I decided to keep the feel of the magic thread, but mute the color, so the focus would remain on the feather itself...and sort of float off into the spiral.


Thank you Jude for the opportunity to participate in such a worthy project.  Not only is the chosen cause of the nurturing & education of children close to my heart, but I was fortunate to share this experience with my grandson.  For this, I am grateful.
Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

19 comments:

Ms. ∆×∆p×≥h/4π said...

To his down-turned lashes focused, and your loving gift of time to him. To our passing time, to generosity and gratitude, I lift my cup!

Nancy said...

Yes time...so precious and appreciated, even in little snatches here and there...in our all too busy lives it is not always easy to get in the moment.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

these moments, stitched.
tenderness.

Tammy said...

This was so lovely to read about .. and I just bet there will be no way to forget such a beautiful moment as this however I have a feeling there will be so many more...

deanna7trees said...

i know he will always remember this wonderful experience of stitching with you. 2 beautiful feathers and wonderful stories.

Mo Crow said...

love the spiral and your grandson's crow feather holds such strong crow energy!

jenni-lynn said...

This is so sweet...I love his description. And thanks for the information on spirals.

woman with wings said...

Nancy, amazing. It takes a lot of time and patience to see a project like this through to completion and you and he have done it! Best of all, together! And they are beautiful. I do believe that orange is the most perfect orange, it's been waiting all these years to hold a feather....

Nancy said...

Thank you everyone for all of the nice comments! I wish we all could hold the work of each other. If you could hold his little cloth as I have....(voice trails off)

Watching the Weather Channel...big weekend, big storm comin'...
Hurricane Irene - I glanced at the guy and said, "That weather map with all the orange and red and the swirl of the storm...the spiral...looks like my feather block!"

Take care everyone, wherever you are...take care of each other.

handstories said...

you are right about the "striking" on the orange. what a great gift for jude, for your grandson and i imagine for you- all of this together. blessings.

Nancy said...

Cindy- Yes 'striking' is not a word I use often, but it sure fir here! Yes, a real gift, more than I can adequately put into words. Even my guy likes this one a lot and he's not one to comment frequently :)
There is some magic in thinking that this will pass into Jude's hands from mine (and his)!

Out Of This World said...

Hi Nancy

Thank you for visiting my blog. I first discovered you through Grace's blog after I sent her a poem, you replied with such a beautiful response that it made my day. Wishing you a sweet journey.

Jacqui

Nancy said...

Jacqui- Well it's nice to meet you over here too! Please drop in as often as you like!
Also I had a nice peek in n you place the other day. Love the house! Fantastic!

Penny Berens said...

just perfect, Nancy.

Nancy said...

Thanks Penny :)

Judy Martin said...

This is a lovely post. I can feel the love and care that you put into your work, and into your grandparenting.

Nancy said...

Judy - Thank you for stopping by and such kind words too :)

jude said...

i received the feathers.... hoping to get them up and posted later today. i feel the warmth...

Nancy said...

Jude- Yea!!! SO glad they made it through the storm!