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 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 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).
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 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.

 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.
 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 NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2015


Els said...

This beautiful post leaves me with a lump in my throat ...
You made something good Nancy

Liz A said...

Reading this I couldn't help wishing there might be some way to show the backs as well as the fronts of the Hearts for Charleston squares ... but at least yours is beautifully documented here.

The braids are a wonderful addition ... I too hope that they will be touch-able. Imagine how they would change over time ... another form of love made visible.

deanna7trees said...

beautifully done.

Dana said...

Oh Nancy, this is so heartfelt! I too really appreciate the documentation you present here; it draws us in even more deeply. Thank you.

Mo Crow said...

(((Nancy))) this is so beautiful!

Nancy said...

Els~ Thank you Els, your words mean a lot to me.

Liz~ Yes, changing over us all. I'm a big fan of backs!!

Deanna~ Thank you.

Dana~ You are welcome. Thank you for your sweet comment.

Mo~ Thank you Mo...this means so much coming from you.

Anonymous said...

well, I feel so so lucky to be able to see all these squares in the flesh, so to speak. Photos DO capture the workmanship and your words add so much, Nancy, but there really is something about holding the cloth. Feeling its energy.

There is no way that I will be able to cover up the backs of these squares. So I'll have to figure that out. I love the backs so, so much.

Thank you for the effort, here, Nancy. I particularly appreciate it because I know you have a demanding job. Thank you! Thank you! Love indeed radiates!

Jenny M said...

Your every stitch is a beautiful thought and acknowledgment of those that have passed.

Nancy said...

Dee~ You are most welcome Dee, but really my thanks go to you for including me. I love the backs! You have your work cut out for you, seriously, trying to put all of these blocks together :)

Jenny~ Thank you for your kind words.

jude said...


Peggy said...

Nancy, you've done it -- you've made a true healing cloth. It is magnificent, filled with thought and intention. And it is so you. Beautiful wonderful you. xoxoxo

Nancy said...

Thanks Jude

Nancy said...

Peggy~ Thank you so much. You tell me things that I don't realize about myself...that I've created something "magnificent" and that something can be "so you". I always recognize the style of other, but have not considered that I am falling into one of my own. Mmmm...
Thank you friend.

Anonymous said...

You have woven so much into this, Nancy…so much heart! Absolutely love the back, it shows/holds the essence of your expression. It's all so very FULL.