Sunday, June 26, 2022

Timeline - Word Cloth 2015-2022


As I said recently, I went back in time on this blog looking for, finding, reading the stories as they relate to the Word Cloth. I found many, but some a bit less detailed then what I thought was there. At any rate, I decided to put all of that in one post, so I don't have to go off searching again. I've no huge need to organize this blog, but I did find that the tag Word Cloth couldn't really form a picture in my mind of the process progress of this cloth...the general order in which the words & symbols arrived...and I seemed to want to visualize this.

~~~If this is not of interest to you, I will not be offended if you skip this post~~~

I'm using a 'link' symbol for the paragraph breaks this time, as this will be a link filled post, with links to previous posts and all of the links and connections this cloth has allowed me to make. 

I really enjoyed not only going back to my words, but in rereading the comments of so many of you.                 I was very touched to read your words, remember how long we've all traveled together and take note of those who no longer visit the trail and the conversations here, along with those who have passed on. 

I paused to remember and honor these folks and these times.

7 computer graphic links, for the 7 years I've worked on this cloth!


I first dyed this cloth diaper, back at the old duplex in 2015. I used pomegranate and rusty stuff to get the color you've seen.  HERE IT IS in its naked glory! (February 12, 2015 "Topanga Hike")  I am still so fascinated by the random patterns made through natural dyeing. You can get patters of a leaf or other items, when you dye with intention, but I rather like the spontaneous shapes that arrive on their own. In writing this, I think that it is like Hazel's watercolors that so captivate...first the shape, then the meaning. I like that.


The next thing I recall...and found posted, was the first step I took after the dyeing, on February 22, 2015 in "It Started Like This".


My plan had been to tell the story of my half-sister finding me on FB. We'd never spoken before, so I imagined that there would be a story there, feelings there that would need expressing. I thought this dyed, soft cloth diaper would be a perfect holding ground for all of that. This first step (of stitching down the flap edge, which runs the length of the diaper) was merely management for future sewing. But, I quickly discovered even that held meaning when it appeared scar-like to me.. 


I remember thinking at the time that the stories may be very personal, so they may not even go on the blog. I thought I may want to have a place for new feelings to land. I did begin a heartbeat line (like you see on a monitor in the movies! Haha How dramatic of me!). I used deep blood red (for we are connected by blood) and the center white stitched line of the cloth diaper as a guideline for placement (and to keep me on track and not stitching up or downhill). I had begun to add that heartbeat, for what is more elemental than the heartbeat? 

I'm not sure if I ever posted about the heartbeat, haven't found that yet.

 Anyway, I also quickly discovered that the stories there, in that meeting, were kind, delightful and quite natural...and there was no need to get all stitchy!! I did not feel a pull to express myself through the cloth after all. I was (am) not traumatized. The cloth sat there...forever...with a partial heartbeat.


When I finally found & picked up this cloth again, as shown in the July 19th of 2020 ("Something Old, Something New") post, it was because of the death of George Floyd, when I'd felt ENOUGH

Enough police killings, enough unnecessary deaths...ENOUGH!!

The word ENOUGH was added in bold capitol letters and the heartbeat was completed...and had flatlined.


September 3, 2020..."Stitching to Existence"...along came HOPE, or at least the wish for it.


Once, I'd picked up this cloth again and completed the heartbeat and added the bold ENOUGH, it seems that the now named 'Word Cloth' was to be a companion over many of the tough things to happen during the first two years of the pandemic and the months moving forward.  On July 25,  2020 at the bottom of "Carry On", I added a tribute to honor John Lewis, with the GOOD TROUBLE circle. 

On September 5, 2020, I added the spiral to Good Trouble. You can read about that here on 



Next and rather quickly, along came the surprising, tragic and truly untimely passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I felt a strong pull to add something to the cloth to honor her. When I heard the quote of hers (below) in all of the hoopla floating around in the news stories, I new that was it...a 9 patch!

Added on the September 18, 2020 post: "Adding Wordless to the Word Cloth".


More words and posts followed in 2020 and into 2021.

November 14, 2020: RED, which has the cloth as a photo background and talks of the word HOLE.


Quickly thereafter as seen in this post, a new word arrived on my doorstep... "SAFE" (September 25, 2020). I posted this detailed considerations of what SAFE may be in that moment. I consider that now, all of these months later. Safe? *I also found this word pictured here: JANUARY 6, 2021


On the Winter Solstice of 2020, December 21, 2020, there were three photos of the cloth...

the mouth - the hole - and SAFE...all in process.


Later in the month, I posted a close-up of the tally marks in honor of Martin Luther King Day:

January 18, 2021

And again on January 20, 2021 INAGURATION DAY   - and later on the same day...

January 20, 2021 - May There Be Room ...where I show TRUST and TRUTH and feel winds of change.

...once again in January, on the 22nd WORDS AND SYMBOLS...

This one has been the fullest accounting of the cloth, thus far and I have enjoyed looking back at my thoughts  then. On January 26th, I considered what MATTERs

This cloth has surely provided me space to land, to process, to share.

In GIFTS PT 2 of January 30, 2021, I noticed some beautiful purple floss and the statement that a new word was coming on. Whatever it was, I do not recall and there is no bold purple on the cloth, yet.


In early February 2, 2021, SLOW CHANGE  has the Word Cloth goes out and about, soaking up Nature.

In February 11th post,  DISJOINTED, LISTEN showed up, not in purple, but in orange and in the same placement above the tally I wonder if that is the word I had thought of? Of course, I will never really know and it doesn't matter one bit, but since I am documenting here, it is something to consider.

Months went by and in August 5, 2021's post "SEED PLANTING" - there is no photo of the Word Cloth, but instead a mere mention and many photos of the old road where I had taken it in the past.


Again, months went by and I arrive here in the present with these two June 2022 posts and the word HELP.

You can look HERE and HERE.  to see the latest word and the cloth as it sits recently.

I noticed in composing this post and reviewing all of the previous Word Cloth posts, that most of the words came to me during troubled times. I noticed that each word (aside from the John Lewis and RBG tributes) were all words for comfort, contemplation and varied meanings. Just as the arrows on HELP led in both directions, these words have many meanings to each individual and over time. I think that's pretty swell.


After starting the draft of this post, I thought that I would throw some shades of green and the Word Cloth in the car with me that week and add onto SAFE.  It has been a long time since I've stitched on that word.

And I did do this.

But, that word...SAFE ~ never seems to reach completion, and I ponder that.


Lastly, for this long post...I realized I had not really photographed the back. This is something I always do, as I so enjoy those map-backs!  So, I did that today. I like how you can still kinda read the words (especially if you know what they say in the first place!) I'm sure there is some deep metaphor for that...

How we communicate...are we transparent in our words, messages? Do we say what we mean? Do we hide behind words or faux meanings? And so on and so on...

May you find the words you want and need

May you communicate with ease

When at a loss for words, may you be able to fill in the blanks


Photographs by NAE ©2022


Liz A said...

back at last from our travels, thankful to be taking a virtual journey with you through this cloth ... words that matter

Anonymous said...

This is Marti and I have spent the most extraordinary time with this moving post; it reads as a glossary of these times and it does so in the most aware and affirming ways: You noted in the link titled disjointed: "what I really like is how the words come to me on their own and how the meaning of each one ebbs and flows over the days/weeks."

Each word, a sign/talisman: Enough, Hope, Good Trouble, Nine Patch for RBG, Hole, Safe, Trust, Truth, Matters, Listen, Help- universal words, coming from a few years ago, holding such continuing relevance today, especially Truth, Trust, Safe, Help and Hope. The stitched mouth that you felt looked more like a heart and your idea that maybe this is so "we can just use more loving words"...

Taking the time to research your blog, the many links that speak to us of how you moved through these times with thoughts and stitched words, is a tremendous and extraordinary gift for all of us Nancy.

I will return again and again to this post for the clarity, for the heartfelt sense because this post is a deeply meaningful chronology of our time...

Anonymous said...

It's Nancy...Liz~ It has sure been quite the journey! Glad you are home safe (Ha, there's that word again). xo

Anonymous said...

It's Nancy~ Marti~ Thank you so very much for this heartfelt comment, which details how you as a reader and fellow traveler receive this cloth. As the one who has made it, well, one never knows how things land. I love reading your insights, as I sometimes feel as if I am just bumbling along...but it can be in the looking the looking over, that I realize just how fluid it has been. Thank you for this gift Dear Marti. ❤️

jude said...

This was great because I was just traveling back and realizing how many thoughts get buried in time and how I try to link them and how tired I have become, trying. There is a beautiful story here.

Anonymous said...

Jude, it's Nancy...I thought of you so much pulling this together...mostly wondering how on earth you do it all! These stories would have been buried for sure. I'm glad I was able to gather them here. xo