Journeys and journeying. This is the subject of one of the recent threads of my online community SOMA and one which leads to a vein of rich ore to be mined.
Now that I am finally settled into Home, first and foremost in my Self, and into the Home that my beloved Steve and I are creating together, I am also journeying. It seems a paradox, but the type of journeying that I am doing requires a firm and solid base, deep reaching roots.
When I packed ‘Winter Trees Wept’ into it’s box to drop off at the NEC for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, I felt a pang of sadness. I put much of my soul into that quilt and it’s destiny is to go out into the world and tell a story. I think I felt the way a parent might feel when their child makes a milestone step. For our deep works of art may be like our children, conceived deep inside and birthed into the world. Dar la luz (to give light) is a beautiful Spanish phrase for ‘to give birth”.
I certainly went on a journey when I made Winter Trees Wept. I wrote these words a couple of weeks ago while I was doing the handquilting:
“I got up very early this morning to do some more handquilting. I chose a dark grey metallic thread to border each side of my blood red silk river stitching. The grey thread pierced the fabric like needles of sleet.
As I made each stitch, I remembered that 1836 was the year that my great, great grandfather Tecumseh Phillips was born. 1836, the final year of the Muscogee Removal – wintertime, snow, many of the men in shackles, the remaining Muscogee leaving their ancestral homeland for the final time, the ones who held out and tried to remain. I don’t know if he was born en route or if his parents were in an earlier phase of Removal and he was born in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
I felt such an unbearable grief. For a moment, it felt like I carried all of our grief, which has been passed down for nearly 200 years. I wondered how they possibly bore it, then remembered that it is grief which has been forbidden to feel. Grief which has been buried and masked with alcohol abuse, violence, under-achieving.
In making this piece of work, I’m breaking the vow of silence. I don’t know why I’ve chosen this, or why it’s chosen me, but it feels like a very powerful healing. Powerful medicine.”
and now it makes it’s first journey out into the world.