Vessel

We are navigating through uncharted seas and unknown territories.  We do not know when the journey will be over or even where our destination lies.  Plans have been upended and life as we have known it has been turned upside down. 

We are getting to know the people with whom we live, the insides of our homes and even ourselves more deeply and intimately.  This can be for the better or for the worse.  Radical changes and challenges may result, or deeper connections and appreciations, or both.

One of the things I had planned to do this year is to go to Oklahoma for the first time in my life.  To see where my Muscogee (Creek) Dad came from, and left as soon as he could.  To stand on the land where four generations of my Mvskoke ancestors lived.  To visit Southeastern Native friends I met last year in the UK and to meet new ones I’ve made online.  To go to Stomp Dance and Mvskoke Church, maybe take a beading workshop or drop into a Muscogee language class.  Now these plans are all up in the air.

My latest art quilt Road to Oklahoma was accepted into the Trail of Tears Art Show 2020 in Talequah, Oklahoma, which is now postponed.

I have decided to continue to connect with the Mvskoke community and explore my Mvskoke world view and heritage right here at home in the UK.  I have been reading Spiral to the Stars by Laura Harjo, Mvskoke scholar, geographer, planner, and Indigenous methodologist.  In her book, Mvskoke knowledge of life, from ancient days through the wreck and reckoning of history to the fiercely futurial urgency of now, is cared for, deepened and lived.

For an art project that I am involved with, I was recently invited to select a symbol of what I am bringing the project and to these new times.

I have a vessel I made from cotton fabric, thread and twigs.  Here it is photographed against a piece of brain tanned deerskin I made last year.

Perro [peɬɬ-o] pronounced pí-thlo, n. boat, Mvskoke

Perro :: boat,  30 x 10cm

A vessel is a container that holds our experience, emotions, fears, dreams, hopes.
A vessel is also a craft, a boat, which carries us on a journey.

Where will we arrive?
What do we carry with us?
What are our maps?
Who do we travel with?
How do we find our way?