Archive for the ‘my dinner party’ Category

out from under overcome

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

back in the day, somebody took a little vacation to japan and brought home a souvenir: a cutting from a vine they thought would take root at home here in the south. they were right: the vine is quite comfortable here in the south, spreading out and making itself right at home. the japanese call it kuzu; we call it kudzu, and though i have no reputable sources to support it and wasn’t even born when kudzu first arrived on the scene (though there are days it sure feels like i was), i often speculate that we added the “d” for dinner . . . as in this is the D*@@&% plant that ate the south for dinner. either that or somebody just can’t spell worth a lick.

now while it’s true that this plant is invasive and aggressive, it also has some often overlooked good qualities. livestock and some people, for example, eat the non-woody parts of it. others make jelly from it, and it can be shaped into the most attractive baskets and wreaths, if you like that kind of thing. it even has some medicinal value, including (but not at all limited to) being a surefire remedy for hangovers and alcohol cravings. i hasten to add that i have no firsthand experience with that, but i don’t break a sweat to imagine that its aggressive, invasive nature has driven more than one person to drink. (another reason for the “d”.) kudzu is also good at stemming erosion, and in the fall, the colorful leaves wash the countryside in brilliant colors.

kudzu can slap overtake the landscape, cloaking trees and shrubs, rendering them almost unrecognizable, and i’m here to tell you that the women on my tree sometimes have a tendency to let others overrun them. but like so many of my ancestors who can’t even spell japan but spent a goodly part of their life dealing with kudzu, my female ancestors are quite adept at turning trespassers into treasures and in playing the hand they are dealt right on into the winner’s circle. it’s just the way we are.



Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

chemical changes. waning chlorophyll production no longer produces enough green to mask and conceal the spectacular, bold, brilliant colors. it’s how we are, the women on my tree. it’s just how we are.


leaves wordy of mention

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

most of the women on our family tree are bookworms. some regularly pour over recipe books; others prefer craft books. some like to linger over decorating books or craft magazines. some could fill libraries with books touted to make them better women. fiction occupies some female relatives; others devour biographies to see how other women lived and coped and thrived. a few even like to conjure words of their own to fill the leaves in blank books.



Thursday, August 14th, 2008

am back at work on alison’s deep dish after (yet another) slow turn out. the women before alison and me have cooked and fed – not just for nourishment, not just in the spirit of caregiving, not just in the sense of obligation or duty but as a gift. a creative, heartfelt gift.


if leaves could talk

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

you know i’ve been having trouble leafing out my tree, so this morning i got up early, whipped out my oh-isn’t-it-the-cutest-thing-why-don’t-i-try-using-it-for-something-other-than-a-fashion-accessory studio journal, and sketched me out some leaves. initially the plan was to do green leaves in different stitches. but when those colored pencils hit my hand, i came up with more biographical leaves. huh.


still working underground

Friday, August 1st, 2008

when nearly finished with roots, i decided i wasn’t happy with them. no matter how hard i tried, i couldn’t talk myself into liking the 3 colors. told myself that there are numerous shades of red clay. offered as how it created textural interest (or might to others, anyway). only got close to dissuading myself (translation: justifying convincingly) that there was no need to rip out all that stitching when i postured that the various shades might represent in-laws – and then only because the stitches were so intricately interwoven. they overlapped each other and wrapped around each other and scooted under each other so, that it was near impossible to disentangle and pluck them all out.




important infrastructure

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

working on roots now. the part of the tree that provides water and nutrients. the part of the tree that anchors it, grounds it. the part of the tree that is mostly beneath the surface. had root system finished last night, but alas: ’twas done all in shades of charcoal. sure, it might be visually accurate when viewing the trees providing a/c for our house, but we’re from georgia . . . so it all had to come ripping out because roots are that important. like jude (jude, do i remember correctly that you once said this or am i putting words – or in this case threads – in your mouth?), i am enjoying the backstitch. so easy to go where i want to go. so easy to curve and curl. so appropriate to go one step back to go forward.


stitching from the slow lane

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

this sign indicates both my past and my future. i’ve been relegated to the turnout lane the past 6 weeks. kitchen-sink weeks, i call them: crammed to the brim, leaving no time for stitching or blogging or anything else particularly creative. this-coming week, however, i look forward to days of slow, leisurely respite as i tuck away with cloth and creative writing . . .

i needed to create a tree, but the pump hasn’t been primed in so very long, i angsted over how to do just that . . . thinking almost to the point of shutdown. recent occurrences out of her control have trimmed my friend acey’s wings, leaving her to enjoy what i consider creativity at its best: limits. acey, of necessity, has worked only with materials within her reach, and with that in mind, i reached out this afternoon, picked up a piece of fabric that didn’t require traveling even so much as across the room, and began cutting what i hoped would eventually resemble tree branches. haven’t appliqued in years and was relieved to find that i don’t detest it nearly as much now as then.


today, a child’s tote. tomorrow, who knows . . .

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

whew. glad to put that last piece to rest. have begun transcribing (transtitching?) my next dinner party piece. when driving a big ole’ rental truck filled with the son’s belongings from california to colorado, one has to improvise when answering the call for cloth.


resourcefulness is, after all, a type of creativity.


and pink fabric is pink fabric, right?


stitch-through complete

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

the piece is finished, writing still surfacing. interesting development, though.