clay and cloth

when i found my second born in shards, i didn’t see a broken creation but pieces that will be reborn into something larger, bigger, more magnificent.


where does this longing to combine cloth and clay come from? is it the joining of polarities, hard with soft? is it the long, long history of both cloth and clay as cultural bread crumbs? is it the way fire transforms malleable clay into something able to stand on its own, all the while retaining the imprints of previous encounters with hands and objects? the way flexible, pliant cloth develops more body, more sinew when embellished and manipulated and when going through fire, is totally and absolutely transformed into an entirely different way of being?

is it the resourcefulness people long before me have shown when gathering clay and cloth and shaping it into something functional, useful, and necessary? do cloth and clay represent the resiliency i’ve seen in so many people i’ve known along the way who start out to make something beautiful with their life, then when things go awry for reasons out of their immediate control, they gather up the pieces and mend, patch, and piece together to make something perhaps even more beautiful?

is it my affinity for place – more specifically, the south – where my life has known, both firsthand and through retelling, red clay and cotton fields? is it even closer – does it have to do with some of my daddy’s family being well known potters and my mother’s mother and so many women before her were avid quilters?




whatever it is – whether one specific thing or an amalgam of many, one thing is for sure: clay and cotton are my tara.


8 Responses to clay and cloth

  1. Acey says:

    This is such a beautiful post – especially the part about gathering and mending for re-creative purposes. Love the vitality of the scrap quilts and what a great link, as well! Plus in catching up on your blog I see we also have rescued kitties in common. An important commonality, indeed!

  2. jeanne says:

    acey ~ so glad you feel like getting out today. always good to hear from you. keep taking care of your special self.

  3. jude says:

    funny i think of cloth as clay….

  4. Steph says:

    Stopped by to check development of your autoquiltography – and found something else interesting developing here. Well done.

    Recently saw article on Jean Schulman’s cloth and clay:

    Thought you may find it interesting too.

  5. jeanne says:

    steph ~ thank you SO much for that link. it’s fascinating. jean schulman, the article says, is from florence, alabama which is not so far from here. but past that, she dyes with clay. gonna’ read more about her and that batiking with clay. and she’s absolutely right: red clay does NOT come out;)

  6. Tonya R says:

    Those scrap quilts are amazing. I am totally and completely in love with that Churn Dash with the black and white fabric.

  7. jeanne, herself says:

    aren’t they gorgeous? i’m afraid that some if not most of her children took these for granted as just something grandmother did to stay busy.

  8. […] my grandmother’s quilts has been a long-time pet project of mine, a WISP. we took these pictures in my backyard with owners […]

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