Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Lockdown is Back

I have finally been working in my work room with some regularity. I must admit having a Phillipina friend come to stay was the final impetus to get it sorted and to claim it as my work space. My friend was able to get a visa to stay in Australia longer than the normal three months as she arrived prior to declaration of the pandemic and has a son and family who live in Australia. Going back to the Phillipines is not safe nor is it safe for her to go to her sister and cousins in the USA.

I have had a number of requests as to whether I was running my On-Line Traveller's Blanket class again and have decided that I will.The stitching is a very soothing exercise in these troubled times and I have seen some wonderful results from the  two earlier classes I have run this year. I doubt I will be doing any in the flesh teaching this year simply due to the Covid virus. The class will start 8 August 2020.

The traveller's blanket class incorporates the idea of place and memory- using your stitching as a kind of writing and recording of those things. It is a way of incorporating  special fabric scraps- of creating new ones. I use  soft light weight fabrics and often use cotton flannel as my batting as it gives lovely soft drape and feels lovely in the hand. My favourite fabric to use is khadi- which I get from India- but a lightweight linen would also work well or  wool. I use perle 8 weight threads as I like the line they create and allow me to add extra colour. If you are interested in more information or joining the class email me. I will also add a Paypal button at the bottom of this page. the cost of the class is $75 AUS.

I am back working on my One World blanket. it has stalled for about four weeks whilst I worked on the Book Without Words- but I hate leaving  things unfinished. I felt I had made it too big-  but then well it was meant to make a statement of sorts so I decided 87 circles was just the number it should be and that I will finish it by hook or crook- I am presently embroidering  circle number 57 so only 30 to go!

It has been a worrying two weeks with Covid 19 cases on the rise in Victoria , but particularly in Melbourne through what seems to have been the careless activities of a couple of people. The number of cases in ICU has quadrupled- so to all the naysayers and conspiracy theorists- this is serious , and it will continue to be the state of play unless everyone complies with lockdown procedures. I am in country Victoria where we are not locked down, but in all reality I think we should be. The health guide lines are simple- only go out for necessities, don't go to gatherings, wash your hands, socially distance and wear masks if out and about. I am finding the press wearying as well- this isn't about political point scoring or one upmanship- it's about public health and safety- sensationalising any of this, and any of the stories undermines the very real steps  that so much of  the front line care givers, nurses, doctors, care assistants, police  have to face every single day. Imagine going home or not being able to go home because you have been exposed to this nasty virus.

Paypal Button to pay for the class. The class will start 8 August- 55th anniversayr of my families  arrival in Australia. The cost of the class is $75 AUS.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Book Without Words (or Book of Many Many Hours)

It looks like the state in which I live  is going back into lock down. We had been doing very well, but some foolish, selfish people who for some reason think they know better, have ensured that  lockdown will happen once again. I must admit  I feel overwhelmed by the negativity projected onto the authorities/government who are dealing with a situation  with which they have never dealt before, when indeed until a few weeks ago we were doing well because most people towed the line. I am sick of the keyboard warriors who trawl and criticise, I am sick of the conspiracy theorists. How did we get so negative??? This is a deadly virus which has the ability to decimate populations. So we have to wait, and be careful, and do as the health authorities advise- what exactly is so bad about that? We are accountable in this situation- in days gone by to flaunt the advise would have been considered negligent, the consequences are foreseeable. I was reminded the other night whilst watching Paradise Road, a movie about women prisoners of war on Sumatra how bad things can be. The women were there because the ship on which they were sailing to England  after abandoning Singapore, was bombed ( the ship was full of women and children). The conditions were harsh , hard and demoralising, that any survived is a wonder,  but they did.  All we have to do is stay at home where we have food, running water, toilets and showers, digital media of all kinds, even things to keep us occupied- I know some people are struggling because of lost jobs and that is indeed hard, but compared to what went on in the earlier part of the twentieth century we have much to be grateful for. We need to be kind, think of our fellow human beings, protect our fellow human beings, wash our hands,  get tested if  you have any symptons , wear masks,  find a way forward that embraces all humanity in an inclusive empowering way. We need to be generous and helpful to those who have less or those who  are in straitened circumstances because of these times and we need to take responsibility and accountability for this ourselves.

In fact I have found myself mostly without words , processing what is going on- the willingness to endanger other people, the racism boggles my mind. So I have been making a Book Without Words, a documentation of how I feel. I am much inspired also by illuminated texts ( or books of hours) for the prayers, observations and lessons that were drawn and written in them- each one a call for reflection or meditation of some kind. These are my thoughts and emotions stitched onto paper on a daily basis for at least the last month- I am up to page 32  and I think it will keep going for some time yet, maybe until I run out of paper. I have mostly been using Auriful woollen thread, which adds a rather pleasing hairiness to the stitching/words- I like the idea of hairy words/writing. I like that I can change thread colour and add margins and can change  page colour.

I like that the pages are double sided. The back stand in its own right- and it feels different. On the right side the stitching sits more on top so it is more tactile, on the back it seems more intrinsic to the paper. It might yet become the Book in the Time of Covid.