Monday, February 7, 2011

PEACE: a dream & an aspiration

I have always been a multimedia artist...always!
I have always worked in series, in themes, working toward meaning.

Materials and process excite me. I love to manipulate and build things. I love to enter the deep history of a material and feel myself as part of a larger story of making that goes back for millennia.

I worked for many years in clay, inserting myself into the twentieth century segment of the history of clay that began around the fires of hunter gatherers. I understood, in my fingers, the importance of the discovery of fired clay and how it helped to preserve food stuffs in an ever changing environment.

I then worked many years in handmade paper and books...inserting my work into the continuum of the dissemination of knowledge that exploded with the invention of movable type! Oh my! How that changed the world!

And then, sheep happened!
No, I do not own sheep. I live in the middle of a big city and I don't really relish the idea of husbandry ( sheep, crap, you know?) But, when I learned to spin, I became part of an innovative history that allowed us to clothe ourselves more efficiently.

Wool, cotton, silk...they all fascinate me. ( I haven't tried linen yet, but it is coming!) How on earth did someone discover that if you twisted some fibers together, they would lock and hold their form. And then if you knotted them, interlaced them, agitated them they would hold together in a sheet that you could wrap around yourself...How on earth did humanity DO this, over and over again, in all areas of the world? Wow.

And then there was Mahatma Gandhi, using the spinning of cotton to overthrow colonialism in India. Peaceful resistance. Hmm. The power of a simple thread.

PEACE! It is a dream and and aspiration. What if we really could achieve world peace? Grandiose, incredibly unlikely. But, I have noticed that when I spin, personal peace descends. Spinning fibers makes my shoulders settle down, the frowns leave my forehead, and I forget the minutia that were driving me crazy a few moments before.

So, in Sue's utopia, perhaps we would all spin as a way to connect to our deep shared human history and as a way to find, even for a moment, personal peace.

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