She is a seamstress,
loves to dance,
and play the bongos.
She is a much loved mother.
Haere ra, Miryam.
Miryam is a commission made for a friend's loved sister and sister-in-law.
She is a seamstress,
loves to dance,
and play the bongos.
She is a much loved mother.
Haere ra, Miryam.
EXCERPT FROM LITTLE GIDDING
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
-- T.S.Eliot from Four Quartets
By now, I had run out of reasonably sized pieces of sheeting.
So I gathered together several bits and strips, and
sewed them together to create fabric large enough to lay out the pattern pieces -
"And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well"
After stitching, I decided not to turn the body.
Instead I washed it vigorously to encourage soft frayed edges,
like a care-worn traveller.
I kept these seams exposed -
a raggedy, bitsy assemblage.
I sewed on a spare hand over the abdomen with a running stitch,
and then created a spiral over this with a red running stitch -
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started"
I COME HOME WANTING TO TOUCH EVERYONE
by STEPHEN DUNN
I love to touch and to feel
I love to touch my breakfast mug
and feel the warmth of the liquid enliven my spirit.
I love to touch my freshly laundered pillowslip
and feel the night invite me to sleep.
I love to touch the wooden floorboards with my toes
and feel them support me in my home.
I love to touch a fallen rose petal
and feel its silken softness caress my soul.
I love to touch the title page of a new book
and feel the anticipation build up.
I love to touch the worn heirloom pounamu (greenstone)
and feel the love of my mother embrace me.
I love to touch a fine cotton thread
and feel it slide between my fingers on its way to stitch.
I love to touch the sand at Maketu Beach
and feel it drag at my feet as the tide rushes out.
I love to touch the spring pegs in my peg bag
and feel the tension come and go as I hang out the washing.
I love to touch a dandelion seed head
and feel a part of its dispersal.
I love to touch the soft face of a kuia (old woman)
and feel the wisdom of a life lived well.
I love to touch my daughter's head
and feel her eyelashes give me a 'butterfly kiss' on my cheek.
I love to touch and to feel.
The short torso again
and I mitered the base so that it would sit flat.
I drew a small hand,
cut out several
and stitched them onto the body with a white running stitch.
There was no need for arms -
the hands are sufficient.
There is a torn heart and torn hair once again.
THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE
by WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
It is as if Yeats put a probe into the core of my heart
and wrote these words for what he found there:
a heartfelt desire to "live alone" and "have some peace there".
I cried and cried and cried.
In my deep heart's core,
I know I have been heard.
Just a glimpse into the
deep core of my heart.
A red running stitch outlines my heart.
Discarded red threads burst from
the heart's deep core.
Will it slam shut the heart's door
or will it open further
and allow the heart to heal?
SHOVELING SNOW WITH BUDDHA
by BILLY COLLINS
My kind of friend
The Buddha shovels the snow with perfect attention -
and teaches me eloquently about my life's journey.
He demonstrates that the process is the destination -
that with patience and serenity and perseverance
I will overcome any obstacles in my path,
I will reveal what lies within.
He shows me that I must use the right tools -
a 'thin blade' for shoveling snow,
a wise counselor to give comfort in my emotional winter.
He gently encourages me to fully immerse myself in the present -
to get out into world, no matter how unwelcoming,
to participate even when 'the season is wrong'.
He gives me permission to reward myself -
with 'cards' and 'hot chocolate' after shoveling snow,
with thoughts of spring and sun and cherry blossoms,
poetry and art to soothe the grey spirit.
He says that silence is okay -
that within the cacophony there are 'pockets of silence'
which renew and refresh and invigorate.
He reminds me that it is alright to be different -
"me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence',
that it is our difference which fulfills and completes us,
enables and empowers us to become who we are called to be.
I might shovel snow with Buddha again -
he is my kind of friend.
I used my original template
and kept it very plain except for the heart with blue stitching.
This torso is inserted into a BIG blue smile
as wide as wide can be:-)
by GERALD STERN
Ecstatic moments and experiences
are rare occurrences.
They are not necessarily extra-ordinary -
simply memorable, relevant, personal.
But they can be pivotal in our lives.
When poverty or abuse or violence or depression
subvert or overwhelm us,
memories of the ecstatic moments lift us up,
hold us, companion us, give us hope.
When you have nothing but people
and memory of traditions, culture, story and shared experiences,
then we use those to transform
the ordinary into the extra-ordinary.
when you rock and roll and whirl in a frenzy
and become one with the movement
and with all those who have danced before
and will never dance again.
when tears roll down your cheeks
and your belly hurts
and you can't speak without bursting into laughter again.
And none of it makes sense to any one else.
But it transforms and transports us
in time and space and soul.
I made two dolls -
one with a long body and short legs/feet,
and one with a short body and long legs!
They both have wild pink hair
and a heart stitched with pink thread.
They are joined -
united in their dancing and their laughter!
THINGS TO THINK
by ROBERT BLY
For the past 25 days,
I have been invited to be attentive, mindful, aware;
to bless the ordinary events and people and places of my life;
to grow in appreciation and gratitude.
This was balm for a caged heart.
Now, I am being exhorted to be open to possibility,
which has got me out of sorts.
Robert Bly in 'Things I Think'
demands that I engage with the world,
asks me to shatter glass perceptions,
encourages me to unveil the potential in myself,
suggests that I entertain the notion that nothing is ordinary,
and invites me to hold my burdens and expectations lightly.
But perhaps this is the red thread:
the one that connects through time and place.
The possibility of changing the world through blessing.
The possibility of changing my world through imagination.
The possibility of honouring the human being, not the human doing.
The possibility of creating a heart room, not a war room.
For 25 days I have been tended and nurtured and equipped.
I am grateful.
It has prepared me to walk hand-in-hand with possibility
as an intimate soul-companion.
I took the longest torso
and sewed it without legs.
I added a disconnected,
group of pieces.
They seem unrelated to each other,
but I don't think they are.
Sometimes the parts are greater than the whole,
and sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
by ELLEN BASS
A night gardener
I used to resent the night:
the struggle and strain to get to sleep,
the struggle and strain to stay asleep
so I could struggle and strain through another day.
I would turn over and over like a rotisserie hen,
bemoan the slightest noise
or crinkle in the sheet.
But now I am a night gardener.
I tend the night nursery.
Blessing seeds are fertilised and mulched.
Thoughts and worries sink into the rich dark beds of the subconscious.
Spindly and unhealthy growth is pruned and culled.
I keep a written record of the labours and fruits of my nightly cultivation
before they flee into my forgettery.
I let the dog out to chase the neighbourhood cats,
gaze at the night sky,
listen for the haunting call of the morepork,
feel the night air fill my lungs and chill my toes,
take a sip of spring water,
and snuggle beneath the sheet
ready to be transformed once more in my night garden.
I am a night gardener
and the fruit of this nightly toil
is the paradox of
a restful, creative, blessing-filled day.
by STANLEY KUNITZ
The layers of my life
build upon each other:
some are thin - short-lived;
some are over-shadowed;
some are messy, complicated.
Always I was loved
but did I love myself?
Do I love myself?
The third age approaches -
What will be revealed?
What will I reveal?
How will I be transformed?
Parker J Palmer wrote of the layers,
"Yes, all of this is me,
and all of this has helped make me who I am."
I will honour all that has helped make me who I am.
I used the elongated figure with feet and thin arms.
I assembled the doll
and then randomly stitched on the layers
using a selection of fabrics, trims and threads.
Parts of the layers have been over-shadowed with black tulle.
I think they represent very traumatic times in my life.
I called this figure Lizzie's Pou
as it represents my life story thus far.
(a pou refers to the carved poles relating the ancestor's stories
found in Te Arawa wharenui (meeting houses).
THE ART OF BLESSING THE DAY
by MARGE PIERCY
The most powerful tool.
I found the word "curse" was incongruous in this invitation to "bless whatever you can".
The word 'curse' brings to my mind
venom and vitriol; violence and vendetta; hatred and hurt.
If I "pick up a tool",
I want it to be an attentive heart, a grateful heart,
a humble heart, a courageous heart,
a listening ear, a clear mind,
that quells the indignation and wrath;
the fear and frustration,
and allows me to witness to LOVE.
When I am "ready to make it new",
I hope to be armed with a generosity of spirit;
forbearance and perseverance;
and a desire to engage in mutual charity.
The art of blessing is creative, not accursed.
It is nurturing and enabling and miraculous.
"Bless whatever you can"
including that we want to change.
For me, that is the most powerful tool.
Just the short torso this time.
I sewed across the bottom corners to make a flat surface
so that the doll could stand.
I cut out a heart and used a running stitch to attach it.
This figure is surrounded with blessings -
those she has received and those she gives.
Every moment of every day
our lives are enriched with blessings!
I am Liz Pearce. Making dolls allows my soul to sing and my spirit to soar. The dolls are companions for my journey.