Handcrafts, and textiles especially,
can be a powerful and evocative tool
to increase awareness and provoke action
to effect change in the lives of human beings.
Each human life is so precious
and we are blessed if we are graced with good health and well-being.
Not every one is so lucky.
such as this incredible work of art by Caren Garfen,
draw us in with its apparent innocence
and shocks us into deep reflection with its hard-hitting
realism and message.
I am in awe.
Read more about her work
I was empowered by this talk from Sarah Corbett.
Empowered because she honoured the gifts of the introvert.
Empowered because she named some of these gifts:
intriguing people and drawing them in;
Empowered because she valued my contribution to life.
Empowered because she encourages the subtle activist as much as the front-line protestor.
Many of the textile figures and art I create
are an invitation to both myself and others
to bring about change
one person at a time.
One of the big influences on my textile art journey
has been Malcolm Harrison.
The breadth and depth of his work exhilarates and inspires me.
I was privileged to have a viewing of Malcolm Harrison's "The Family"
at the Dowse Gallery in Wellington.
It was a breath taking, awe-inspiring time.
In this clip, the commentator says
"...textiles have got to say something that can't be said in paint"
I can't agree more.
Certainly this would apply to my doll making and soft sculpture.
And yet, he looks to the painters, such as Henri Rousseau, to inspire his work.
I am in awe.
This article and the amazingly wonderful cautionary tale raised so many questions for me.
How do I give myself permission to move in a different direction, to move from the expected?
Do I have a responsibility to use my art for the common good? To champion justice?
How dependent are artists on the funding of governments and corporates?
Does this influence what and how we create?
How do I balance the need to pay bills with the need to speak out?
How do I give the voiceless a means to be heard?
by Marie Howe (after Stephen Hawking)
Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?
so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money --
nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.
For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if
the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were
— when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not
at all — nothing
before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.
Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?
No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is
All everything home
The placebo ratchet
A placebo that works becomes more powerful.
Which makes it more likely to work next time.
It's that simple,
but it's magic.
Placebos work for two reasons:
The confidence they create makes it more likely our body will respond,
our work will improve,
that something will go better.
Things might get better on their own,
but if the placebo was around when it happened,
it gets the credit.
we end up with medicines or horoscopes or mantras or methods or devices that help us.
Without a lot of expense,
without side effects,
without a hassle.
The positive ratchet of reinforcement can help us
from Seth Godin
Canadian resident Wendy Golden found HAND/EYE in print and online this fall.
She wrote a beautiful email complimenting us on our good work,
and described very briefly her work as a child therapist,
where she uses textiles much as others might use toys in a play therapy context –
although her intuitive and sensitive approach resists simple categories.
We asked her to share her work with us,
inspired by the notion that the infinite variation possible in textiles,
infused with culture and history and myth and hope and utility and experience,
might remind all of us of the connections we share.
We hope that you will find the notion of healing through textiles as poetic as we do.
Here is Wendy in her own words:
Healing often begins when a child surrenders his pain to a chosen textile.
Lonely and depressed children rarely exist in native cultures
where traditions depend on the cycles of the moon, the sun, and the changing seasons.
Right from the start,
newborn babies are welcomed and receive
the gift of a story printed on cloth, a song, or even a meaningful dance.
For these societies,
each year of a baby's life is considered precious,
and the use of cloth takes on a vital role in the well-being of the child and in numerous rituals.
These children are fortunate to receive mirroring
when their mothers smile and pass on gentle gestures.
It is in these cultures the shaman's drum and rattle
bound by cloth and sewn with thread is seen as a source of healing.
Cultures that lack sufficient food or water, housing or dignity
often reach for safety in their stitched cloth,
and it's here where my own heart rests.
I combine Jungian-oriented psychology,
healing modalities that contain ancient wisdom,
to help children heal.
My feelings over the years with regard to the subject of healing have softened and widened.
For me the subject now includes sound psychological and physiological tenets
and respect for the ineffable.
When a child is experiencing the healing process,
he carries with him a numinosity
--a calling towards wholeness that easily connects him to the story within a cloth.
Over time the child becomes united with the material he is working with,
he eventually overcomes his difficulties;
he discovers a new life and new ways of relating to situations and people.
The goal of my work is a familiar one
-- in the context of therapy.
The textiles I use in my practice are personally selected,
they come from all parts of the world, and they are handmade.
They are not chosen for their superiority in weave, texture, or softness,
but for their potential to assist a child to surrender his pain.
During the quiet and sometimes the active moments of healing,
the child has the opportunity to meet the fabric's artist
and recognize the sincerity of the textile's characteristics
--its intricate stitches, patchwork, applique, or quilting.
These are all seen and sometimes unseen;
they're equal to the beat of a Siberian shaman's drum
or the strength an aboriginal child may draw
from his grandmother's mark on stone half way around the world.
What we see is that the child is moved by each textile whether it's used in play or dancing,
or when the fabric is closely held.
It's in these moments that healing occurs through touch.
By encouraging children to play with fabric,
we add the unspeakable feeling of wabi sabi
to the most complicated notions of science and mathematics
--two opposites, and different sides of the same energy.
Play therapy allows for the unseen,
the unknown corners of a child's life to be expressed.
Everything has meaning and the child engaged in play knows this because she feels it.
Upon touching a textile,
moving with it,
telling stories with it,
there is a chance for the very thing that will make her both unique and ordinary.
Many of the children participate in healing moments much like ancient and indigenous cultures.
Playing with textiles is often the first step for these children
to have felt the experience of an inner life
--one that has stronger roots than any dismissive remark or gesture from the outside world.
Play therapy and textiles come from the same good mud
and the same bright moon that each child knows from whatever part of the world they live
--reliable, quietly reassuring and holding the wisdom of transformation.
Most often with the textiles we use,
the moment of finding the stillpoint or the stitch
that transcends the textile artist's inner wrestling is evident.
The child's choice of textile and how she works with it is important.
The relationship can occur in seconds,
and it is often within that same moment of choice that change arrives
--the instance the child feels a holy "yes" from the good cloth in front of him,
and then the next part of play begins when the child moves into a play-like waking dream.
He plays with the cloth,
moves it along his body,
plays with it in a dry sand tray, and so forth.
It is through these actions that each child makes contact with feelings of worthiness
simply from the feeling he gets from playing with this piece of cloth.
According to the children I've treated,
no matter what part of the world they are from,
they say the textiles tell them stories,
that they offer new ways of seeing the world,
and provide a sense of safety.
a blind child smells a lavender-infused pillow and feels the stitches with her fingers.
She is excited because a little piece of cloth called a "what if"
gives her the feeling of color and what a star might look or feel like.
Children rolling cloth or putting their fingers through holes
open up the rigid walls of cracking perfection,
and discover the beauty of wholeness.
Each stitch is described as a bridge to hop from one state of being to the other,
leaps of trust and soft landings on the next direction of the thread.
Some children speak or move for the first time in their lives from trusting the integrity of the cloth. We've seen fear or pain dissolve as the child rolls and sways inside of an Inuit sewn wall hanging
or when fabric is draped over parts of the body that ache.
What we often see is that these kids are tired of working hard to be loved.
With cloth that's transparent or indigo dyed ribbons that swing and sway,
they are offered the chance to see how many names beauty holds,
including their own.
Rigid and patriarchal ideals bend and break
as they learn the difference between power and love.
Children do not need a lot of words.
Use too many and they drop on the floor,
It is the action of the cloth,
the vibration of nature,
and the joy of the artist
that solidifies trust on a core level of the child.
It's the roots of the cloth that matter.
The way the artist chooses to fold corners,
turn the thread,
add a color,
all make a difference to the child who is suffering.
Their work in therapy is to create consciousness from this suffering,
and to help create a meaningful life.
Children always ask me, "Who made this"?
They are given the first name of the artist,
and most often,
at the end of a session after time spent in the colors and corners of their own unconscious,
they speak quietly and with some peace;
they speak of understanding something about themselves
and the maker of the textile they worked with that day.
Children who work with the textiles become inspired.
They become connected to themselves and whatever is the larger mystery of this life
--of their life.
They develop a profound sense of belonging.
They learn respect for the art and its maker through tender experience and humble new insights. They grow to understand the value of textiles and how intricately they play a part in our culture. They all move on into a more well-lived life
and take with them the value and purpose of textiles.
The children arriving at the studio who are blessed with tender hearts and open minds,
leave with the sounding of their own callings and the echo of the elders who made their cloth.
It seems, in my experience,
the artists and the child walk a similar path.
There is a natural longing to be at one with the process of creating
and allowing the signs and symbols of the unconscious to surface as an inner guide.
The questions remain,
and the answers come through as faith in what is not heard and what is waited for.
This is the new standpoint of the child and the solid footing of the cloth.
I keep my own knees bent and head bowed in gratitude.
There is a knock at the door,
and another child stands at the threshold.
I bend down and sweep before their feet with my small broom.
They automatically take off their shoes,
look up at me and are handed a cloth.
I step out of the way.
found on Textile Therapy
I am a doll-maker; a doll interpreter; a doll activist, perhaps, using this medium to reflect on the human condition.