Tag: dorothy caldwell

The Same . . . But Different

Kantha3

Kantha1

(Above photos of kantha stitching by Dorothy Caldwell herself, used here with permission)

Dorothy told us about the women of Bihar, India and how they were under cultural house arrest until one day they decided to go outside and talk to each other about their stitching. The men were nervous – very nervous – until they began to hear the whispers of ka-ching, ka-ching. Once the women huddled-up, they set about changing their lives, their families’ lives, their future’s lives.

For example, knowing that the dwindling profits from fishing were dwindling, they came up with a solution and every day for three months, the women entered the river and pulled the overgrown plants by hand, allowing the fish room to grow and multiply. They tell this story and many, many other stories in stitch using the basic running stitch – in and out, up and down. The kantha stitch they call it, and they use it brilliantly to record their history artfully.

After hearing about these women and seeing examples of their glorious quilts, I set about using the kantha stitch for one of Nancy’s drawings from In Our Own Language 3. I usually use, well, I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s a basic stitch that I use to trace each drawing, to recreate Nancy’s drawing as a line drawing in stitch. I found using the kantha stitch with colored thread a playful way to stitch Nancy’s drawings, and I ‘spect you’ll see more of the colorful kantha pieces in the future.

Dcaldwellkantha1

Iool3b

Ioolkantha1

Presented here, separately then side by side, are two stitched versions of the same drawing. Same drawing, different looks. The plant? It’s a moon flower, a little something my husband surprised me with from this morning’s pre-workshop romp through the New Albany Farmer’s Market.

Before we thread our needles this morning, Dorothy invited me to talk about Nancy and how she draws and I stitch. I showed them In Our Own Language 3 which is not even half finished yet, and let me tell you: the open, loving reception and the ensuing stories they sprinkled on me throughout the day will warm my heart for a long, long time.

The women of Louisville Area Fabric and Textile Artists (LAFTA), who made this workshop happen, are some of the most hospitable, engaging, talented, interesting, supportive women I’ve happened upon in a long, long time. Mega, uber thanks to Kathy Loomis, Dorothy Caldwell, MJ Kinman (who will soon have a blog for me to direct you to), Rosemary Claus-Gray, Joanne Weis, Linda Henke, Linda Fuchs, Sue Yung, Marti Plager, Linda Theede, and Debby Levine for making this such a marvelous, magical time. And, as I told Dorothy as I hugged her ‘bye, I’m not much of one for sheri worship, but if I was, she’d be The One.

look closely and you just might catch a glyphs of it

Judaculla1

Judaculla Rock, a boulder covered with petroglyphs is not far from where we live.

Judacullafield

We had trouble finding it . . . probably because it is right out in the middle of a field. Hidden in plain view.

Judaculla2

Archaeologists estimate that most of these glyphs are between 300 and 1500 years old. It is thought that this petroglyph is on the site of a council house mound and served as a boundary marker for Cherokee hunting grounds which were closely guarded by the legendary giant and master of animals, Judaculla.

Iool3a

(In Our Own Language 3.79)

Iool2b

(In Our Own Language 2.2)

Iool3d

(In Our Own Language 3.102)

Iool3

(In Our Own Language 2.2)

Iool3e

(In Our Own Language 3.56)

As we walked around the rock, I was taken with the similarity between these drawings and Nancy’s drawings, finding both evocative and an invitation to introspection and wonder.

I am tickled beyond description to be participating in a two-day workshop with Dorothy Caldwell exploring human marks and expressive stitching. I’ve long admired her work and though our work varies in its theme, focus, and purpose, I am hoping to conjure ideas (as in be inspired) for faster and creatively intriguing ways to present Nancy’s work. In her talk tonight, Dorothy showed photos of petroglyphs she saw while working in the Outback of Australia, many bearing a striking resemblance to those on the Judaculla Rock.

Iool3f

(In Our Own Language 3.260)

Most petroglyphs tells the story of the people who lived there; some offer directions, warnings, or blessings. often wonder what Nancy is saying with her drawings, with her marks. My theory is that she’s expressing her emotional response to what’s happening around her.

In Our Own Language, indeed.

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