THE BACK STORY: In January 2016 I launched "Well Used, Well Loved" (WUWL)a long term community art project that explores age, beauty, impermanence and attachment through a hand woven dish towel and reflective writing/drawing. Eight households from England to Oregon "adopted" a hand woven linen towel to use however they wish. Every other week I sent a prompt for reflection to be recorded in a small journal that I provided. The response to my initial call to participate in WUWL was overwhelming. Over 50 households expressed interest in taking part in the project and I only had 8 towels.

So I created a secondary project that dovetailed with the first one. This second group of ultimately 38 households (Maine to Arizona) wrote and drew on kozo paper (a special Japanese paper) to record their response to my prompts. Thru a hands-on workshop at my studio I taught local folks from this group how to spin their kozo paper into thread using a Japanese technique called Shifu. I created a video tutorial for those who wanted to learn to spin their paper from afar.

Prompts to both groups were the same. For example Prompt #6 was: "The materials for this project are hand woven linen and Kozo paper. Both are created from plant fibers, known for their absorption qualities. Absorption can also been seen as dissolving boundaries. In that light what parallels or connection do you observe between your own ability to absorb, to soak up, to empathize? What connections do you perceive between your linen/paper and the action of union, of dissolving boundaries, connection? What value do these actions have today.

In September 2017 I began to collect the 8 towels, the kozo papers and the journals to wrap up the project. The journals, the used/loved towels and the completed four panel piece woven from the community threads combine to create an installation that honors and reflect the spirit of this project.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Beginning from this end

handspun kozo paper from the mountains of CO
 "What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from"
       T.S. Eliot from The Four Quartets

And here we are - the end of the first phase of "Well Used, Well Loved" our community art project where we have explored age, beauty, loss and love. It is, however, just the beginning of unraveling, examining and reflection on what transpired over the past nine months.

Towels, journals and papers return to the studio
Our well used and loved towels are arriving back here in the studio.
Our creatively expressed papers have come back as well. Some kozo papers arrived in spun paper form and others await my hands to turn them into thread.

My own summer was rather eventful - as you might note from my last blog posting. Add to the loss of my own well loved Mother - the addition of a new daughter-in-law in a big family wedding in our back yard.

Kozo spinning lesson
I am blessed to live a creative and busy life - filled with loving family. And now it is time to pour this love back into "Well Used, Well Loved."
Beginnings and celebrations