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.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"I'm my cat's dishtowel"

I am digging in to each of the 8 Journals - reading each one - selecting favorite passages to copy on to Kozo paper for spinning as well as transcribing these passages to my lap top for future reference.

Here are some beautiful words from journal #III.

"I feel no moment slows down enough to become well-loved. My things grow well-used without my noticing them. Is that a form of love? Trusting a thing to be there for you without acknowledging or thanks? That trust, that faith, is a way to love?”“Maybe it’s a way we allow children or pets to love us. I’m sure that’s how my cat feel about me. She loves me by allowing me to work thanklessly for her. I’m my cat’s dishtowel.”

Honestly - if I had the time and energy -- I'd copy every word and illustration in each journal. I feel so honored to be able to step inside your head and hearts as I sit with your responses to the prompts. 

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