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everyday, whether you leave home or not, you must travel through the woods

February 14, 2010

As a young woman I believed in and dreamed of the day that everything would get ‘set’. A day would come when I would say I have that, I have enough of this, I can see all this will be fine etc. Years went by and even though many of these things came along I felt I still was far from seeing the day that I knew all was, is and would be ‘fine’. Then it started to seep in ( from the dog I am sure) that there is no such day in the way I wanted it. It did not exist at all………….then the journey began  first to accept this huge blow ( I so wanted to have that day…..) to be followed by the the journey to unearth the wisdom to ‘be okay’ without knowing anything at all was ‘okay’ or ever would be. A new view on okay.

I usually try to explore personal ideas though my work so I wrote this title –  “everyday, whether  you leave home or not, you must travel through the woods”. Over the years I have used this title on many different pieces experimenting with different ways to say it.

This particular time I used the little pieced work pocket ( always a favorite talisman for me). The front shows a little house very small in scale to the environment and the woods ( or issues) as often I feel this is my relationship to what I am confronting. This side has a choppier more ridgid construction as opposed to the back where the straight lines are softened and flow into a curvy ‘river’. Fabric includes velvet, silk, linen, wool, cotton and some silk with the ‘crossroads’ motif to mark the ever present choices that are always available.

I made a small sterling silver hollow form with a rose quartz stone set onto the corner which serves as a flashlight for walking in the woods.  The rabbit is a good guide symbol for the  woods as they are so fragile and the prey of so many, but yet have many ways of traveling about in the woods and keeping themselves safe. The rabbit has a needle felted head with the body of felt. So here the woods offer a gift. A friend.

And looking back on my many times through the woods I see that they always did have a gift to offer. Gifts I would of never received. Adventures and wonderful experiences I would have never had.  Very important parts of me would now be missing if I had been given that day where all is ‘set’.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. marianne hall permalink
    February 15, 2010 1:57 pm

    Jane, this reminds me of a saying I heard many years ago…………a woman CAN have everything she wants……..just not all at the same time. I wish I knew who to attribute it to.

    And the bunnies……….they just keep going………..and coming and aren’t they just so sweet in the spring?


  2. Ramona Gault permalink
    February 17, 2010 4:50 pm

    To me, this phrase has such resonance. The metaphor of traveling through the woods makes me feel more like I am creating a story each day, an enticing story full of mystery and promise. Makes me feel sorry for folks who can’t let themselves imagine their lives as part of a greater, nourishing myth. Lovely fabric design too! Thank you, Jane.

  3. Genie Geer permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:32 am

    I can relate to your theme; I guess all little girls and boys – and then adults – who have made a choice to zig when they would have been “set” if only they had zagged, feel lost in the woods at times, and that’s the way I chose to learn in this lifetime apparently. It is only recently I am making peace with the past and reclaiming my creativity and gifts.

    Your pieced work pocket brings back such good memories of the last years of Mom’s life when playing with fabric was her favorite pastime. Already an accomplished painter with oil, watercolor and pastels, she began to create wearable art and pouches and assorted random pieces for the absolute joy of it. I gave her a copy of Janet Bolton’s Patchwork Folk Art. It’s still one of my favorites.

    In the ‘90’s I belonged to a cloth doll art club that contained lots of talented fiber artists; Mom loved going to as many of our shows and get-togethers as she could, until her health failed. Although haunted by recurring bouts of depression in mid-life, (as I have been), she was able to devote the last decade of her life to pursuing bliss by letting her creative muse reign. She would show me her latest experiments; I’d share my latest doll and we’d giggle and whoop for hours; we could hear Dad laughing along with us from the den. Then the house was too quiet for him; he crossed over shortly after Mom.

    I think it’s time to retrieve her favorite wearable art jacket from the drawer and make something else from it that I can see all the time. A cloth doll, maybe. And a collage….whatever: she’d approve. She and Dad would appreciate that I’m doing art again, immersing myself in it, after this past decade of creating next to nothing. Depression is lifted; mourning has come to an end. I guess being “set” is just a state of mind.

  4. Jane Humphrey permalink
    February 26, 2010 3:32 pm


  5. March 4, 2010 11:52 pm

    I love that photo and the quote. Thanks for the stuffing tips above. I had not thought of using scissors. I use a thin ended paintbrush for the first tiny pieces of stuffing then a broken paintbrush in the way you describe the broken pencil. I have my little stuffing kit altogether in my bag of stuffing-it includes a hollow glass tube(not ideal as it can break)for turning tiny arms and legs. Oh such fun!

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