Monday, January 3, 2011

darkness and light

you can't have a light 
without a dark to stick it in. 
- arlo guthrie

all this whispering about fog and shadows had me thinking about the dark. darkness.  which led my thoughts toward light.  even at night there are few shadows right now, with the countryside blanketed in blaring white snow.  even the cloths i am stitching are centered around snow and light in the night. moons radiant.   

light can be gentle. harsh. dreamlike. misty. dangerous. dark. sensual. poisonous. soft. bare. hot. violet. cold. calm. radiating.  penetrating. concealing. all of this and more. so can dark. and yet, without the other, none can exist.  it can even be said that the quality of their opposite influences the nature of the other. not unlike the way the fabrics influence each other in our cloths. i gaze at the fabrics i've been weaving and stitching into cloths for jude hill's c2c workshop and they no longer resemble the garments they once were.  they have transformed into something altogether different and been influenced greatly by the fabrics they've been intertwined with.  even the simple blues that make up the sky in the small cloth i've now named sky flower have been transmuted:

as you can see, i've done quite a bit of stitching on sky flower since yesterday.  added a tangled gossamer moon, filled with random stitches, finished stitching the tree (for the moment), added some stitches in the snow, as well as a forgotten blue flower which looks as if it has fallen from the sky... or perhaps disremembered by a jilted lover. there is still much to do before the small cloth is fully realized, but it may need to rest and reflect for a short space.  the larger, woven cloth from the c2c workshop has been whispering stories into my ears as i lay in the dark, sleeping.

on that thought, cat is meowing for attention, so i shall leave you with this one:

there are two ways of spreading light;
to be  the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
- edith wharton


  1. I awoke in the early hours this morning...from my verandah I couldnt see a light, except that of the moon. How lovely to live in the country.

    Beautiful post on the darkness and light.

    Your cloth is lovely. The starkness of the snow and the naked tree...beautiful. I love the cloth behind it. Is that one of your quilts?

    Jacky xox

  2. yes, jacky. i love living in the country for that reason, and others. i can see more stars. i can hear more nature. i can smell more realities.

    the cloth behind sky flower is a little quilt of rectangles i made long ago from a stack of vintage rectangles rescued from a thrift shop. it's too large to be a place mat. too small to be a lap cloth. so, for now, it resides on my desk and attempts to claim space for my computer. mostly, cat claims it as a nice place to sleep with computer as pillow.


  3. you have really absorbed the feel of this technique in a short time. i like to see that happen.

  4. This is a lovely post Joe. I love the progress on your cloth, especially the moon. What did you use for that??? It makes the moon look misty. Thanks for the beautiful words of dark and light to wake up to this morning.

    ;~) Debi

  5. wow... your cloths your words are so beautiful. i have missed many posts. i've skimmed over them, but i have to go back and read later on today.

    i love those woven cloths you did several posts ago.
    and the previous(?) post the conversation of the song by starhawk. and the advice, monday will take care of it's self. yes!
    and then today talk of the shadows. i've been holding on to a quote from the anime movie metropolis
    'you can't have light without shadows'
    and a movie of temple grandin where she solves a problem by observing animals reacting to 'light and shadow'.

    all woven together.
    and Happy New Year Joe! it looks like you had a wonderful Christmas too!
    much love!

  6. jude, as william shakespeare once said: "i can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks."

  7. debi, the moon is a piece cut from a sheer silk handkerchief found in a thrift shop. it had little blue flowers hand embroidered on its corners (hence the blue flower in the lower corner of the cloth). after cutting the flower from one corner, i cut a circle from the plain portion and then began distressing it with my thumb and a serrated tracing wheel until the edge was rough and a chunk was missing. then i began pulling threads here and there from it with a pair of tweezers to make it even more light and airy and stitched it down with random straight or "seed" stitches.

    it was great fun to play with...


  8. twhlch eye, jean baptiste massieu told us that gratitude is the memory of the heart, and my heart is filled to overflowing!

    happy new year and joyous moments throughout!


  9. That's the way it goes for all of us "stitchers": at a certain time the cloths start to whisper to you ... like it not ... ready or not ...
    They can get quite persuasive ....and we obey!

  10. els, ha! so true! and what thunderous whisperers some of them can be!

  11. the opposites of light and dark are a stark contrast, its the multitude of the shades in between that capture my admiration. your cloth sky is incredible joe and makes a wonderful backdrop to the moon and snow.


  12. thank you, t. but, of course, there can be no pure dark or pure light because purity of one would be the absence of the other. so, in truth, all are those in betweens you love so much. lucky you!!


  13. The story is unfolding ...I agree a rest is often needed to give us a bit of quiet time to listen to what the cloth and stitch are trying to tell us.

  14. love the conversation on your blog... its always good to read your words as well as your followers'....i like the light and mirror concept.

  15. thank you penny. good thing they can whisper loudly sometimes as i usually go to work on a different cloth to quiet it's mumblings down a bit...

    yes, nandas. one's followers have some of the most thought provoking words and almost always takes you deeper...

  16. Love...Love...Love. I keep coming back for more!