Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Holding space in the stuckness

I visited Yuko at the Verne Gallery over the weekend and completely agree that some days are just tough going!
Every time I set up for class now, not only do I have to pull all of my tools and samples and so on, but I have to check out a laptop, adapter, tripod, webcam, and mount in case someone has Covid-19 symptoms and has to stay home. I also have to set up an HDMI cable, an extender cable, an extension cable that goes into another room, a video camera, power cable, and mount on my work table so that the students can see behind me on the big screen what my hands are doing (as they can't get close to me anymore). I also have to drag mats around so that no one trips all over these cables.
After sewing four new masks before the semester started, I realized I should have made silk-lined ones to be more gentle on my face and provide some kind of extra electrostatic barrier to particles. So I made more, for me but also for my parents in NY, and strung them with shoelaces (I am OVER making bias tape! Over!!).
In the slowest-moving studio building known to man (and men are responsible for the slowness of it), I asked Bill to help me get my beater off the pallet that it arrived on in the winter so that I can actually move it around and properly be able to look into the tub to be able to refinish it. There were some very scary moments in the process but we did it!
Bill had also given me some milkweed starts earlier this season, and one day I was worried that they were dying because suddenly the leaves were almost gone. When I got closer, I saw that this monarch caterpillar was hard at work eating and pooping. Its frass was all over the leaves and at the foot of the starts it had already eaten. Sadly, it wasn't a great place to hang out—not really enough food or shelter—so it's gone.
Another friend later in the season had heard about someone in her neighborhood giving away even bigger milkweed starts! So this was waiting for me when I got back home from Virginia, which was a wonderful surprise. I wish I knew which species of milkweed it is.
When I read about how philanthropy is set up to benefit the very rich, and get tired of walking in my neighborhood seeing all of the yard signs, I try to get away places with a lighter human touch. This is a golf course that has turned into a metro park, and I was amazed by how much it has changed in the last several years: soooo much more vegetation! You can still hear the constant noise of cars as the park is on the corner of two big main drags and very close to the highway, but wildlife is having its way.
I loved seeing the ironweed, and though it's not the goldenrod and aster combo, it's the same purple/yellow principle that attracts more pollinators. Though the actual people walking through this park were not as nice as ones I usually encounter in the street, it's good to have this option a mile away, as the big nature preserve I like to visit requires a longer drive. Right now, I am taking a massive procrastination break from my work, having gone through a couple big deadlines but still with a few more to go. I am attempting the one goal rule by Jessica Abel, and am learning about how much I squirm away from my work, every second I can.
Lately, I've been thinking of things and then a day or two later, they show up! Linda Ligon had contacted me a while ago about writing about my work, and then yesterday this lovely publication was waiting outside my door. The Long Thread was just what I needed to see and it includes people I admire, like Sarah Swett and Mary Hark.

Meanwhile, the hard work persists. I keep making changes to my syllabus, the readings, the whole framework of my class this semester in artists' books. I keep falling into old traps because I'm so well conditioned by different types of oppression that intersect in my body. I hope it's not like what I just learned from my lawn guy about why my backyard has died: grubs!! AGH. I wondered about the holes multiplying and the dead grass and so on. I wasn't vigilant, I wasn't informed. But now I am, so the repair begins.

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