an elder cloth

the magic diaries just started, a long-term journey with jude hill in cloth-making. i had no clear inspiration until now for a large cloth. but now i think i'd love to make an elderberry cloth.

i am thinking about whether to make it a representational piece. that would be difficult to do on such a large scale. maybe a small image of her on a large cloth. i wanted to move toward a more abstract way of expressing, but i am still not sure why or what that even means. there's a sense that representational work is somehow lesser, but surely that's nothing i need to concern myself with. i might have wanted to move toward abstract to allow things to be put together in different ways. not to be tied to an overarching image, but more free and poetry. but i want to make sure i don't dis/member elderberry in the process.

i've been reading some of my friend harlan's work on affect, which is something like a feeling or emotion but more bodily. less voluntary too. he also writes about the responsible way to respond to someone, especially when they die. like how to be haunted by them, intimately and vulnerably. these are things i want to explore. somehow even though i'm making it about her, it will end up being about me. i'm thinking that's probably not good, but still unavoidable. what she means to me has a lot to do with her, but maybe more to do with my feelings of guilt, loss, nostalgia. so i'm thinking it would end up being more about elders in general. but doesn't the mule deserve a cloth?

jude says to hold the idea close, get to know it. i love this.

maybe all the other stuff that would go into the cloth is the context for the mule. grace was writing about context. i mean, just to stitch her colours and shapes and eyes and tail would be no more the whole of her than something more layered with histories. and we do co-constitute each other, after all, we're not separate.

i never finished that knitted saddle blanket for her. the intarsia wasn't going well, and i didn't love the yarn. and i told myself she wouldn't have cared about it anyway. so it's in the knitting basket, in pieces. i wonder if there's a way to use the knitted pieces somehow in this cloth. or some of the yarn. or the design of it. hmmm, there's an idea! the design was what i loved. it looks like the pattern isn't on ravelry. i'll have to take a pic from the book and post it. it would work well as an inspiration to be translated into a quilted cloth because it is the type of thing that could be worked in small pieces. and it would be so nice to finish her blanket after all.


  1. Your idea sounds like it resonates deeply for you, and working with Jude will be amazing. Enjoy the process.

  2. I love her cloths, they are stunning, truly beautiful pieces! What a lovely idea to make one for elderberry. :)

  3. i love your idea of using the knitted pieces in your cloth. maybe you could cut it up into shapes and needle felt it to some cloth. that would make it easier to incorporate. just thinking out loud. can't wait to see what you do.

  4. well, this was good to read. good to think through as i'm thinking through my own....i'm imagining some kind of collage, of images, memories, words...coming at the theme from many angles. or different views/perspectives/windows into it. does this make any sense?

  5. This post is so beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing Elderberry's magic cloth.