Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Cowichan Sweater

I had this whole post planned. Several weeks ago now I heard a story on the radio that got me thinking about my Cowichan sweater and my west coast roots, and I thought I would write about it. Sadly it was not very interesting writing and I have come back to it today to finish it up and discovered that my uninspired writings were not saved. Well dear reader, you have been saved.

In the meantime I am picking up clues, like stitches. Did you know you can start making something and in the end it can be much larger than where you started? Thinking about art all the time is like this and that is what I have been doing. Thinking about art is an odd activity, I guess it's similar to thinking about enlightenment, maybe they are the same thing. I am trying to see what is unseen and make an opinion about that. I am trying to hang onto the opinion just long enough for it to be shot down by some other observation and subsequent opinion that has formed. It's like watching the tide come in and go out, like watching the day pass, minute by minute, the light changes, the trees move. It is a symphony. It goes on without any input form me. My role is inconsequential but I am so fascinated to watch.

I am waiting for something to emerge. Last week I suddenly understood a series of dreams I've had over the years. The dreams were uncomfortable and odd and I could never see what they meant at the time but now I can see more clearly what they were about. The common theme was deep dark spaces that I was required to go into. In almost every dream I was surprised at the existence of the dark space, down a hall, behind a room, under the stairs. These were dark spaces with no head room and I never went in. They were close spaces with cold dry walls. Out in the open of my yard it struck me that these dreams were about this work. The deep work, the unknown knowing that goes on during exploration and reflection. I never wanted to fall into those spaces afraid of what I might find and fearing getting stuck in there. Now I think I am beginning to scratch into those deep places, put my fingertips on them, feel the rough edges of what could come to be known.

Maybe you are curious about the sweater. It was a gift from one of my brothers. It is a classic west coast design and it is one of my most cherished belongings. Here are some links to the original DNTO story that inspired me, a film about the history of the Coast Salish knitting, and the writer whose thesis inspired the film.

All for now. Keep on making, keep on seeking.

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