Chapters Three and Four
When the images for the six pieces that would become my story first flashed across the screen of my mind, they came in a sequence: the piece that became Shift, the piece that became Matrix, then Journey, Release, and (Receive) Emerge. However – as with everything in the first part of this experience – it wasn’t that straight-forward in the birthing.
While I was deep in the process with Matrix, Journey began to tug at the edges of my consciousness. Since it seemed to want attention, during times when Matrix was being resistant to my work, I began to piece the background and noticed that, for the first time, the background was a single stripped piece unlike the sectional backgrounds of the first two. So, the background was done first in a delightfully simple hour or two of sewing.
And there it stopped, seemingly content. Meanwhile, in some perplexity, I moved onward to Release since there seemed no point in just sitting around waiting. (Little did I know how much waiting would be involved!)
Release was a joy to make; all the aspects of it came together with a simplicity and speed I had not dreamed would be part of this adventure. First, it was the smallest of the pieces and it, too, seemed to want a single stripped background with a single image. Second, it wanted the quotation I had originally gone seeking for Journey. Third, it told me its name before I sewed the first stitch. And, it wanted its name emblazoned on the front as part of the design. Finally, the figure in the center was a polymer clay experiment that I had tried and tucked away, unsure of its value or purpose. Oddly for a piece called Release, creating it seemed to be less about letting go, and more about gathering up many left-over bits.
The letter tiles which spell the name are made from very thin sheets of polymer clay with the letter sandwiched between – the same technique I used for the horizontal line of tiles on Journey. In fact, I made both sets at the same time since the images seemed to wind in and out of one another. The wings (which can be open or closed) came from a piece of fabric that I found in my stash (from which I fussy-cut the feathers) I attached the feathers to a plain fabric with the words of Hildegard of Bingen printed on it for the inside. Favorite fibers and beads found their place and the backing went on smoothly and easily.
I finished Release with a sense of confidence, expecting that Journey would now follow a similar process and slide together as easily as its sister. Wrong.
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I was actually calling the piece “Nautilus” since that was the central image and I now knew that any name I gave anything was going to change anyway. If Release was a joyful plunge into trust, Journey was a test of stamina. I sat for six weeks with a finished background, a finished nautilus sewn in place, the finished feather (which had appeared from nowhere) and all the tiles completed. And then I sat some more. The image was crystal clear in my head…but every time I tried to sew on the tiles, I would get discouraged and walk away because they didn’t seem to fit. Somewhere in this process, the name announced itself: Journey.
I can only assume that it was trying to give me a clue, but it didn’t help until the day my husband said, in passing, “Well, maybe if it is called Journey, it isn’t supposed to fit in a square.” Suddenly, everything fell into place…it just ran over three of the four edges: the ladder on top, the tiny jar of seeds at the bottom, and the gate tile over the right side. The four panels of growing seedling slipped into the lower right quadrant and Journey took final form.
Chapters 3 and 4 had something to say about trusting the process and allowing the journey to take as long as it takes. I was learning or relearning or re-relearning that life is not about getting through it as fast as you can, but about cherishing the moment.
[Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Read more Chapter Five