Monday, 14 April 2014

One from a set of two unique relief prints I made a few years ago. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

I've been gathering birch paper. For basket weaving I think. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

I picked up the fallen prayers. And washed them many times. They smelt of earth and damp. Some of the colours of their decay were beautiful. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

And the old and the new together ..

Held .. the new

Held .. the old 

Fallen ..

At the end of April last year the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed killing over a thousand workers, many more were injured or trapped This was shocking news and made more shocking by our own guilt. Many of the people inside the building were working for clothing manufacturers supported by huge companies who exploit the cheap cost of labour in countries like Bangladesh to offer the more comfortable customer inexpensive throwaway fashion. It keeps money moving around but does nothing for global equality, and is also a source of pressure on the environment.
I felt so impotent witnessing the suffering which, in the face of such a huge catastrophe, could no longer be pushed aside as inconsequential. I wanted to mark this horrible happening by making a piece of conscience work. So I began to make a prayer wall. With some old strips of cotton that I had previously dyed blue I began to fill the cracks in a garden wall with slips of cloth, 2-4" long and about 1'' wide. As I filled the spaces I put out prayers for the dead, for the trapped, for the dying, for the maimed, for the left behind, for all the broken bodies and lives in Dhaka. And all the other lives that are blighted by greed, misunderstanding and lack of compassion. Making this wall was a deep meditation for me, it had kinship to hand stitching or weaving with it's simple repetitive action that offered a gentle home, and was a small peaceful offering of hope, if nothing else.
Yesterday I looked at the wall. Many of the prayer pieces had fallen out, all of them had faded. It seemed appropriate. The prayers that came to nothing. The soft scrumpled cloth slowly responding to what the world threw at it. I decided to offer up new prayers with new pieces of cloth from some more of the same strips of blue cotton that I had used before. There is still great need for hope and prayer. People still slave in factories, disregarded, wars and famine still hold vast communities in pain, and the world seems to be cracking under the strain of the demands that we, as a species, make on it. 
I see now that my prayer wall is an ongoing project. Prayer for me is a kind of sanctuary, a quiet place where I can hear my fear and try to transcend it.
I took photos of some of the pieces, on the floor and in the wall, because in their tenderness they feel like childish dreams that the best of us will come through. That the best of us, the spark of light that resides, surely, in all of us, will win out and light up the darkness of being.      
Cherry blossom as anticipated. All day, in the sunshine, the tree was loud with the hum of bees.