Inspired by the mandala pieces I’ve been working on since the start of 2017 I created this piece “A Special Sort of Snowflake: (she won’t melt when you grab her)” It was accepted into the Nasty Women Art Chicago Exhibit and Fundraiser. All proceeds from the sales at the May 5th, 2017 event will go to Planned Parenthood, whose services have been under-fire and in threat of losing federal funding under our current administration. If Planned Parenthood loses funding 2.5 million patients would lose access to care. Another interesting fact from the Planned Parenthood website: “Barring Planned Parenthood health centers from Medicaid would result in a net cost of $130 million to taxpayers over 10 years due to increased unintended pregnancies without Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive care, projects the Congressional Budget Office.”
Once again I hope A Stitch In Time Saves…..because women’s health matters. Because awareness is important. Because it’s just one way to help. If you would like to help too, here are several more ideas! Go HERE and Stand with (me &) Planned Parenthood.
As I write this I am feeling complete peace and serenity. Wow, I know, (how?) in the face of the fear, unrest and chaos that is projected from every news source, every social media platform and every innocent conversation with friends. But, I am in my sacred space, my studio with the setting sun shining in my window, warming me on this cold winter day. My new puppy is sleeping at my feet and my 15-year-old cat just wandered through to check on us. These two remind me that I have everything I need.
I took Fiona in as a “foster pup” right after Thanksgiving. The local Animal Care League has dogs that aren’t ready for adoption (she needed to be spayed) and yet would do better someplace outside the shelter for a short period of time. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to see if I wanted to do the whole “puppy thing” again. Was I really ready for a dog again, (We lost our LUCKY last August) or would adopting an older dog be a better option this time around? Well, it was love at first sight. And so, I adopted this sweet girl. Fiona wakes up each morning filled with excitement, knowing she will be fed well and cared for and wondering “where will we go walking today”. My cat sleeps on my feet each night, feeling my warmth and love, knowing she is protected. And so despite the uncertainties the “static” of our world tries to rope my attention with, I know I am loved and cared for by an entity beyond my earthly understanding. That Divine Entity lives within me and my pets reflect it back to me. I can feel it.
Tonight is the full moon with the first lunar eclipse of the year. This will usher in energies that we can tap into to clear away “what no longer serves” us, individually and collectively. I really resonate with what Sandra Walter outlines about this eclipse season and what it holds for us collectively:
“As you break your addictions to drama, concern, or worry about the external, and shift to heart-based action, empowerment and divinity, you resonate with the higher trajectories of the Christed timelines which deliver peace and opportunities for global divine alignment.”
I hope that you too can feel the “love wave” that is here this evening. I can only describe it as a wave of Divine Grace. Despite everything, We are Loved and Cared for and Safe.
A few days ago I got this message in my inbox from my friend Susan:
“Hey Pam –how are you? In circle today an idea came up to play off of the pussy hats and give women something else to create – that was a sign a marker of people in the movement. You came to mind. Is there a way you could design a pin that we could wear like a big safety-pin that had a miniature version of the pussy hat symbol attached to it? So my idea is that could you design something that people could easily make just like the pussy hat went viral? Thoughts?”
So I put my thinking (pussy)-hat on and thought back to my last post about collaboration. I like the idea that this project could be a way to create a symbol of an alternate collaboration, one where like-minded souls looking build relationships with others who support human rights can easily spot each other. Like-minded souls can create something simple to share and show the way.
And I had an epiphany (as usual, in my hot tub time machine). I want to offer my Kitty Kollaborator in Kindness Pin. She is part pussy, part heart, with the symbol of safety and she is divinely feminine. Yes, I know, my name for her could be (k)controversial. But, I would love to see a day come when the 3 K’s stood for something positive. So, I am ***(k)co-opting them. (in my last post you learned of my intention to co-opt “collaboration” as building a coalition of like-minded supportive relationships) So, instead I would like to refer to this as the K3 pin. Because if you look at that closely and break it apart, it is like I < 3 ❤ (I heart). And, I am offering her up as an idea to make and share with everyone on your Valentine’s List. You could even take a picture of her and put her on a few postcards. . .(wink, wink).
And then I went further down this rabbit-hole. The term “snowflake” has been thrown around as a derogatory term for a (bleeding?) heart liberal who gets easily triggered into melting at the actions of what is seen as “the opposition”. (It’s also been a label put on this generation of young adults viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations.) And recently there has been a false rumor that it was used by the Nazi’s. (See SNOPES.com for the facts) But, I also want to co-opt that symbol. Because we who live in the midwest U.S. know what happens when you get a lot of snowflakes together! I call it the Snow Storm Pin. I could call it an SS pin (I know where that is co-opted from too) but, that is too uncomfortable. I would love to see it created in as many different ways as there are snowflakes. So, please take both of these ideas and CREATE!!! As Princess Leia said, “take your broken heart and make it into art”.
Need help creating one of these? Here is are PDF‘s for the K3 Pin and the Snow Storm Pin with pattern shapes and notes.
1. appoint to membership of a committee or other body by invitation of the existing members.
divert to or use in a role different from the usual or original one. “social scientists were co-opted to work with the development agencies”
adopt (an idea or policy) for one’s own use. “the green parties have had most of their ideas co-opted by bigger parties”
It’s finally here. I can feel it. It is palpable. I felt it in such an amazing wave on Saturday at the Women’s March in Chicago where I walked with friends and strangers. Over 250,000. The peace and love and optimism in the crowd was medicine. And that medicine spread out to even those who could not attend. I had lunch with a friend after the march and the waitress thanked us for being there for HER! And that is why I marched. For all of my SISTERS. And their children. And for RESPECT (which goes both ways and is earned, not demanded) And their access to affordable health care. And their right to choose the best options for their own bodies. And for protections to our natural resources. And for funding and support for our Humanities and Arts. And for the right to worship. And the right not to. And for the right to free speech. And especially for the right to gather in peaceful demonstrations, to express the beliefs and issues we find important as individuals and as a collective.
The positive energy for the Women’s March came in early December when a friend of mine who lives out east sent me a message that she wanted to know if I would make a pussyhat for her and her daughter, as they would be going to the March in D.C. Of course! I also made one for myself as I knew I would be Marching in Chicago and one for my daughter who would be in Minnesota. And then I just kept going. I put a message out on Facebook which led to many more requests for the pussyhat. I loved the grassroots enthusiasm of that project. Women using traditional women’s skills and craft to make a statement. A statement of unity, feminism, and “can do” spirit. It is exactly the call out that I expressed in my RESISTANCE post that I will continue to use my talents and actions as my voice to support what I believe in and act against what I oppose. I also spent an afternoon knitting with a friend of mine and wished I’d had the time to participate in more of the pussyhat knitting meet-ups that were occurring around the Chicago area. I ended up using up all of the pink yarn I could purchase or scrounge from my own stash and made 20 hats in total. One friend asked if I was making them all “by Hand”. Yes, that is how I get things done…ONE STITCH AT A TIME (SAVES!) Each one was given away with a tag that stated: “In appreciation of this gift please consider a donation to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood“. Several of the hats traveled to our nations capital (I saw a photo on Facebook of my friend’s husband wearing her hat on the bus ride Friday and it made my day!) Many stayed in Chicago and I saw some at the March and almost all of them in social media posts. Some even stayed “home”, but helped those wearing them feel they were a part of the historic event. My favorite was seeing the text from my daughter in Minnesota with her pussyhat on and the message, “hat made it to the MN rally”. I had wished we could have been marching together, sharing this historic event. And then when she sent that text message I realized we were. UNITED.
So now we march forward. When I wrote this post RESISTANCE right after the election I felt at that time like this was the best or only answer to holding our elected officials accountable and to protecting the rights of ALL citizens. But after a couple of months reflection I have come personally to the conclusion that Carl Jung was right when he stated “what you resist persists”. And when I wrote my post on resistance I discussed the options that were put forth in the Dutch Resistance Museum, Resist? Adapt? Collaborate? or Persecute? In their displays the option of collaboration meant collaborating with those you disagree with for the sake of “moving forward”, to keep the peace and make progress even if not in the direction you would like to see it go. But today I offer another option. The option I am choosing to move forward with. One of Collaboration with those who do hold your vision for the future. With those who do cherish the hard-fought battles for Civil Liberties we have established as a nation. With those who do believe in the scientific studies that have proven that what has been done by corporations and big business in the name of economic development and prosperity for a few, is actually harmful to our resources and to our WHOLE.
And I see that action coming together in my small circles and my larger community. And for the skeptics who say the Women’s March was a one day effort and we will all go back to our kitchens and computer screens and televisions (and our knitting!) and our privileged lives, I say “what YOU resist, PERSISTS!” ***We will persist*** You obviously were not one of the Millions who attended the March on Saturday January 21, 2017. Because you would know the joy and enthusiasm and HOPE that is medicine. It is the drug of CHOICE, for me. And I am NOT ALONE, as you can see the Women’s March website has already transformed to 10 actions for the first 100 days. The first action: “Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead”. Get ready, I make beautiful postcards. Really great postcards. The best postcards ever. And I am ready to use them.
1.26.2017 UPDATE: And now this from my favorite local coffee shop BUZZ CAFE. The collaborations begin!
About a week ago I got an email from a friend and fellow artist, Gina Lee Robbins. At the end she posted a link to a call for artists with the comment: “a challenge for anyone who has time and needs a distraction in the coming week”. I am always looking for a creative challenge and needed either a distraction or an inspiration to get into the studio this week. The Visual Aids 19th Annual Postcards from the Edge Benefit was the perfect little project to jumpstart me.
And in looking for worthwhile projects that are “a Stitch In Time Saved” this called out to me as worthy. From their website: “By participating in Postcards From the Edge, artists and collectors support the mission of Visual AIDS to utilize art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, preserving a legacy of those we lost, and supporting HIV+ artists, because AIDS is not over.”
So if you happen to be in New York City on January 13, 2017 think about attending the Preview Party. For just $85 you can own a piece of original artwork and give to a worthy cause. Sometimes that’s all that is needed to motivate an artist to get to work in this crazy world.
And once I got rolling in the studio this week I found myself well into the process of a larger work. Earlier this week I painted and did the free-motion machine stitching on this piece (working title is) “Two-Gether :: Uni-Tree”. I like where I am headed with it and that motivates me to get back to work on it. Today I am starting my “french-knot” therapy. I find the repetitive hand stitching soothing and theraputic. Perfect for today this first snow day/Sunday!
My View from the Studio today: The (first of the season) Snow Day Inspiration!
Exactly two years ago I was traveling Europe through Paris, Belgium and Amsterdam. On November 16, 2014 I went through the VerzetsMuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum). It was an enlightening experience. The permanent exhibit space is laid out in a chronological path through time from the 1930’s to 1950’s with a focus on the 1940-45 years during WWII and the Netherlands occupation by Nazi Germany. From the Museum Website: “The Resistance is not about heroes and villains, but ordinary people who found themselves in a time of scarcity and oppression (with) dilemmas and had to make choices.”
The displays are made up of everyday artifacts from the daily lives of the Dutch people during that time. The exhibit lays out a story of difficult choices that had to be made in the face of fear of retaliation, hunger and scarcity, and societal pressure. I walked into the Museum believing I would be one who would resist Nazism at all costs. I walked through the exhibit with a realization and a new understanding of what that would truly cost an individual. I was also surprised to find that many of the same issues facing society in the 1930’s could describe the current climate we are still experiencing. Issues regarding the separation of church and state, issues of racism, issues of severe economic differences between the haves/have-nots. Issues of what it means to be patriotic. Issues of what certain choices can mean in the long story of history. How decisions to resist, adapt, ignore or collaborate all play out over time when faced with policies that oppress any segment of society; be that a certain race, religious faith, gender or even a free press.
One of the displays struck a particular chord with me, as a textile artist. It showed the simple everyday embroideries of Jacoba Maria Blom-Schuh of the Hague. She refused to give money to the Winter Help fund until the queen returned to the Netherlands. Because of her refusal she was imprisoned for three months. During her time in prison the SS guards gave her their socks to mend. She played ignorant and sewed them shut! In reality this was her form of further resistance to the Nazi cause. She later embroidered imagery from her time in prison onto these textile pieces (I call them artwork!) that are on display in the museum.
I found that reminiscing about my experience at the VerzetsMuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum) to be very cathartic today, one week following our 2016 Presidential Election. This past week the media has been filled with many differing opinions on how America will move forward following this contentious campaign season. Many questions are being brought to light. I return to my experience of walking through that museum, being offered choices and questions along the path (through time): Faced with different situations would you Resist? Adapt? Collaborate? or Persecute? You may think you know the answers, but when faced with pressure to Adapt by your family and friends and even the leadership of your country, it can be difficult to hold your ground for what you truly believe is Right. You may find that in the face of severe hunger your Will is broken. You may find that is seems more loving and unifying to Collaborate with others who hold a very different View of what they would like to see their world look like. You could find that to get what you want or Need, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the Persecution of others. Or worse, you could find you are the instigator of that abuse somehow justifying it as a means to the end you would like.
This is a wake up call for me as I step into each day going forward, to be aware that my individual choices have an effect on my community and country as a Collective. I intend to take off my blinders to the plight and ideas of those who may not share my vision. To realize what I can do as I am faced with tough choices. To ask myself the tough questions: Am I ignoring the oppression of a segment of our society, and making light of it? Am I looking to find answers that work for all of us, or just for myself? Am I adapting to the new normal because it seems to be the peaceful thing to do, despite the concern that it could be causing others pain? These are the questions and many more that I (and All of US) will be faced with in the coming days and years. I know from walking through the Resistance Exhibit they are difficult questions to answer in the moments we are faced with them. These are difficult decisions to make. It is always easier to say in hind-site what should have been done. It is also easier to say in advance what you think you would do walking into a situation, than what you would actually do faced with the real consequences of your decisions.
One thing I know I will continue to do is use my Voice. My Voice comes in many different Forms. I will use my Words, speaking and writing freely as my U.S. Rights as a citizen allow. I will use my Dollars, as very often speaking with the wallet is one of the most effective methods of communication. And I will primarily use my Talents and Actions (they speak louder than words!)to speak up when I see something harmful and/or hateful to others. I encourage you who would like to hold on to the good in the world and continue to make it better for All to also use your voices and your dollars and especially your talents to call out and continue to shine the light on situations that do not resonate with that vision. Make your daily actions and choices speak to the vision of the world you want to see. We are all an aspect of the Great Creator, what we envision is the first step to what we create here. We can not turn a blind eye to what we see as abusive, mean, selfish, divisive, or inhumane on an individual level or as a collective. We can not “be ignorant”, but just like Maria Schuh’s example we can all “pretend ignorance” (or use other methods) to resist wrong doing, and use A Stitch In Time (to) Save.
Please Note:I personally do not define resistance as a way to obstruct or protest any actions or ideas of the new administration just for the sake of hatred of “the other side”. It is a method of standing up for the protection and against the persecution of the Rights of All others (no “sides”). I do not equate the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President to the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. I am only making observations and pointing out a way of assessing personally how I choose to move forward as a citizen. History (and herstory) is only as helpful as what you learn from it. Other than that, I tend not to look backward (unless I am reminiscing about a lovely European vacation), but aim to go forward doing my best to create a society that protects the Rights and Freedoms for ALL.
In my journal in early August 2016 I wrote: “look up the Story of Susanna in the Bible, the Book of Daniel”. I believe that each Full Moon is brings to Light for each of us new lessons from our Shadows. But we must listen and pay attention. I think this current Full Moon is bringing clarity and allowing me to harvest the reasons I was drawn to this story just a couple of months ago in the darkness of the early August New Moon.
As an artist I initially was drawn to some very interesting information about the work of art (shown above) created in 1610 by a female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi who created at age seventeen this painting of Susanna in the Garden. Interesting that this painting was at times attributed to her father and was created after her painting instructor was taken to trial for raping her as a teenager. (So, when did our “rape culture” begin???) (More about the artist and her work HERE)
Then I dove into the biblical story, which is a story that I do not recall learning as a youth in my Presbyterian Sunday School classes. I’m not sure if it was because the story of a woman being unjustly accused of adultery was not “age appropriate” subject matter. Or perhaps it was not included in the version of the Bible endorsed by “our” church at that time. (Evaluating the credibility and choosing which stories to include, which lessons to learn on a collective basis is an interesting aspect of all religions). I believe all the biblical stories (and in the case of the Susanna story the Jews recognize it as a moral tale, not part of the Tanakh) have some lessons to teach even though I have because of personal choice, moved away from my Christian roots to an inclusive viewpoint that embraces the beliefs and divine nature of ALL.
So back in early August of this year I was called to read the book of Daniel. I found it fascinating as I saw Daniel as a Book of “dream interpretation” and the first book on the Bible that the Angel Gabriel appears in. The following is my short version of the tale of Susanna and the Elders, from the Book of Daniel. (For a longer version that I like, go HERE)
Susanna was a beautiful and deeply religious woman married to a very wealthy man, Joakim and daughter to Hilkiah. (Interesting that still to this day women are feeling defined as wives, daughters and not by their individual autonomy. Some things never change? Or has the time finally arrived for this to change???) They had lovely gardens that Susanna chose to walk in each day. There were two judges who held court at the residence of Joakim who lusted after the beautiful Susanna. One day they followed her to the garden where she decided to take a bath. She requested her servants lock the gate so that she could be alone, unaware that the two judges were hiding and watching her. When the servants left the judges forced themselves upon her to have sex. They told her that if she didn’t comply they would take her to court for adultery saying that they saw her alone with a young man. She chose not to comply and began screaming; when her servants heard her they came running. The men told their side of the story and Susanna was taken to court the next day.
Now, this is where I love the way the story twists back for me (and one of the reasons I believe my Guides directed me to read it). The judges are caught in a lie because young Daniel yelled out in opposition to the charges against Susanna. He would not be a party to her death without proof of her guilt. He directed the court to separate the two judges and question them individually. So, they did and because of a discrepancy in their individual testimonies regarding the type of “tree” the lovers were standing under as they committed their crime, the judges were caught in their lie. (I have a history of believing that the trees hold our stories and our truths. So, this part of the story truly resonates with me.) The story indicates that Daniel was in touch with his inner divine guidance and was not willing to be complacent in her execution. He was brave enough to speak up and change the course of the narrative. (I too, believe in Divine Inner Guidance and Guidance from Above; sources outside ourselves, who we must call on to assist us).
During this 2016 Presidential Election Cycle we have been inundated with stories, lies and “he said, she said” tales. Like Daniel, I would like to shine a light on getting to the little truths and the big TRUTH. There is a part of me that wants to doubt I was given the wisdom or bravery of Daniel. But another part that Knows we all are/were. As Daniel questioned in the trial of Susanna: “People of Israel, how foolish can you be? Are you going to condemn an Israelite woman to death on this kind of evidence? You haven’t even tried to find out the truth.” I believe this tale teaches us that we must continue to seek to find the truth. But, how do we “catch” the powerful and elite in their lies? First we listen to our heavenly guides as they try to reach us though our inner knowing. Stop, listen to your gut. What feels “right”? Then we can turn to our own dreams and interpret them as Daniel did. I believe we will eventually be led to the truth and the TRUTH. It is divine. And We Are All Divine (made in the likeness of God). So we cannot be forever fooled or kept away from our Knowing of our (collective) Self. Here is my latest dream and my interpretation.
I was going to a school, a “college”, and I was “under review”. Apparently it was getting to the end of the term and I had chosen not to attend or do the work for several of my classes. But I had done amazing work in one class. I had chosen to focus all of my time and energy on just one “sculpture” and it had turned out very impressive to my instructors. So, the teachers and administrators of the school where trying to decide if I should “pass” or not based upon this one “work”.
I was nearby listening to them mull over my situation. Many of them were in support of passing me to the next level. But, the feeling I had from within was that I needed to do all of the required lessons. I could not just pick and choose what interested me, what I was good at, what class and lessons were convenient and easy to attend either because of location or schedule. And just because I had excelled in one course at the school it did not fulfill the reason I had come to the school in the first place….to learn all of the lessons. And this Knowing came from within me. My teachers and advisors were defending me. They felt I had “done enough”. But as I overheard them I knew from within I needed to do more. That I could do more. And so I spoke up and requested they hold me back until I fulfilled all of the requirements to move up to the next level. I requested that I be held back.
And here is how I relate this dream to my life: I do not get to skip over the uncomfortable lessons, like the current election and associated stories coming to light regarding the candidates. Do I avoid the media and their non-stop barrage of propaganda?Well, perhaps it is healthy to minimize it. But, when it does present itself I can go to my gut and listen for what feels true. And I can observe the sources of information like the candidates themselves and their accusers and pay attention to how it makes me feel. I can “consider the source”. I will remember everything starts from within. Every lesson is learned there, that is where the “assignments” for the lessons must be started and completed. I will BE. Do I look outside myself, wring my hands and say “oh, there is nothing I can do”?No, I must start by doing what feels right and true for me. All of the lessons must be done, not just the easy or comfortable ones. I will DO. And here is probably my hardest lesson: Do I cast judgement on those who may not agree with what I believe and feel within myself?No, that is not my “job”. I can ask my guides to give me clear messages and guide my lessons. But, how am I to know the lessons others are put in this earth school to learn? How am I to judge how they see things from their perspective? I will honor others in their Being and Doing. I will hold faith that the Truths and the TRUTH will come to Light for ALL OF US. And maybe this Full Moon will help us all harvest a bit more clarity on our current affairs and assist us in learning our collective lessons.
I think we have all heard much talk recently about the “rape culture” that we condone and live in as a society, nation and world. But, as this story from Biblical times proves, and the associated story regarding the artwork created in 1610, the rape culture has been in existence for many lifetimes. Maybe, we can hope, we are at the cusp of true awareness and change. Maybe, another full moon cycle will not be necessary for the world to wake up to what it has been foolish enough to be “duped” by. Like the story of Susanna, maybe we can get past defining women by their associations to the men in their lives. Maybe we can continue to question the powerful men who because of their positions in society are assumed innocent, rather than the women who are assumed to be guilty or at least somehow to blame. So let’s keep in mind that this story is not only about the brave young man who listens to his divine guidance and acts upon it, but also about a brave woman who knowing she is caught in a double bind (be raped or be sentenced to death) is still willing to place her outcome in her Faith in something outside of herself. She is still willing to follow the guidance she is hearing from within, knowing it could cast shame on herself and her family and lead to her own certain death.
If change is to come, women must strive like Susanna to find our inner animus, our masculine energy; and like Daniel, men must embrace their inner anima, or female. I believe this is how we heal our never ending “rape culture”. Through balance we correct the imbalance. Through inner healing we re-align the Whole. Is the story of our current election a moral tale? Perhaps. Do I know the truth and the “moral of the story”? No. And maybe I never will. But I will listen to my Guidance, inner knowing and my “gut” and I will pay attention to the messages in my dreams like Daniel. I will act from my animus when I feel called to action (like writing and sharing this post) That is what I can DO that is who I AM. That is the balance I can strive to maintain. That is the Story that the Light of this Full Moon is shining on and harvesting for me.
Authors Note: I do not profess to be a Biblical Scholar, or have complete knowledge or understanding of the Bible or any religious texts. I ponder, share and witness the stories and information that my Guides and Angels call me to. I share my interpretations as they relate to the current times we are experiencing as a “Collective” and as they pertain to my life from a personal perspective. I share these insights in hopes that others can relate and find meaning for their own lives and as an attempt to heal and resolve my own stories, and those of others. I welcome the thoughts and insights of others in the comments section below. I am open to learning more and witnessing the perspectives of others.
Some of my additional sources and inspiration for this post: