when the familiar becomes new again

I am imagining what it’s like to come to a place in life where everyday familiar objects appear unknown.
Where our mind no longer recognizes simple objects that we once took for granted and in that un-knowingness they appear new, fresh, and intriguing all over again. I think that this state of mind is often what we consider to be “child-like” and often is a state we return to at the end of our lives. It is a state of mind that artists often seek in order to be free of constraints and preconceptions when creating new work, seeing things out of context. It can get out of hand however and become a distraction that doesn’t SEEM to serve much purpose but who is to actually say?

My dad made it to his 78th birthday today and through the morphine that eases the pain I had a short phone conversation with him. Mainly I just ramble on hoping that the sound of my voice gives some comfort these days while someone stands by and holds the phone for him. I talked to him about my upcoming trip to Japan and how I will get to visit Nagoya (finally), a place my parents visited sans us kids while we lived there. (excerpt below from a previous post)

We were truly a Brady Bunch family- 2 families married together combining kids age 6-16. My dad was a photography buff and when we lived in Japan we had the luxury of our own darkroom which we were allowed to use. He used slide film almost exclusively and we are one of those families that have 1000’s of slides in carousels which now need to be transferred. Additionally, many of the slides are annotated and all are numbered! There are some stunning photos of remarkable places in Japan taken from 1965-1972. (not to mention hilarious photos of us kids in the late 60’s-and we thought we were so cool!) Imagine moving to Japan in 1965 with 6 kids ages 6-16! We took many many weekend day trips trips throughout Japan while we lived there. We were very lucky children.

I am thankful for the many sisters who have rotated in and out of his room these past 2 months and my mom who has endured the daily witnessing of his decline. I’ve been through this with a husband and a brother in law before and watching this on a daily basis can seem like some form of cruel punishment while at the same time be very enlightening. Such is life. Without death, what is life?

Well, enough of these thoughts for the moment. I have been inspired to continue on the journey quilt for a new life now entering his 3rd month already! I decided to change the color of the silk binding, using the ecru spring green instead of a blue that I had previously dyed, then lost, and then found again, only to decide that green was the answer. I am hand stitching it on as it gives me much more pleasure and while being a bit slower, not all that much really. I think better when sewing by hand anyway-and being in a think-y sort of mood, it suits. I am surprised at how many tears this quilt has absorbed as well as the thoughts, prayers and emotions it has inspired while I work on it.
I am really liking the edging. I imagine little Sol working the edging between his tiny fingers- the silky soft edge giving comfort in some way. It’s small enough (26″ x 42″) that is can be carted all over. I will encourage them to use it, not to hang it or to make it into an heirloom sort of thing. My wish will be that it becomes ragged with use-perhaps it can be reworked and repaired at some future time. It has lots of different textures and topography that I hope will encourage his curiosity about such things.




7 thoughts on “when the familiar becomes new again

  1. jude

    boy oh boy, this is all so familiar. there is not much for me to say i guess. it is such a mystery to me still.

    that ribbon work so well as an unexpected edge. it is like it was piped on, like frosting. a beautiful quilt. is it all silk?


  2. Julie Herberger-Dittrich

    Love the colors and the freshness of deep blue against the beautiful spring yellow!
    I enjoyed hearing about the Japanese childhood and what a pleasure it will be to retrack your old roots!
    I am sure your dad can only just imagine how much fun you will have and I am sure he is there in his thoughts right now dreaming of the good old days with all of you kids and his camera around his neck!
    I wish you all the best for the near future and that is good that your pretty quilt is comforting your sadness, it will be a real treasure for whoever will be getting it!
    Have a nice day: Julie from your shibori flickr group


  3. Rita

    thank you for sharing your emotions with us and your beautiful quilt. I look forward to seeing a picture of the whole thing when it is done. such an inspiration.


  4. Phyllis

    Such a beautiful quilt, the colors, the stitching, the texture. Sounds like it will be a piece to cherish for many reasons. Hope you are doing well under the circumstances. Enjoy your upcoming trip to Japan.


  5. paulahewitt

    Like Jude – i like the edging very much, and i dont know what to say about your dad, although, unlike jude it isnt familiar…yet.


  6. Whitney

    The quilt is gorgeous! I absolutely love the color combinations, and I think that and the texture make it a really wonderful baby blanket. I wonder what it will look like ten years from now…

    You should look into getting your slides scanned, or getting a scanner for them. Film and slides can deteriorate, it might be nice to have digital back ups.


  7. shiborigirl Post author

    i’ve taken to replying to most of the comments personally and thereby getting to know some of you a bit better-what a pleasure! yes, this quilt really HAS been a journey- i’m thinking of it in different terms now than when i started it. i’m changing the thread that i used to whip stitch the back of the seam binding.
    i used the sulky invisible that i use for the flowers since it was close at hand but it turns out i don’t like the way you can feel some of the stitches i am ripping it out and redoing it with silk. live and learn and live some more. and yes, this is all silk- even the batting (Hobbs silk batting).



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