October 20, 2015
how to talk about rhinebeck.
how to talk about rhinebeck
when you haven’t talked
this was, perhaps,
the most restrained i’ve been
at a fiber festival, mostly just
replenishing those things i always do.
i’m definitely not as deft as i once was;
i dropped a lot of stitches,
my gauge is inconsistent,
and i had to take breaks for achey hands,
but boy did it feel great to knit again.
gotta love that shift in brain waves
brought on by a repetitive action.
so since i was using this paintbox,
i gave myself permission to replace it.
(i couldn’t get a good shot on its own, but you see it in the first pic.
the colorway is steampunk in the kashmir base)
my mom’s been kinda awesome this year in the face of pretty intense stress. so when i saw these two towels that match the one i got her last time, i knew what i was buying from karen this go ’round.
(she doesn’t have a website, apparently,
but if you want more info you can email her here)
then i got my stock of handmade soap from simpler thyme.
a couple lavender, a tea tree, and sandalwood will last me a while.
i also stopped by gene matras’ booth,
stocking up on some of his notecards to sustain my semi-secret paper addiction. (*sigh* another artsy macro shot showing only the ass of the sleepy pig notecard. i guess i’m out of practice with photography as well.
at least you get an idea of the level of detail in his work)
someday, i’m going to get one of his originals.
and i better do it quick; he’s no spring chicken.
this next item i didn’t even have to purchase.
on the anniversary of the annual chili pepper challenge andrea and i inaugurated five years ago at which we (and now most of our housemates) sample the hottest sauce at the wild coyote booth,
old man chili himself gave us each
a free bottle of hot sauce.
he gave me a bottle of buried alive, the sauce that gets its flavor and heat via not one not two but all three varietals of the ghost chili.
this shit does not. fuck. around.
the favorite thing i got a rhinebeck:
a selection of pieces gifted by sonya philip from her microscopy series. this gave me a lot of feels. a lot. i’ve admired sonya’s work since before i even knew who she was. and for her to just give me this work that she made… it meant a lot. i’ll treasure them and give them a place of honor in my tiny house.
well kids, that’s it for the loot.i’m still meditating on how to tackle my rhinebeck post proper.
it was…an incredible retreat from reality, so restorative.
it stirred up a lot of things in me, happy parts of me
that haven’t been a part of my life in a while now.
i’m feeling really lucky to have gone
and want to write it up right.
see you tomorrow?
October 15, 2015
not sure if there’s anyone out there anymore,
but i’m heading to rhinebeck this weekend.
will i see you there?
November 17, 2014
from the initial shock
of the news of leslie feinberg’s
if i’m honest,
stone butch blues
put me on the path
to my current work
as a literary scholar.
how do you repay someone
for changing the course of your life?
for showing you what matters
and who matters to you?
i’ll never come close
to living a life
as leslie feinberg’s
but, as long as i live,
hir work will not be forgotten.
“Feinberg is survived by Pratt and an extended family of choice, as well as many friends, activists, and comrades around the world in struggle against oppression and for liberation.”
February 21, 2014
just popping in to plug my shit again.
i’ll keep it brief:
Friday, February 21—Live Readings by the Broad MSU Writing Residents
6–7 PM | Free and open to the public
The Broad MSU, in partnership with the MSU Department of English and the MSU Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, is pleased to announce the Broad MSU Writing Residency! This residency features six graduate students who will create monthly public readings that respond to an art work on view at the Broad MSU, while utilizing core themes from the upcoming exhibition, Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art. The live readings will begin at 6 PM, and will take place in the galleries alongside a corresponding work of art. (Meet at the Information Desk at 6 PM before moving into galleries.)
i’m one of the residents.
if you like,
and you could see me make a fool of myself.
i’ve been in a nostalgic,
sentimental, sappy kind of mood,
here’s a poem i came across, a sonnet
that has been nagging me for few days now.
poetry is good for you. so read it.
by marilyn hacker
You did say, need me less and I’ll want you more.
I’m still shellshocked at needing anyone,
used to being used to it on my own.
It won’t be me out on the tiles till four-
thirty, while you’re in bed, willing the door
open with your need. You wanted her then,
more. Because you need to, I woke alone
in what’s not yet our room, strewn, though, with your
guitar, shoes, notebook, socks, trousers enjambed
with mine. Half the world was sleeping it off
in every other bed under my roof.
I wish I had a roof over my bed
to pull down on my head when I feel damned
by wanting you so much it looks like need.
February 18, 2014
By Audre Lorde
I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck
moving away from me
beyond anger or failure
your face in the evening schools of longing
through mornings of wish and ripen
we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee
before dashing for elevators going
in opposite directions
Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof
as the maker of legends
nor as a trap
door to that world
where black and white clericals
hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators
twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh
there is someone to speak for them
moving away from me into tomorrows
morning of wish and ripen
your goodbye is a promise of lightning
in the last angels hand
unwelcome and warning
the sands have run out against us
we were rewarded by journeys
away from each other
into mornings alone
where excuse and endurance mingle
Do not remember me
nor as the keeper of secrets
I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars
you move slowly out of my bed
saying we cannot waste time
February 14, 2014
heard this song earlier in the week.
it’s been on a loop in my head ever since
and feels totes aprops for my valentine’s day.
hope you had a good one, bitches!
November 13, 2013
if you’re a crafter
with any internet presence,
you’ll remember an ‘incident’ in 2012
when one of my favorite bloggers, completely cauchy,
got some heat for a guest post she wrote on whipup (now, sadly, defunct)
that included an image of a quilt
with a provocative word on it.
some people went a little crazy after seeing it,
but i applauded it (and reblogged it)
because for me,
it was a work of art
and a genius work at that.
i emailed cauchy
with an idea
after a lot of emails
and more than a year of work and thought,
the quilt is now complete.
(to be clear, i only gave the word; she did everything else)
because some may consider it nsfw,
you’ll have to scroll down to have a look.
if you have a delicate constitution
or an aversion to potential controversy
now is the time to exit.
after the image is a mini interview with cauchy about the project.
after reading it, head on over to her blog where she interviews me.
on the quilt is a word that’s especially powerful to me,
and my take on it and the issues surrounding it
are likely different from a lot of yours.
so there is but one disclaimer:
you are entitled to your opinion on the piece, but this blog is my house.
if you start acting a fool in the comments
they will be deleted.
it seems like your crafting, whether it’s a deeply thought-out expression of a philosophical idea (as with the fuck quilt or the n-word quilt) or making a knitted stuffed bunny, everything is ultimately an expression of you. your life, your tastes, your thoughts, what makes you happy. what was it like to have the seed of an idea given to you from someone else? and how did you put yourself into this work (if at all)?
I’ve tried things like testing patterns (in knitting and quilting) and even a fully-dictated commission or two and found that there’s something far too confining to me in those situations. It always feels like dungeon crafting at the behest of a whip-cracker. However, you just provided the kernel of an idea by just putting one word before me. To begin, I had to check you out, observing your blog and other social media interactions to learn more about the requester. Once you seemed fairly reputable, I felt like I had to give it a try by living with the idea long enough for it to begin to feel like my own. Honestly, I don’t think it’s reached that status completely, but we’ll discuss that more later.
How did I put myself into the work? Well, the use of such a word expressed in quilt form is the beginning, of course. Not too many folks are doing that at all. But, definitely the picnic theme came from within; it’s a darkly comedic approach rather than resorting to the more obvious forms that might come to mind. That is, I played with dusty pinks and purples in a flouncy font, for example. But that seemed one-dimensional and too easy–too easy for me and too easy for a viewer. The final form is the result of a year of rumination and conveys more of my own internalization of the seed of the idea–it came to me at breakfast one Saturday, I sketched and started impulsively sewing within a few minutes.
i requested that you make this quilt after the inclusion of your n-word quilt on your whip-up post almost two years ago. i had a very visceral response to that whole internet encounter, but even more so to the quilt itself. obviously, faggot doesn’t have the same personal effect for you as the n-word but what does it make you feel? what is your reaction to it?
As a Southerner, I hear these words in my mind in the most countrified accent. Those double g’s in both words are lingered over. In the n-word, the “errrrrrr” drawls on and hangs in the air, while the ending of our f-word, the “ot!,” comes out as a hard and violent pop like a firecracker. Both words bring an element of fear since my first experiences of them were in threatening situations. And I tend to assume that one who uses our f-word would also use the n-word, actually, and vice versa. And these words tend not to be followed up with coffee and cupcakes.
The first time I heard our f-word it was hurled at a neighbor kid who was always bullied in middle school. I had no idea what the word meant nor why it was used. But the force behind the yelling and the teasing that surrounded the incident only incited fear in me. Ever the nerd, I looked it up in the dictionary right when I got home from school. It was puzzling… why is he a bundle of sticks? It took quite a while to get a full explanation out of my parents.
in our exchanges during this process you mentioned some reticence to making this quilt because (correct me if i’m wrong) the word faggot wasn’t “yours” to quilt. can you talk a little bit about that? and what ultimately made you agree to make this quilt?
Yes, indeed. I started this body of work as an exploration of my identity as viewed by others. The concept is simple. With the quilts or comforters one chooses to buy from department stores, one expresses some portion of one’s self-image. Albeit there is a limited selection (one is confined to the choices made available by current industrial-scale designers), one chooses a style and builds a decor accordingly. What do those choices project about one? And, in turn, how can one project oneself into a quilt?
The words that first came to mind for me were: oreo, bitch, princess, and the n-word. While the n-word quilt ultimately was an angry cathartic project, the others were light-hearted and playful explorations. And eventually I’d go on to give c*nt a try and that is probably the best of the series so far. These are words that are personal and for which I have clear personal experiences that give me license to use and illustrate them. Initially and throughout my one-year deliberations on our f-word, it just seemed to me that I wasn’t allowed to use the f-word. I’d even been accused of racism on that Whip-Up post, by commenters who just assumed I wasn’t black and therefore was not allowed to go anywhere near usage of the n-word. So I had to pause to think. One must quilt responsibly, right?
I gotta say that 2012 was the perfect year to be in this perpetual tailspin: the nation was finally moving forward on marriage equality. Amid daily immersion in this civil rights movement, I was making sure to steep myself in history and, at the same time, just happened to revisit Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, first by finally viewing the beautiful mini-series with Jeremy Irons and, second, by nipping into the novel again to recall contexts. Volumes have been written analyzing the characters, their relationships, and the religious themes of the novel so I’ll refrain here. For me this reading in 2012 brought on visceral feelings of social contrasts of all sorts and I reveled in the joy of the early moments of Charles and Sebastian’s relationship. All of this led to finally acknowledging the anger and frustration I feel about the entrenched resistance to this equality movement.
It slowly dawned on me that our f-word is part of my world and my AmericanExperience. My reticence was right because I want to avoid offending (to a certain extent) but I have a right to use this f-word responsibly for the same reasons that I defend others’ rights to use it. [First Amendment for all, my friend.]
Now, even though I claimed ownership of the vocabulary, I remain wary in ways I cannot articulate.
i know you put a lot of time and thought into this project; it’s been almost two years in the planning/making. can you talk a little bit about the process? both technical as well as what the making made you think or feel?
My “process” for quilt design differs with each project. While most are improvisational and/or impulsive, this one started out as a long deliberation that built up to an impulsive move. I started sketching whenever ideas came to me, a practice I rarely indulge in. On my cutting table, there’s a pile of old receipts, boarding passes and envelopes that explore this one concept. Each idea has some potential, but never compelled me to start stitching; see purple-pink example above.
But then one day I woke up ready, I did a mock up on my computer over coffee, and it just felt right. The only certainty I could articulate was that the instinctual simplicity of the design was what was missing in previous versions. Technically, this is traditional Quaker sampler design executed with simple and efficient sewing.
While sewing, I thought quite a bit about the bullied neighbor kid and another dear friend of the family with whom I’ve lost contact. There was so much about them that I now realize I was too young and too oblivious to understand at the time–ten year-olds shouldn’t have to know everything, of course. All I knew was they were nice folks who, in my presence, incurred wrath expressed through this word.
do you have any idea what your next “word” quilt might be?
Well, since I tend to embark on these projects impulsively, I cannot be sure. There are ideas always on my mind, but none have risen up to need to been made yet. That’s not such a satisfying answer? Let’s just say that one of these designs involves the word “fingerpainting” in an unexpected way.
thank you, cauchy, so much.
this collaboration has meant more to me than you can know.
i’ll cherish the quilt forever.
and don’t forget to read the companion post on completely cauchy!
September 22, 2013
because my (likely vain) pursuit of becoming an “academic”
requires a gradually increasing inhuman amount of work
such that anything that involves fiber
has been all but completely eliminated from my life
my annual trip to rhinebeck is especially important to me this year.
these are the things i love about rhinebeck:
1. the homeric two-day road trip with my fiber buddy andrea; epic driver, designer, yarn hocker, networker, and the brains (and brawn) behind yarn superhero llc. we laugh, swear, gossip, judge, eat, harmonize to joni mitchell for hours, and peep the shit out of some leaves. this drive is the initial decompression required for me to (try to) forget my real life and put me in the rhinebeck state of mind.
2. i stay at the cool kids house. while i’m not famous, and there are definitely houses with more famous yarny people in them, our rhinebeck house is by far where the real cool kids stay. fuck the ravelry peeps and their damn baby. fuck whatever cabin in the woods the yarn harlot or clara parks might be staying in. we stay here. while most of the details are completely confidential, let me just say that there’s some extraordinary inappropriateness that goes down at our house.
you wish you were invited.
but you’re not.
3. this year, my old friend, coworker, and yarn-store sibling, anna, will finally be coming to rhinebeck. she will be staying at the cool kids house. (the details aren’t clear, but i think there was a horrible death in the group that led to an opening. i don’t ask question)
4. my lack of vagina combined with intense undiagnosed sleep apnea means i get my own room. as an only child, this makes my soul rejoice.
5. the food. people have strong opinions about the food at rhinebeck. after a few years, this is what i think. the artichokes are not worth the line. the lamb ravioli with a side of garlic spinach is. i skip the shitty breakfast sandwiches and load up on apple donuts and cider. bring your own booze.
6. the ghost chili challenge. this will mark the third year of andrea’s and my masochistic indulgence at the hot sauce counter, thus making it into a tradition. the ghost chili is the world’s hottest pepper (last year, we had some fellow tasters, one of whom vomited after) but we just can’t seem to resist becoming high school boys for a few minutes to relish the feeling of doing something stupid for its own sake. this year, if memory serves, there’s a rumor that the hot sauce man has acquired the new, even hotter scorpion chili whose spiciness supposedly makes the ghost chili look like a lovely glass of milk fresh from the cow’s teet.
pray for us.
7. judging famous knitters based on their outfits.
(no elaboration necessary).
there are other things,
things i can’t put into words,
things i can’t even think of at 2:34 in the morning.
my goal is to outdo the previous year.
so if you’re going to rhinebeck,
or know someone who is,
look for me
and be a part of rhinebeck herstory.
it’s for art.
in other news,
the clockwork is on the move.
it was last seen with some new hampshire knitteratti:
right to left: thea colman (babycocktails), dawn catanzaro, diana (bestitched), julia farwell-clay. unseen & across the table were cecily glowik macdonald, bristol ivy, ellen mason (odacier), & erin m.
(who is rather immune to internet stalking so no link for her!)
photo courtesy of misa