Monday, June 10, 2024

2024 06 Mommy

In April I was able to register at the last minute to take a workshop led by Lorraine Reynolds at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI, called Mending Hearts: Stitching Recycled Fibers Into Sculpture. Then on May 17th, my mother, Joyce Niebuhr, passed away at the age of 97 and 9 months. It seemed timely and right to work on another Mending Heart.

The first step of this project is to create the pocket of significance that will form the central core of the wrapped heart. In that I placed a poem I wrote about my mommy, her Dominos token which was a squirrel and a heart from a necklace she used to wear. All of these items were bagged up in a scrap from one of her blouses. 

Then the central bundle is wrapped. I used more of my mother's clothing including her favorite jean jacket. I supplemented that material with some colorful cloth from my collection and some sari ribbon. 

I decided to illustrate this mending heart with a collage I made while working on art with my mother way back in 2018. The piece was called Home of the Big Boy. 

Everything nested into an old box from the basement and was supplemented with some painting on the inside and edges. I also added some nails to the sides.

I have really found the creation of these mending hearts to be both spiritually and artfully fulfilling. I intend to make some more with this technique just to do it. Thanks to Lorraine Reynolds for the process. 


Who is a geek now

You wonder as you sift through

The detritus of the lifetime

Of the one who loved you.

And return to the days of odd clothes

Like the dickey under the sweater

That got you sent home from school on suspension

Because of her Christmas gift

Or your Marcel wave hair

Set like stone on your head

With a grease that you are now convinced

Was the first step on the road to baldness

All of which was to make you into a little man,

Put your shoulders back against the winds of failure,

Set you on the road to white collar success

While the others were destined to wallow in the blue collar swamps

Whose denizens felt no shyness

At reminding you with their fists

That no matter who your protector was

You would feel the sting of their rebuke.

The sting remembered today

Each time someone asks if you

Want that with pepperoni or sausage

And you remember each time someone called you Pizza Face.

How some teachers rose to your defense

Like the shop instructor with the missing finger tips

Who let you take his class twice for credit

So you could be his class leader

Able to make the treasures for the queen’s tomb

Like the crooked wooden lamp you build

With stain so thick it felt like a coat of tar

That still failed to straighten Diogenes’ spine.

Artifacts so precious today

As you hold them again

That they recreate the track for your tear,

The same track carved years ago

But now it is for your love

And for your survival

And because you found the cutting board pig

Made in shop class all those years ago

Which still has your name stamped in it

Proving its providence for the one who preserved it,

She who loved unconditionally,

To be found one day by he who was loved.

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