Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Walking Away....

I just dropped the Nativity tapestries off at the church for which they were commissioned. They will be installing them, and there will be a presentation of them from the commissioning/gifting couple to the congregation on Sunday, December 2nd. They have asked me to talk for a few minutes about the symbolism of and inspiration for the images.

As I left the building, I felt a familiar sense of loss. I have felt it before when letting a tapestry or a painting go to a new owner. In fact, it is very much like the feeling I had when I let each of our 5 foster babies go to their adopting parents. With the babies, I knew they were not 'my babies;' I was keeping and nurturing them for someone else. But a part of my heart went with each one of them. It was the same with these tapestries; all along I knew I was creating them for someone else. But they have been a BIG part of my life for over a year-and-a-half (much longer than we ever had any of our foster babies.) 

Now, I know. It sounds stupid when an artist compares the creation of a work of art to 'giving birth,' or caring for a child and then letting them go. Or comparing the letting go of that work to, for instance, seeing your own children go off to college. But I have to say, sometimes there is some comparison in the artist's heart. I have woven little bits of my life into those tapestries. During the creation of them, my Dad had a stroke and my Mom broke her hip. My concern for them as I sat at the loom weaving is woven tightly into those tapestries. Toward the end of the weaving, my brother passed away. My grief is a part of the tapestries. I spent precious times with children and grandchildren. I turned 60, and my son took me to Paris. The joy and amazement and wonder of those events are woven between the tight, colorful wefts. My disappointments, worries, celebrations, aches and pains, fears and prayers are all as much a part of the tapestries as is the wool of the weft and the cotton of the warp. When we hung the two tapestries to see where they should be installed, I looked at them, and saw all of those things hanging there. You may see Mary and her baby Jesus and some animals and flowers when you look at the tapestries. As I look at them,  I feel my life events, and I hear Jim Dale's voice reading Harry Potter, or a lovely quiet British accent reading Jane Austen to me. I hear the voices of my siblings and my parents, as we dealt with family events and concerns. I took all that today, hung it on walls that I will not frequently see (as this is not the church I attend), and turned my back on them and walked away. The time has come to let them go....


2 comments:

Vera L Hazelgrove said...

You have written this beautifully! I always feel that we put part of ourselves into our weaving so that the feeling of "letting your child go" makes perfect sense. These tapestries are aglow with tender warm feelings!

Julia Kelly said...

Not crazy at all- I finished a very large collage of my daughter in the same months she left for college - and had the same feelings for both, just as you described!