Friday, November 29, 2019

Object Seeking a Purpose in Life


Collaged kimono fabric

During a trip to the "Kimono Refashioned" show at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco last spring, my final stop in the exhibit was in the hands-on activities room, where visitors could play around with scraps of kimono fabric (some of which were fabrics actually used for kimonos in the show). With a hungry companion and no time to linger, I picked up a few scraps of the fabric and tucked them in my pocket, figuring why should the museum care if I did something with them at the museum or at home. 

A few nights later, overcome with the itch to stitch, but with no particular project in mind, I put the scraps on my work table, moved them around a bit, and then stitched them together using Japanese sashiko stitching (though in places they also look like Indian kantha cloth).

So now I had what was, to me, a very pleasing, oddball piece of textile with absolutely no purpose in life. For a while I put it under a vase of flowers, which I will admit was very pleasing, but in the long run not really this textile's purpose. Then it simply sat on the sideboard in my dining room, waiting for something to come along.

And what came along was succulents. For no particular reason I began to pluck (using the correct, internet-approved method of twisting gently) single leaves from succulent plants I passed on my walk, then letting the stem end callous over and waiting for the thrilling little hair roots to appear. During this process I needed a place to let the succulent leaves rest and generate roots. My eye fell on the textile suffering from an existential crisis and the question of what this textile's purpose in life is was finally answered — it is a succulent nursery.

The succulent nursery

Little root hairs appearing

The moral to this story: Never hesitate to create something beautiful even though you don't know why you are doing it or what it is for.


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