Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In Carol Shields's short story 'Dressing Down' a boy whose grandfather is an ardent believer in naturism and a practising nudist describes his grandmother's response, expressing her disapproval and opposition by the way she covers herself and her surroundings in layers and layers of cloth:

"My grandmother's disinclination for nudity would not have surprised those who knew her well. Her interest was in covering up, not stripping down. The same week she married my grandfather, she'd curtains and heavy draperies made for the windows of the house they bought on Macklin Avenue. By the following summer slip-covers dressed the wicker porch furniture. Scarves in broderie anglaise adorned every bureau. Pillows in my grandparents' house were fitted with under-covers as well as over-covers, and she herself sewed a sort of skirt in flowered chintz, which was tied prettily with bias tape around the wringer washing machine when it was not in use. Lace doilies sat on the arms and back of every chair. Woollen throws were flung across the various sofas. Rugs lay scattered everywhere upon the thick carpets. Fullness, plumpness, doubleness. . Hers was a house where one could imagine the possibility of suffocation.

Her own clothing, needless to say, comprised layers of underclothes, foundation garments, garters and stockings, brassieres, camisoles, slips, blouses, cardigans, lined skirts, aprons, and even good aprons worn over the everyday aprons. Her mind drifted towards texture, fabric, protection, and warmth, as though she could never burrow deeply enough into the folds of herself.

Which was why she had so much difficulty taking part in the annual July rites at Lake Simcoe. Naturism was not her nature. Nudity was the cross she bore."

( Caroline Shields, Dressing Down, in Carol Shields, Dressing up for the Carnival, QPD London 2000, p.237/238.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Working on "Snow-White and Rose-Red" - a tale of two sisters, opposites, yet equal. Power and passion, purity and innocence, playfulness and responsibility. The duty of the daughters, kindness in spite of fear, trust in nature, the bond with the animal spirit, compassion, the mystery. Red blood, white snow, thorns and roses.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Red shoes

“Once there was a poor motherless child who had no shoes. But the child saved cloth scraps wherever she found them and over time sewed herself a pair of red shoes. They were crude but she loved them. They made her feel rich even though her days were spent gathering food in the thorny woods until far past dark.”

The Red Shoes, retold by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

C. Pinkola Estés, Woman who run with the Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman, Rider, London/Sydney/Auckland/Johannisburg 1992, p. 216

The Red Shoes are a celebration of creativity and the power of imagination, made for dancing, not for walking the line. Fragments are selected and collected – each carrying its own history – and joined together as a material manifestation of a desire. All is fine while you are able to dance to your own tune. Passion is red, but so is danger.

The 'Red Shoes" are no longer with me - only the image and the memory remain. I have been thinking about making another pair of girl's shoes, white shoes with bits of old lace, some torn or burnt at the edges, the fragility of innocence, the delicacy of dreams, fairy princess, child bride.