May 13, 2014

COLLABORATION / CELEBRATION / EMPOWERMENT

This gathering was a celebration in honor of Mothers Day, celebrated in Latin America on May 10, and also International Midwives Day, May 5. I do love to collaborate! and I got another chance to do so on Sunday. Since I couldn't spend Mothers Day with my own kids and grandkids, I spent it in the next best way.... a gathering at Trish Snyder's house with midwives and students from CASA. For those who don't know, that is Centro para los Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende, a school here that offers a three-year degree plus one-year residency in professional midwifery.
Suzanne Ludekens had invited me to create a huipil form as a tribute, a place where the women could write their dreams, prayers and intentions. Her hope was for an art project that could allow them to claim their strength as women and midwives, and to receive blessings of love and support from each other and all of us as well. 

In preparation, on Saturday I had created a huipil from from simple manta, lace, and a hand-embroidered panel with the Virgin of Guadalupe, a gift from my friend Judy Sadlier in Antigua, Guatemala. From Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, all these young women were missing their mothers back home. And we expats were missing our own kids as well.




IN GUAD WE TRUST, LA VIRGIN DE GUADALUPE!
Upon arriving at Trish's house with this "matrix", we met all the young women, heard some of their stories, as in the ones from Guatemala whose mothers actually do weave traditional huipils. I had to admit to a gringa infatuation with the centuries-old art form which is theirs, not mine.

























Suzanne brought a blessing to be read in spanish, thus bringing us into a sacred circle before beginning our work. La Virgin, our spiritual Mother, Empress of the Americas, naturally became the centerpiece, the focal point, of our project. Each woman chose a strip of fabric and a marker, to write on, and read it aloud before affixing it to the huipil.

The blessing had been printed on paper and cut into strips. All were invited to select a strip and tuck it inside the pocket at the top of the Virgin panel.




When it was complete, they were excited to gather around it for photos. And even more excited to take it back to CASA with them, where it will hang in their dorm as a reminder of this day, this love and support they have in San Miguel.


As Suzanne said, "... it was a ritual of such love, solidarity and compassion." 

La Guadalupana, mother of us all, bless these young women and the new life they are dedicated to birthing into our world!


May 6, 2014

GRACIAS A LA VIDA

In my last blog entry, "Thresholds," I was considering a huipil for Violeta Parra, who wrote and recorded "Gracias a la Vida" following the break-up with her partner. It was to become her final and most beloved song, as it wasn't long after that she committed suicide by a gunshot to her head. Historians question whether perhaps this was her suicide note. 

Whether it was or not, my huipil homage to her honors this popular song, recorded by many famous artists from Mercedes Sosa to Joan Baez. I used a photo transfer in the heart place, the place in her that must have been so broken. All around her are cd's, which of course were not part of her generation in 1967. But she left us so young, that had she lived  longer, she surely would have gifted us with more and more beautiful treasures for years to come.




Huipil for Violeta Parra, recycled cd's, cotton, photo transfer, thread, 33x31", 2013




Below the cd's are words stitched in silver thread:
Gracias a la vida, que me a dado tanto.
(Thanks to live, that has given me so much)



It isn't finished yet, I'm sure there will be more cd's added and I'm not yet sure what else. As I continue to work on it, I think of how many women have given up on their own lives after a split with a partner, believing they can't go on. And I think of how many artists and musicians have ended their lives, often intentionally - always tragically. As I continue to process this, I send love, hope and healing to all who could use just a little extra to get through this thing called life. May we all have the courage, and may we find the peace of knowing that everything changes, if we're willing to have a little faith.