Wednesday, January 28, 2015

still-sound 208. Mudcloth, scissors and yew

Look at Rosie inspecting the camel saddle.  Brennan found it a few weeks ago and decided to use it as a stool in his living room.  The orange leather upholstering on the seat had seen better days, becoming a bit tattered along the seams.  He decided to reupholster it, went to a fabric store downtown and found African mud cloth.  I never heard of mud cloth but I like the way it looks and think Brennan made the perfect choice.  It looks like it would fit in a Commune-designed interior.  Commune is a Californian design group that combines elements of modernism with ethnicy, craftsy details. Their aesthetic appeals to me.  I bought Brennan a book about Commune for Christmas and we often look threw it while drinking wine.

 I helped Brennan sew because I like to sew and have done a lot of it.  I used to make sewn sculptures back in the day in London (which took forever to complete) so I practically pinned the fabric and threaded the needle with my eyes closed.  I'd call it muscle memory, but it's more like finger memory.

I brought the seat over to Brennan's last night.  The completed camel saddle fit the space perfectly. To thank me for my labor, Brennan gave me an exceptionally thoughtful present that he picked up at a Japanese store in Venice.  It was a pair of 'spring scissors'.  Only a few days ago I described an episode of Begin Japanology which focused on scissors in Japan.  Apparently spring scissors are only used in Japan although they originally came over from Europe many hundreds of years ago.  My favorite scene of the documentary was of an arrow maker using large spring scissors to trim the feathers at the end of an arrow.  The feather trimmings fell lightly on to an indigo-dyed fabric spread out on the floor.  I watched and thought how I would like to be an arrow maker.

When I got home I put my new scissors on the bookshelf in my bedroom next to boxes holding implements for the incense ceremony.  Hanging from the same bookshelf is a brush that my friend Yvettra gave me for Christmas.  It's made of a yew branch, the bristles are horsehair. I've been fascinated by yew ever since I was a teenager and attended a sung performance at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.  The piece was written in another language and I remember reading the translation which mentioned a yew tree.  I wondered what a yew tree looked like.  I now know because I've been interested in yew ever since that night.  I use the brush to dust off my shelves and shoes.

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