Tuesday, January 14, 2014

in late october i began a month long craft residency in gros morne national park, newfoundland. heading up to woody point (where the artist's house is located) i came up with a project. i wanted to do something that i would leave in the community. i also had just been diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine and i wanted to pay attention to that. recently i'd come across the ancient celtic tradition of the "cloutie tree". "cloutie" is the scottish word for "cloth" and cloutie trees can still be found in parts of scotland, ireland and west coast england. these "wishing" trees were always located beside a well or a brook. if you had a health problem, you would take a piece of cloth, dip it in the water, place it on the part of your body that was sick and hang it on the tree. overtime the cloth would fray and your body would heal.

i chose a tree in a meadow at the edge of town. an old plum tree. with the most magnificent view of bonne bay and gros morne mountain. every evening i would embroider a body part onto a piece of cloth (usually chiffon). sometime during the next day i would walk to the tree, dip the cloth in the nearby brook, place it on my own body and then hang it on the tree. i began with my own body, then my family's bodies, my friend's bodies. every day the weather was different and the feeling was different. sun and rain and wind and snow as the the weeks passed - october into november.    

 i then began on the earth as a body. what does the earth need to make it whole and healthy? air and sun and rain. joy and laughter and compassion. friends who visited me in woody point added their own "clouties"
on the last day of my residency in late november i went to  the tree at dawn and hung the last "cloutiie"
in early december i returned to woody point, and in the middle of a snowstorm, i visited the tree. all the cloth was wrapped in on itself. keeping warm. i'll see it again in the spring.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shawn, I am impressed with your website and blogs. I am still working on my website, www.angelabaker.ca ... also thinking about blogging. Ah time! I love your outdoor photos about your thoughts and processes.