Thursday, April 14, 2011

In process: Woven (Post 3 - Nancy Pottage)

When we started to look at how to introduce text and story into this piece, Sarah sent me an email from her mom about what drew her to weaving.

“What do I actually like about this whole process? I like the math and calculating of the requirements of pattern repeats and balances. I like the rhythm of the actual physical movements. I like the interaction of colours as they cross each other in the web making blends and new hues. I especially like to play with the textures of the threads to make new never before seen fabrics. And of course there is this whole historical connect to weavers past present and future and to the mythology of great cultures.”

It struck both Sarah and I that many of these things are what are appealing about dance. Dancers and weavers both seem to be drawn to their work by the patterns, shapes in space, the pleasure of creating something with hands and body, the opportunity to connect in a basic and ancient way by doing what others have done before us.

Lady of Shalott / digital image of art by Holman Hunt
I initially thought of weavers as creating something concrete and dance as more ephemeral, leaving no trace, no wool strung between limbs, catching and looping, just paths that burn and melt away, only found again by dancing them. I had to revise this after a workshop with Sarah Chase: after watching a room full of dancers warm up on a dusty floor she reminded us that we shape the space; it billows and shifts as we move through it, leaving heat trails, bits of ourselves – we push against the space around us, changing it in a very real way.

I think the stories that we share about ourselves and receive from people we love reshape us as well, body and mind.

We follow a thread that has the power to reveal where we came from, or to lead us back to a source, an illumination, an inspiration, a memory.

Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread to find his way back out of the labyrinth. The stories and advice from the women in our lives often serves the same purpose. Even when you can not get enough perspective to see the whole path and pattern of your life, a story, an action, a look is enough to help us remember our way back.

Sometimes we just need someone to tell us “You are here.”

Ariadne / digital image of painting by John William Waterhouse

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