My BJP for July is all about my Dad (and me...) Always the optimist and a person who both gave and commanded respect, Dad died July 13, 2006. Every day I think of him… every day I miss him, his quirky sense of humor and our frequent phone conversations… more than I can say. Every year, when July rolls around again, I feel an incredible sadness and loss. It seeps in and out of me more than it does during the other months of the year.
As a child, Dad contracted Pott's disease (also called bovine tuberculosis). As a result his spine collapsed, leaving him with a shortened torso and neck. His lungs were crowded into a smaller than normal space and he wore a brace to support his back/spine. His Doctors would never have predicted he would live to be 88 years old. Yet never once did I hear him complain about his condition, even when breathing got quite difficult or when a stroke paralyzed him from the waist down. He just found things he could do and went right on enjoying his life. He cherished my Mom and his five kids. I am the eldest. My life is enriched beyond words by this man, my Dad. If you're interested, I wrote more about my Dad here and about making spirit dolls in his memory here.
The fabrics for this piece are from neckties that I made for Dad years ago (specially altered pattern - thin at the neck). The top layer is the front of one of the ties. I de-constructed the other tie (which was silk patchwork) to make the underlayer of my piece. The bear, birds, dragonfly, beetle, kitty, tree, water and flowers are all symbolic of important memories about my Dad. The tip of the tie lifts to reveal a little “book” of words and pictures.
You may recall that I did my November BJP about my Mom and that it is also a "book" with a butterfly wing as the cover. See it below and more pictures here.
My plan for these two pieces is to construct a box (out of book board) covered with quilted fabric in the inside, plain fabric on the outside... and mount these two pieces on the top of the lid. I will use the box to store letters, photos and other special memories of my parents.
I'm in "just do it" mode about this box. I've never made a box before and I want this one to be as special as my Mom and Dad... which, of course, it never could be... so, for a while I was stuck... bogged down by anxiety about making it good enough. Finally, the suggestion I give others came around to my conscious mind...
I do not have to be perfect.
This box does not have to be perfect.
This box does not have to be worthy of my parents.
Perfection is not necessary to memory.
Ha! Back on track, I'm headed to the studio right now to work on the box! I'll post a progress report soon.