Since late December, when I chose the word FRAGILE as my word for 2014, I have been seeking to lighten my load, free up my schedule and make room to listen more actively to the intuitive whispers that come on the wind and fill my dreams. I began to hear the stories of the Buttonheads. First the whisper of a name, then a snippet of a story, and as I stitched, with no firm plan, the stories of each doll revealed themselves to me as part of this process.
The other night I dream a shawl, a story shawl, a keeping history shawl, with a voice of it’s own. I wasn’t sure what I would make it from, but I have surrounded myself with some marvelous vintage textiles and their stories began to call to me. The wind on Monday filled me with ideas and this shawl has been percolating all week. Today I found a piece of fabric I bought about 18 years ago, to make something for my son that never materialized. Today it is the beginning of the story shawl…along with some pieces of feed sack that were found in the pile, where it goes I won’t know, probably not for quite a while, but today the Shawl Project…
Here is the beginning
And now the doll. Tall Birdie Joe
Tall Birdie Joe came from a back country road in New Hampshire. He lived somewhere in the woods behind Gill’s Garage with his parents. As soon as he was old enough, he left home because home was not a warm and safe place for him. He traveled, hitching along the back ways and old roads looking for stories. He wanted to follow the magnetic lines of the earth because he felt the energy flow through his veins. He often worked as a day laborer so he could eat, taking whatever odd job he could find, for he was strong and fit. When his slim body could hold no more stories, and he was full to overflowing, he made his way back home. He settled in the woods in a made shack of log and bark in Canaan and worked the grounds for the summer folk who lived by the lake. Tall Birdie Joe fell from the back of a pick up one day and departed this mortal soil. But he returned as an angel, tattered wing, bottle cap eye, ragged rust and stitching. He walks the woods he knows so well and can be seen, but only in the winter, when the heavy snow covers the ground and his bright threads stand out against the brilliant white of the snow. If you listen to the night wind and watch the stars above, you may hear him tell a story or two as you breath in the frosty air.