19: Wood

These last 2 weeks have been the perfect alchemical concoction to induce growth, motivation and fresh energy into nearly all aspects of my life, weaving in particular. I’ve spent many hours in the Bright Moon Studio, alongside hours discussing exciting prospects and future projects at Embercombe and elsewhere, and hours in states of utter bliss as I marvelled at the power of the collective, the humble beauty that we’re all a part of and the ecstasy that is love.

There is officially too much transformation occurring during this mercury retrograde to note… the pace of things has landed in a steady water fall state- but instead of falling I feel myself rising

and rising

and rising with the full moon tide.

As it’s Holy Gaia Friday, here is my focus and the element I am honouring: Wood. The countless times I entered and exited the Lake at Embercombe via the wooden jetty highlighted the place of wood in our lives as an element that not only supports us physically but also spiritually and creatively. After spinning a small amount of wool from the sheep of Embercombe Phill and I started to play with its place within the landscape having now been transformed into a thread. I wove on my wooden loom using a wooden shuttle, sitting on a wooden jetty, surrounded by trees and forest. Wood was everywhere, holding us in our creative space.

Later, having been inspired by a talk on the topic of ‘consent’ with Pat Macabe, we set out to transfer our experience into a mandala- once again using an expression of wood (paper) to hold the lines of our souls…

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It wasn’t until I was 20 that I realised wood was what carried me. With it’s hard softness oozing amber gold warp and weft. Wood with its elegant gentle nature.

Silent watcher peering over us observing our every move through its womb shaped eyelets. Its roots deeper than the earths core.

Wood is what carries me after water.

Submerged I reach for wood, and although the lady of the lake whispers to me, calls me to come closer, wood lifts me up, cups me in it’s strong forgiving hands, my naked wet body dripping with light whilst embraced within its broad arms, its ringed history ready to absorb what I shed. Wood catches me, collects me, hands me my cloth to engulf my raw and tender skin.

And so today, for this Gaia honouring hour, I send my deepest and most humble blessings to the woods of this land, both standing and fallen. Both ahead and behind. For wood teaches us the greatest gifts of all- to stand firm, with strength, to support those around us, and to always enjoy the view.

*********

It feels more than ever that a lifetime of creativity, exploration and learning awaits- and I remain deeply driven to aiding the freeing up of energy and creativity within us all. Through craft and movement we can feed our wild selves. And through feeding our wild selves we can aid in a universal awakening.

Blessings to all life,

With love,

Rose 🌹

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17/18: You want them to wake?

The well is calling.

Unravel your looms

Unwind your thread.

Strip yourself

Naked

and bare.

Watch the earth crumble to the core

And tear

Down

~

Wait.

~

There she is

Rooting

And rising

~

Holy circles

Intertwined around you and I.

Our souls merge.

The sacred entrance

Dance and beginning

Where the end meets the edge

Merge

Move

To the labyrinth

Core

Almond eyes,

Staring at the fruit our Mother Earth once bore.

Tear drops pearlescent

threaded struggle,

toil,

Earths oil

Leaking

Grandmothers speaking

The ancient ones

Worlds

Grandfathers singing

Womb to well

Tree to cell

Call to wild

Call to claim

And so it begins

Not once

But again

And again

And again

~

Here we are,

sisters in hand

Brothers in arms.

~

You want them to wake?

Come closer then

To the hem

Of my dress,

Look

Do you see it?

Find the thread to guide you in.

We’ve been waiting for you.

Turn off the lights,

Watch the world grow dim,

Touch move merge- the sacred dance

The end is always the beginning.

~

You want them to wake?

First, my love, you’ll need to let them feast

On your honey dew blood,

sodden woolen slubs

~

You want them to wake?

Make them.

Take them to the river where the salmon bathe in Luke warm water, basking under the midsummers moon, for the fish know how to lead them, and where to find their scaley burnt out timber looms.

Take them to the whales womb, rib bone tomb- sanctuary.

take them to the corners of the earth where the wild meets the wise,

Where the wild meets the loom.

Take them to the core,

the fire iron ore.

Melt them into plastic, see how they like that.

Give them quartz crystal pendulums made from earths spit and take them to the clams at the darkest layer where the sea meets the land, they have secrets to tell them, they know how to touch the limpest of hands.

And then, when you have journeyed this far together, take them to the splinter in your heart, and make them pull it out. Make them take it to the silent watchers, yew wanderers,

they have the key,

their eyes wider than the most lofty of clouds.

take them there and teach them to spin.

Watch their signature unfurl and let them slowly wade further and further within.

Then

Then

And only then

Will they Wake.

15/16: Never Forget Your Worth

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‘And so I wrap you in light,

blue iridescence,

holes to peer into dream world

essence,

gold to honour your worth,

wool, silk and linen to honour the earth.

Pearl shine,

I bestow you this whitened thread of time,

A cloth to protect

And serve

Never

Forget

Your worth’

For Imogen, blessings for her 36th solar Rotation

*********

This piece has marked a mile stone upon my journey as a weaver. I approached it differently to the others. With time restrictions due to other commitments, and a limited access to resource I had to think with patience and softness. And as I write this, I realise that both of these qualities are the essence of Imogen.

My first 3 pieces were produced in whirl winds of productivity, speed and a sense of urgency to get them finished. But when you really tap into what you’re trying to bring to light and whom you are trying to honour, their individuality cannot help but seep into not only the finished outcome, but also the entire process, from start to finish.

There is such beauty in this.

There is such healing in this.

Most importantly, there is such union in this.

I find such beauty into tapping into someone else’s energy, and combining it with my personal physicality, the physical process of using my body to bring something for them into this realm.

When ‘Cloth of Light’ was complete, after a series of weaving, spinning and contemplative sessions, it decided to write through my hands. And so once again my physical body was used as a vessel to bring new light and energy into this world, for another being, rather than myself. The cloth knew exactly what is was, and knows exactly what it’s here for. Words cannot help but flow when they have such importance behind them.

On a technical level, I’m starting to try and develop my skill set. As the actions of carding, combing, spinning, plying and weaving in grain themselves deeper into my bones, my hands crave more. ‘More, more and still more until they think warm days will never cease’ (John Keats).

Imogen’s piece was experimental, I didn’t actively seek to try new techniques, but they wanted to make themselves known. Not yet accustomed to clasped weft and Saori, I tried to add gradient varying texture whilst tapping into my original free and unfolding style when I first discovered weaving last year. ‘Holes’ started to appear. Not the kind that would jeopardise the piece, or cause it to unravel and disappear, but the kind that taps into the myth of our times: perfection, a vicious enemy. My inner critic called out ‘but what will people think when they see the holes?’. At first I tried to cover them up, I thought of how I could stitch them together, hide them from the light. My original photographs show little sign of them as I tried desperately to conceal them.

I understood that they had a purpose, which was different from allowing myself to accept them. But Imogen, upon analysing the cloth together in the studio, helped me to not only accept but to embrace their sacred essence. She also shed light upon the fact that the techniques such as clasped weft weaving and poncho making were now next on my experimental agenda as they were simply a more refined expression of the ‘holes’ I had created.

When holes appear space appears. And space is the essence of time, time is the essence of light. And light is life, love and softness- all of the qualities I wanted to honour in Imogen. I learnt to love them, and I let the demon of perfection burn away into ash and dust under the solstice night sky.

12-13-14; time warp

‘Earth my body

Water my blood

Air my breath

And fire my spirit’

Wow… these 3 weeks have been full to the brim of inspiration, insight and experience. I have been allowing myself the space to be fully present in each moment, recording it in memory and making rather than writing.

I feel the need to record some of the key events that will continue to influence my weaving journey for years to come.

Week 12:

Imogen and I ventured up to Oxford for the Makers & Tools exhibition and symposium on ‘Crafting your career’. Not only did we have a lovely evening staying on Karis’s boat (one of Imogen’s school friends and a super talented illustrator), but the talk also delivered a bounty of insight into the world of craft from the perspective of a wide range of crafts people. It was so humbling to be surrounded by makers from a range of backgrounds practising a range of different skills. It was also brilliant to hear Imogen’s talk and be reacquainted with her ethics and wise words.

Emerging movements such as Circular Economics or ‘Doughnut Economics’ were bought to light by Imogen’s honest and knowledgeable talk and diagrams- personally it marked the opening of a door- the penny dropped and I understood more deeply than ever before that the key systems within our society are in need of some serious regeneration. And it is my generation who must drive this change.

As I write this post in week 14, we have had another productive and insightful day in the studio. A step on the journey of spreading the workings behind circular and sustainable businesses occurred this morning when parts of the Bright Moon making and producing process were filmed by Clay Media, a local Brighton film Company. In the interview Imogen delved deeper into the world of circular economics and how her business has always embodied these principles. It felt good to hear that the movement is growing- people are waking up, and as a collective we are understanding that we have responsibility over what we produce and the rippling effect that our actions and processes cause- no matter how small.

We were also asked about ‘why’ we do what we do. Explaining the ‘why’ can open up new realms, so it was a good exercise in keeping concise and clear.

Having been an apprentice for 14 weeks now, I could assess how the multi faceted process of weaving alongside Imogen’s teachings have not only physically and mentally changed me- but have also fuelled my spirit to blossom, grow, evolve, mature and transform.

Sliding back on the time line to week 12 and directly after our trip to oxford- my visit to Embercombe, a holistic Nature education centre near Exeter, reminded me that texture, colour and shape are all around us- just waiting to be observed and absorbed by the creative that lies in us all.

This poly tunnel and the micro climate and landscape it has created was beyond the valley of beautiful. But it was so much more than that… I could probably use a multitude of adjectives to try and describe the space but my brain, so fuelled by a passion for that place, is starting to pace ahead of my finger tips.

And so I’ll summarise by stating that entering the tunnel was like entering the physical structure of woven cloth- the weft and the warp, the space and the density. It was a real eye opener.

I came back to the studio last week and had been craving the physicality of weaving after my trip to the West Country. Imogen has recently introduced a portable loom to the studio- and I got the privilege of taking it home. A blessing and a curse- as I can now kiss goodbye to baths and books as the loom beckons me every time I walk through the door.

Warping up the loom for the first time solo, using any surface I could find in my small home, with my dog under strict instructions to play ‘dead’ whilst I battled with the selvedge was just so much fun. I then transported the loom into the garden, surrounded myself with fibre and thread, stripped myself bare so that I was naked and raw, and began to weave.

8 hours later, with one short stop somewhere muffled in between, my 2nd piece as a weaving apprentice emerged from the depths of the fire, clouds and sea.

It’s well and truly a wild thing- experimental and experiential.

I will never forget the tornado of energy and light that overtook me, surged me on into the early evening light.

I went to a Celtic fire retreat over the weekend to celebrate my last days as a teenager, and we both wore my weavings, letting the ash and smoke bless them, letting the forest and sun caress them.

Another moment I will never forget, is having my cherished friends wrapped up in cloth spun straight from my naval after I dragged them into the sea on my 20th birthday.

Imogen talks of textiles as symbols of comfort, warmth and maternal instinct. I felt that strongly as my salty selkie friends slowly warmed up- and I realised I now had the tools to always protect and provide for them without having to be physically with them.

Blessings to all 🌝

11: Whale Song, dripping ash and bone

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Dripping ash

And bone,

Whale teeth on my mind,

I feel the waves pulling me

Home.

~

Filter my heart

and fill up my lungs with

your salt water.

Forest fire, whale choir.

Chorus of birds bees butterfly’s

Spring rising up to greet us

Pebbles wet and hard beneath our feet.

Eyes ablaze with the ripening summer haze

~

Shake as I shed shake as she takes shake as he filters shake as I fall shake as I buckle under the weight of it all

Shake as I rise

Still once our sun burns through my clouded smiling eyes

~

Earth cradle

I let go of being stable

Cold down to the bone

Marrow ripens under the weight of my throw

Father- look how I have grown

~

Whale song

Calling from my depths

Her beat smooth soft strong

Fuelling this fire

let my cloth and body become one

~

Drag me dunk me lift me clunk me

Run with me

All the way home

To the whales

In the deep ocean indigo blue

Once silent

Now rising up

Up

Up –

Wild rose in bloom.

**********

10: Love

*********

Something deep within me

Knows

Earth energy has

Risen

Up through

My gateway toes.

Whole body shakes

Earth quakes

Above my blood red feet

Lips quiver

Reality as I know it

just out of reach.

I dance down this red clay road.

*********

I woke up yesterday already at the loom. The distance in miles was too weak to separate us- the linear and functional qualities of modern day reality had disappeared long ago. The rain tapped, tap tapping, at my window awakening my inner fire-my mentor guiding me home. My train journey has never gone so quickly…

Arriving at the studio I let the air fill my lungs with fleece, madder, yarrow, frankincense, earth and the sweet salt of the sea. The soft scent of May whispering to my ear lobes ‘get to the loom and set yourself free’.

When you look at a creation half finished there is such a humble sense of looking back in time, at your inner history. I had started my piece 5 days ago, it had been an electric experience to share along side two beautiful and wise souls (thank you Imogen and Phill). I couldn’t wait for my hands and heart to dance again, to beat to the rhythm of my inner earth drum.

At once I felt a familiar energy rise. I have felt it before. I can’t remember when it first bubbled up. When I was younger I felt it most clearly when I would illustrate in my room for days on end and more recently I felt it rise during my time spent with the Silent Watchers.

It is energy that isn’t from here. It rises from the depths of primal place. You’ll know if you’ve felt it for it merges with your DNA, remoulding your identity and sense of home.

And so I began to weave. Occasionally I stopped to spin more thread. I let the rhythm engulf me and I let the dance between hand and heart continue on. It felt like one long dance. One long ritual carried out to honour the source, the interconnected web, the life force, our mother.

After what felt like a heart beat it was ‘done’. My cloth as I knew it was complete.

*********

Fox tooth

Ice-witch

Baba Yaga

Pressed against my chest

Taking over my life beat

Letting my heart rest.

~

Have I ever had a conversation with my soul?

Yes.

Through clear river water

Sea sky

Sun rain

Love hate

the simplicity modern life denies.

And now cloth.

Texture surface warmth

Wrap me up in your love.

Have I ever had a conversation with my soul?

Yes.

I hold her in my hands as we speak

She strokes my thorny skin

Digs away to reveal

My red petals resting deep within.

Have I ever had a conversation with my soul?

*********

Facing what I had produced was undeniably hard. Such is when faced with a mirror made from your own hands. My inner capitalist voice sounded the ‘but-is-it-perfect-drum’. Luckily Imogen, with her raw clarity, kindness and wisdom reminded me at just the right moment that ‘perfection is the myth of our times’. My cloth was ready to be revealed. And so I cut.

*********

Whole body

Still

Trembling

Umbilical chords lye waiting

I didn’t know that this was birth.

~

I cut

Delicate at first

Then

Quick

Quick

Quick

To weaken the hit.

The permanence of it all

Inner wolf calling

Inner wild ready

To tie

The threads of my mind

Together

Let them group and reshuffle

Finding their companions

Their home

Their place.

I can breath again

Now I know we are all

safe.

*********

As soon as the last threads were tied, a wave of hunger, thirst and numbness came over me. I had given birth.

I thought perhaps I needed to cry, but then I realised I had been holding my breath the whole time. I was ready to come up for air. And as my body reared up from that dark pool of still water, and as I took my first gasping breath, I realised I would never be alone again.

*********

Fire

Hot red

Soft bed

For my naked body,

Cradled,

To rest

********

-I took my cloth home

– wore it on the train

– began to understand that she was her own entity with her own past and remains

– a few people looked at her and wanted to touch

– it felt weird letting them in

– letting their hands graze the place where my soul resides

Last night, as I lay on top of my bed and let my bare body be cradled by red, I thought about what tethers us to life.

What forces us to create and connect? What drives us and where does that energy originate? Why does my cloth feel like an internal organ- a part of me that once served me and has been given a new life?

I felt this intense urge to make cloth for everyone, to wrap the whole of humanity and all living beings in comfort and warmth, to give every one a sense of safety and belonging.

So she held me in her arms as I asked her these questions, and with all of our thorns and tender delicacy, our petals merged and met, and once more I heard that soft whisper like the lambs first bleat, ‘it’s love’ she said.

Love.

9: Blood red, a part of me sheds.

“When we are walking in oracle lands, a weavers shuttle held in our hands, we yearn for the yarn and we follow the braid, we search for the truth in the cloth as it’s made. Where the wild of the earth meets the wise of the loom, where the wild meets the wise in our dream”

– ‘Weavers Oracle’ by Carolyn Hillyer

*********

The loom waits patiently beneath my eyes,

She has been waiting for some time- I feel it in my bones.

I inhale fire,

Feel it travel up and over my skull

And with every exhalation the rain

Comes

Pouring

down.

~

If you were to ask me what it feels like to weave,

I could only show you how.

~

Our conversation starts off slowly.

We judder,

Together,

For a while.

Like a newborn lamb I fumble to find my step,

The weight of gravity and the rhythm of the earth unfurl beneath my feet.

I have been prepared for this.

~

All at once,

And unforgiving,

The rhythm engulfs me,

Drags me through her current,

I have never felt so free.

I smile, laugh, in joy at the pleasure of going with

rather than against.

~

The heddle loom feels me loosing focus,

She rears up, gazes at me through piercing wide eyes

and shows me the anticipation coursing through her wooden bones.

‘You know that this is a part of you young child, it’s clear from your hand and heart’

~

As I weave,

A part of me transfuses into

Cloth.

Into gold

Red

White

Grey

And black.

A part of me leaves,

Trades itself into textiles

Says it no longer needs me,

Says that I can be free.

~

I feel my blood becoming heavy with fire

And fibre,

Time lifts.

All restrictions are eaten up.

~

The loom is my filter

My whale teeth

Fox tooth

Guider.

Ice-Witch clearing the baggage,

Burning the dead wood.

~

Heart tugs

Strings

Plug

Fresh

Breath

Race

Trace,

I begin to quicken my pace.

~

Flow,

Oh how she flows.

All at once I

Open

Like a Wild Rose.

Rebirth and renewal tattooed across my soul.

~

The cloth got me here.

Am I surprised?

~

My woven interior begins to unravel

And rebuild before my eyes.

~

My hands ripple over the waves,

Surging forward into the future,

Moving quick- never loosing pace.

Their power?

The union between weft and warp.

~

My cloth?

Blood red.

And full of

Memory

Loving

And longing.

I am a traveller

Upon this

Circle road.

My inner tides ebb and flow with our red mother moon.

~

This cloth connects me

Forces me to contract

Expand

Transform.

~

I filter

Filter

Feel his fire and warm embrace

I filter

Filter

His tender cloth grazes my rosy cheeked face

I filter

Filter

And we dance,

together,

as our paths unfold we revel in the moon light as it

kisses

our stories

not yet told.

~

Baba Yaga watches me

From afar.

She likes the red

Pulls me in closer and her whispers glide gently over my head, and into my bones

‘You are a woman weaver now young child’

And she smiles at me through teeth of gold and lips of crimson red,

As she pushes me closer to the loom and the threads that have filtered my heart.

I feel it.

Stronger than before,

Fused within me- we are never to part.

I am a woman weaver now.

*********