Thursday, December 5, 2013

on my drive up to gros morne at the end of october, heading to a month long craft residency in woody point, 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 severe 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 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 then 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 the bay and gros morne mountain. every evening i would embroider a body part on a piece of cloth..
sometime during the next day i would walk to the tree, dip the cloth in the nearby brook, place it on my 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 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. compassion. friends who visited me in woody point added their own clouties.

on the last day of my residency i visited the tree at dawn and hung the last cloutie.

this past weekend i was back in woody point and in the middle of a snow storm i visited to the tree. all the cloth was wrapped in on itself. keeping warm. i'll see it again in the spring.


Robyn said...

So beautiful in every way imaginable! I esp. love that last photo...

Susan said...

A lovely synopsis of a beautiful project Shawn!