I've had an unbearably worrisome morning. And past night's sleep and yesterday when I wasn't seeing even a peek of my artwork up on the walls of 'From the Earth Textiles Show.' I zoomed in on the photos that were posted as they set up the show, looking for any sign of my tissue wrapping, the faintest hint of indigo through the paper, a smallish-sized parcel in one of the piles.
I made some phone calls, then took a walk in the humid South Carolina morning, knowing that the profuse sweating had more to do with my nerves than the air. I'm calmer now that I know, somewhere in customs that box is waiting to be paid off (V.A.T.) and an angel with good hands will swoop in with a check.
I don't routinely send artwork to far off destinations for shows. And I'm not foolish enough to think that there are no risks to letting go of my labors to the serendipity of forces beyond my control. But I've been trying to embrace the notion that this will work out, because as Caroline Bell said so calmingly, "A problem shared is a problem halved."
So I exhale and focus on what I can control. Like: I should wear a thimble, because the raggedy top layers of skin on two essential fingers are looking like the maps I stitch. The needle can hit a nerve at crater's bottom when I'm lost in the cadence of practice. I've resorted to wearing a surgical mask when I build or dye with rusty metals. And hands for stitching are as lungs to breathing.
My work is slow, slow. So slow sometimes that I wonder if I'm getting anywhere at all. But my tattered fingertips, and that line of thread they make, are evidence and reminder of a precious and continuing journey for me and the cloth that's stuck in customs.
"Every wall is a door." Ralph W. Emerson