an exploration into ritual and sacred space
I was in the yarn shop for hours, taken by the variety, quality and colors of the yarns around me. It’s an overwhelming feeling to be in a shop made of wood, housing that many soon- to- be repurposed sheep coats. It had completely teleported me- outside there could have been a pasture. The woman behind the counter could have been a shepherd and the man knitting his mohair scarf near the window could have been the herders wolf. I touched as many sheep as I could, even the ones I knew I would never use for my blanket. High and low, crawling to the backs of the shelves to pull out a hidden color or texture. Silky, rough, stringy, thick. Deep reds, bright yellows. Though they were all unique in their own right, none of them had gripped me. While I was overwhelmed with the variarty and quanity, I had a hope that I would find something a bit less manipulated by dyes or the spinning process. Eventually, as I was slowly working my way through the last wall, I found a shelf in the bottom corner that held skeins of pure white wool. I reached down to pick up a skein and I knew I had found my sheep. Soft, pure, vibrant and alive in every strand, it was glued to my hands. The Shepard told me the coat I was holding came from the south of Germany, sheered last spring on a small family farm. I gladly bought the skeins and purchased alongside it a fitting pair of wooden needles. Two tree branches to help me walk through the mounds of fluffy wool tucked beneath my arms. Keeping my new treasure close to me I began the journey back to my bedroom. This was the last time I would see the city for nearly four months, and gratefully so. The wool proposed to my senses a different universe than the one I physically inhabited- when I was with the wool, I was away from concrete, people and noise. The wool was my quiet pasture and with it, time stilled. The wind changed. My body found a different rythym. When my body was in deep listening to the wool, I wasn’t simply calm or meditative, it was as if I had entered a different time or state entirely. My decision to use pure wool on the piece was not one out of financial rationality but rather out of a primal need to be in contact with something real, to feel closer to the earth. The wool allowed me to make a ritual out of the creation of the blanket: each moment I spent with the yarn became an act of sacred piety. A time to be in the pasture without leaving my bedroom. Each time I held the pure, undyed wool strands, some of it discolored due to the sheep’s uneven coat, I was rooted unmovable in nature’s thick soil.
photographs; taken in Ireland, 2017