purejuice: (martha's prison poncho)
Alicia Paulson is getting very close to the heart of the matter of ritual labor.

She became a fulltime crafter after a terrible accident put her into bed for months. She got out of bed. She got a store. She got a blog. She wrote two books.

Now she is waiting to adopt a baby girl, and she is making outfit after outfit for this longed-for but still invisible being.

She has knitted what many commenters think is the most beautiful dress they've ever seen, and it is very, very fine aside from its powerful affect. It is creating the little girl it waits for.


Ritual labor is form-conferring. And, as RuPaul says, it's not about the drag, it's about the magic.
purejuice: (Default)
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

After 10 years or more in storage in different places, the boxes of Christmas ornaments have been reunited, and it feels so good. There are eleven of them, hopefully including the one with the ornaments made by Grandma Pure and Grandpa, their first Christmas in Puerto Rico.
purejuice: (billy budd)
My Old Hell Freezes Over Friend used to joke about turning into old ladies who read religious pamphlets on the bus.

Yes, please.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I envision and prepare for new beginnings.
As winter makes its arrival, I notice changes on display in nature--leaves gone from the trees, birds flying south and the temperature turning cold. As we leave one season of our lives and transition to another, we may feel a sense of loss. Yet just as the trees use winter to prepare internally for eventual springtime, I know that a quiet time of reflection allows me to envision and prepare for new beginnings in my life.

I cannot hold on to the life that was, but I can fully live the life that is, right now. By embracing the present moment, I find peace in the midst of change. I find hope remembering that in due time, in the right season, my own spring--my rebirth--will burst forth.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. --Ecclesiastes 3:1

purejuice: (martha's prison poncho)
Herringbone Glaze for MCM Stool
Clickez here for the slow transformation of my eBay stool.

And he's going to be glazing this, seen swathed perfickly, bitches, in painters' tape, in a taupe herringbone pattern. Clickez on the pic to get the Martha how-to URL.

What will Santa be glazing taupe for you?

Herrringbone Glazehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/purejuice/5271977293/
purejuice: (azucar)
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

Work on Santa's workshop continues, as you can see. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

But the Moravian star has arisen in the east and it may be the single best $18 Christmas decoration evar. You need one. You need to give them as gifts.

Ditto the $14 acrylic crystal candlesticks. I got three. They were in the bedroom, where they rock, but they had to come out here for Christmas. You need them and you need to give them as gifts. They are Totally Over the Top.


Oct. 10th, 2010 01:51 pm
purejuice: (martha's prison poncho)
One of the erudites on my friends' list is pondering, in locked entries, the spiritual aspect of domestic labor. Without outing them, I'm thinking about it too.

A couple of gnomic sayings:
  • Is it okay to chop onions while you pray? Probably not. Is it okay to pray while you chop onions? Absolutely; this is the Brother Lawrence version.
  • Domestic work is solitary, like the desert. This is freedom and also danger. A man I once met on the Zephyr, going over the Rockies, lived alone on a mountain top in Nevada. I asked him what he did when he got lonely. I think of the work I have to do, he said. This same erudite person who is pondering the spiritual aspects of domestic work has noted (I hope I don't offend by quoting another locked entry but I think it was in an exchange with me) that such dust mite freaks as Harvard lawyer/laundress Cheryl Mendelson are masturbatory. Finally, on my long digressions into femme secession, I noted the beating heart of the controversal Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman, was a moment she noted of being alone in the house, cutting out a dress and icing a cake. This is a form of bliss and freedom, a plugging into the concatenation of the universe which can be seen as constantly unrolling beauty. So this would be domestic work as
  • walking meditation. It's also a way out of
  • fearful tempests of mental turmoil, as Kathryn Duffy, the knitting guru at Interim House, a Philadelphia halfway house has noted for her lady addicts. Knitting soothes the savage breast and can be considered a form of art or meditation therapy. There is the interesting conundrum of
  • Buddhist practice: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Deborah Madison's early vegetarian recipe books are full of Tassajara Zen kneading pizza doughs (and way too much cheese, baby) and sexual betrayal; [personal profile] oneroom has pointed out to me, in re ethical godlessness, the icky sexual scandal which ravaged that whole Buddhist group and whose politics pervades Madison's book Greens. She includes about a thousand pizza recipes developed by her former Tassajara husband (way too much cheeeeeez); the recipes themselves are masterpieces but also slightly incantatory. (As compared to the recipes of the other master writer of recipes, the pastry chef Maida Heatter.) There's the
  • respectability sweepstakes, represented by such online bloggers as Crunchy Chicken, Riana Lagarde, or Sharon Astyk, whose greener-than-thou ethos can do much more damage than it does good. Crunchy's not the only one; there are numberless seceded women writing blogs about killing pigs in their back yards in Oakland, which is apparently the new standard of righteous housewifery, as peak oil millenarianism conflates with orthodox religious ideas (Astyk).
    (My erudite friend is hilarious on the subject of generation Z discovering the virtues of canning. Oy to the vey. These people are not youths, and it is typical of these sorts of blogs (though not that one) to find people stewing up botulins and mistreating domestic animals by, for example, tethering goats in places they can destroy a neighbor's orchard (possibly poisonous to the goats) and not escape from predators. People too poor to make good fences or to take their animals to the veterinarian should not be keeping animals, much less competing to kill more rabbits with their bare hands than their peers.) It's also very much about
  • growing where you're planted, which is why I will never give up reading Alicia's blog, no matter how twee she gets. I am now going to search my bookshelves for a seditious book about embroidery recommended to me by the Intelligent Craftafarian, who has also had to learn to grow where she's planted. Power to the people.

P.S. I just made my own laundry detergent. It is bigger than yours.
purejuice: (Default)
[profile] panjianlien has posted, in a locked entry, about an epic bout with a Chinese dumpling project that she and her hero of the revolution, [personal profile] perigee, have undertaken, which entailed chopping about 40 pounds of veg into exquisite julienne, during which she also had the fortitude to expatiate on the labor-intensive nature of Chinese fud, there being so little fuel and cooking oil you need to cook it fast, there being so little meat you need to make it stretch by chopping it finely, and there being so many extra hands to do so. We discussed briefly, the ditto nature of middle Eastern fuds in which hareems spend hours husking chick peas and rolling kibbeh.

My labors are nowhere near so intense, but I am proud to announce that I am galloping down the home stretch of a contemplated loaf of Pompe a l'Huile that I have been thinking about since October.

I am, in short, sugaring the orange peels I candied yesterday. Labor intensive doesn't even begin to describe it.*

In the end I shall have one of the great (sacramental!!) winter breads, said to be for Jesus' birthday but actually for Apollo.

For the sun shall return. As soon as I get these orange peels put by. I know you're grateful.

*First, I had to eat a bag of oranges. Which, I have to say, with Wheatines and egg salad is truly a repast of the gods. Then I had to beat the saguaros to locate orange flower water, not as easy as you'd think in a former Spanish Moorish colony -- evidenced by the three pound bags of anise seed which is the only size you can purchase at the supermercado. Biscochitos, don't you know.
purejuice: (Default)
There are two different aspects of what I've been calling ritual labor which may represent the two aspects of materialism. The Intelligent Craftafarian is the great scholar of crafts and Americanist materialism, and has recommended books on same, if not exactly copping to a Marxist thing, that I am far too foolish to comprehend. Still trying.

I've been calling the two threads here "ritual labor" and "everything I know I learned getting lost on the 405", and it strikes me that the first is about the intransigence of matter and the second is about its tractability. (Is that what I mean? I must go Google tractable, mutable, biddable....)

Yes, all those things, including the nuances of willing itself to be influenced and deceptive shape-shifting. Mutatis mutandis!

Ritual labor has in it aspects of odium and terror which attend the big medicine of the motives -- propitiating the gods, acting for the honor of the ancestors, aligning one's self with the flow (?) -- Read more... )
purejuice: (Default)
I thought the other day that there were three ghosts which had visited during the Christmas holidays -- and the very slight effort I made to be mindful of the tradition of the solstice effect, which is that the equal duration of dark and light make it a liminal period during which spirits may ascend and descend from the heavens to earth, to the underworld and back again as they wish. Dickens "Christmas Carol", which did as much to create Christmas as we now celebrate it than probably any other event, plugs directly into this other tradition of Christmas as the point in time when spirits may pierce the veil. This is one reason that we like him.

I was thinking that it was my father who had visited, and my grandmother, and a young man I barely knew who died years ago, and then I "saw" my old boss walking down 17th Street, as he was in the 1970s, in the person of someone else who looks exactly like he did when he was alive, 35 years ago.

And because I didn't write it down, I can't now remember who the ghosts were or how they visited.

This is the result of having nothing on my mind but the Aged Parent's 2007 taxes. Just to make sure I understood the lesson, when I went to take them to the convenient post office (parking space, no line, far away suburban) on Boxing Day I found it closed. Somehow, if there has been any obstacle that could be winkled out.....well I'm not even going there. I finally got her taxes mailed off yesterday and can now begin my own Christmas.

I began last night with a viewing of Doctor Atomic and stayed way past my bedtime to do so.

I continued this morning with a croissant, and not sober oatmeal toast, for breakfast, and contemplated the embellishment of the edges of the Clun Forest chevre-scented 'ghan, specially conformed for getting through the holidays sane. Looking at Sophie Callaghan wearing her embellished blanket, I have decided that the east and west edges of the ghan shall be trimmed as alternate versions of a Demeter costume. You won't really be able to see it when the ghan lies folded on the back of a chair, disguised as a slightly funky granny ghan.

So the ghan, as shamanistic Demeter garment, would be worn shawl style over the head, and this edge and how to embellish it is what I'm thinking about. There's a vernal equinox edge, which I think will have tulle, hand-crocheted ecru lace along the edge, and two large white felt poppies over the ears. There will be ribbons to tie under the chin, perhaps, perhaps embroidered in palest green,

Hello Persephone

There will be some kind of cuffs, perhaps knitted, on the corners of the ghan to affix the ghan to your wrists so the hands can be kept free to make the signs embroidered on the cuff:



The opposite edge of the ghan will be trimmed in fake fur, 1 1/4 inch arctic fox, perhaps a velvet edging scalloped to resemble icicles, with a crystal drop at the point, white felt pomegranates with sequin seeds over the ears, chin ribbons embroidered

Goodbye Persephone

and cuffs embroidered, right and left, either





Trust No


which is the preferred tattoo of the Asian Gyrlz Gangsta Crips.

What do you think?

My project today is sweet potato bisque, to try and remember the ghosts, make notes for the Christmas memoir, and work on my Christmas tree decorations. This year, the Lalique dragonfly angel topper, the one-inch voodoo dolls, and the lords-a-leaping garland.

Right now I am embroidering, in glow in the dark floss, on cream coloured charmeuse, the maker's mark pennant for the ghan:

Clun Forest Sheeps' Wool + Touchstone Farm + Amissville, Virginia + 2008

You see how the Blackadder lends itself to really hot embroidery letters. And these are Blue Ridge Mountain sheep, as am I. This wearing of the terroir, crafting a garment of wool grown where I was born, touches on the protective and transformational as well as liminal powers that knitting and crochet have. I'm thinking of the Irish fisherladies and the patterns they knit into the sweaters (waterproof with lanolin, yeah!) they make for their men. Ritual labor indeed.

Perhaps invisible, or liminal, is the way this concentration on one-eighth-inch portions of the world, releases something akin to what James describes as Saint John of the Cross' (? Ignatius Loyola?) meditation methods. There will be a reporters' notebook beside the embroidery scissors to record the recollection of the ghosts.*

[Spelunking in James for the precise quote, I come up with this socko one by R. L. Stevenson, whose reputation is rising:

[As I go on in this life, day by day, I become more of a bewildered child; I cannot get used to this world, to procreation, heredity, to sight, to hearing; the commonest things are a burthen. The prim, the obliterated, polite surface of life, and the broad, bawdy, and orgiastic -- or maenadic -- foundations, form a spectacle to which no habit reconciles me.

[I point out that I would know nothing about R.L. Stevenson if I hadn't written the Christmas -- Halloween -- memoir of Aunt Cherie, and went spelunking in my father's childhood. Stevenson -- nor indeed Swinburne. Certainly they -- the ghosts of Christmas past -- have been the greatest gift of LJ to me.]

Yes, Loyola:

In the Christian church there have always been mystics. Although many of them have been viewed with suspicion, some have gained favor in the eyes of the authorities. The experiences of these have been treated as precedents, and a codified system of mystical theology has been based upon them, in which everything legitimate finds its place. The basis of the system is "orison" or meditation, the methodical elevation of the soul towards God. Through the practice of orison the higher levels of mystical experience may be attained. It is odd that Protestantism, especially evangelical Protestantism, should seemingly have abandoned everything methodical in this line. Apart from what prayer may lead to, Protestant mystical experience appears to have been almost exclusively sporadic. It has been left to our mind-curers to reintroduce methodical meditation into our religious life.

   The first thing to be aimed at in orison is the mind's detachment from outer sensations, for these interfere with its concentration upon ideal things. Such manuals as Saint Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises recommend the discipleexpel sensation by a graduated series of efforts to imagine holy scenes. The acme of this kind of discipline would be a semi-hallucinatory mono-ideism -- an imaginary figure of Christ, for example, coming fully to occupy the mind. Sensorial images of this sort, whether literal or symbolic, play an enormous part in mysticism. But in certain cases imagery may fall away entirely, and in the very highest raptures it tends to do so. The state of consciousness becomes then insusceptible of any verbal description. Mystical teachers are unanimous as to this. 

p. 397, http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JamVari.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

purejuice: (Default)
I'm completely psyched about the work of Sophie Callaghan, who has put her finger right into the nexus of craft, ritual labor, voodoo, dreams of travel/songlines, deconstruction/recycling/resurrection/ and punk globalism.


I hope you'll look at her pix and buy some of her stuff.

I'm still working on my essay about this, and perhaps some day will finish it.


purejuice: (Default)

January 2012



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