I like to make things and give them as gifts. But people don't always want something handmade as a gift. Some folks want something store-bought. Or maybe even just a wad of cash in an envelope. But why get into all that, when I wrote about it last year, anyway? Short summary: these labels were tailormade for the people that love those people.
My scars are a kind of road map to my body. A head-to-toe accounting of injury, accident, illness, or just plain bad luck.
Over my left eye, there is a small white scar that makes a hole in my eyebrow. Chicken pox. I remember sitting in front of the television. I remember my mother telling me that if I kept scratching the pox would scar my face forever. Aged five, I was incapable of imagining the consequences. I scratched. Each morning, I fill in the hole with a Guerlain pencil, "Blonde", and re-think the decision I made.
On my left wrist there are three. The largest two, a skin biopsy to determine the cause of a chronic case of hives. At the time, my friend Mary Anne joked that it would look like I tried to kill myself. Years later, my cat scratched me deeply just above that same scar. The hives cleared up when I moved back to the US. It kind of does look like I attempted suicide.
My right breast has a one inch scar left by a lumpectomy. The lump they removed was just about a centimeter in diameter. It's absence has changed my breast, just as the doctor told me it might, but it wasn't what I imagined. I thought he meant smaller, which would have been fine by me. Instead, my right breast spills over the side of my bra, like rising bread dough over the edge of a pan.
My belly is marked with evidence of naievete. I thought that because I didn't have children I'd be able to keep my figure. Four inches below my belly button a long scar crosses my abdomen and then, on the right side, looks up in a smirk. The skin all around it is slack and numb. Three smaller scars are its constellation - one at the belly button, one where my left ovary was located, and one toward the center. They tried. Too many times. At 3M, my first job, we had a saying, "Right the first time, saves time."
On my left knee, something I will never forget, a massive bicycle accident, aged 9. I wiped out on the pavement in front of my then-house, 961 Absequami Trail, Lake Orion, Michigan. Red Schwinn Three Speed. Just about the time it was healed over, I did it again, re-opening the wound. It would become the small, bumpy, white triangle I still see today. I didn't regain bicycle confidence until I visited Versailles in 1998.
And finally, the inside of my right ankle. A flat, white, one-inch scar left by a shoe when I nearly drowned at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Aged 11. My foot was caught on a rock and the weight of the water pushed me forward and then face down. My sister saw it and came to my rescue. Our parents, barbecuing down the river, didn't believe it happened until they saw my foot.
I love to love the work of Nick Cave. I am endlessly fascinated by his "sound suits", which cross over from fiber art into costume for performance. I love the story he tells in this video from USA Artists. Watch and learn about how he discovered what would make him famous.
Heidi Rettig & Associates (that's me, in real life) is working with a group of artists in Superior, Wisconsin on formalizing plans for an "arts district" in their neighborhood. Part of this work includes temporary public art installations in vacant lots in the area. We hope these installations will call attention to the creative work happening in the neighborhood that residents may not be aware of, and beautify the many vacant spaces. What would you do with a vacant lot?
We had great fun brainstorming with the artists about the possibilities. The idea of throwing 'seed bombs' out your car window as you drive around the neighborhood to flower naked lots with shots of color was brought by Darnell Nelson. Another Superior artist, Karin Kraemer, remembered her year of unemployment in Victoria B.C. as the period when she went around shoving flower seeds into cracks in the cement. A quick google introduced me to the wild world of guerilla gardening. There are just so many possibilities.
SEED BOMB RECIPE
1) powdered clay
2) worm castings or compost
3) wildflower seeds indigenous to the area
5) mixing container
6) stick 1) mix 5pt powdered clay, 5pt worm castings or compost, 1pt seeds in a mixing container. 2) add just enough water to make a nice muddy clay consistency 3) roll up the mixture into little balls like gum balls 4) let dry in a cool dry place for like 3 days 5) throw them in empty fields.
It's never good to come home from a business trip and find one of these in your driveway. First of all, how much does it cost to rent one of these pups? If you're thinking, "mmm...Might be better left unsaid...", then you know exactly how Mike responded when I asked the same question.
Like an idiot, I asked him if he'd driven it yet. He hadn't, and I was pretty surprised. During our remodel, he was notorious for taking the workers' machines for joy rides over the weekend and burning up all of their gas. I must have planted the seed. Not twenty minutes later, I heard the sound of the engine firing up. There must be something on the roof that needs urgent attention!