These Fragile Things

I’ve been pretty stingy about sharing all the batiks I’ve collected (and inherited) over the years. Somehow I feel like I’m oversharing. You see, these textiles mark a very specific time in my life, and in the life of my mother. She was the one who acquired them all, either by my request, or her whim. When she died, I claimed as many of them that I could find. There were many more than what I ended up with. I remember specific ikats that are just lost or unaccounted for. I don’t know if I can explain in words how that makes me feel. But then that would be oversharing, according to me, right?

So this bandanna is another salvage project from one of the batik tablecloths that my mother didn’t take very good care of. Let me back up: my family hail from the island of Guam. If you’ve ever been to the South Pacific region, you’d know about the intense humidity that hits you like a wall once you step off the plane. That humidity also affects many other things like computers, and stereos, and well, fabric. So this increased moisture ultimately affects the stability of cottons, especially in this case where the table cloth is in contact with the edges of a table, hence the rips.

After cutting them out, I looked at what I could do with the fabric, and since I made a long scarf out of the last one, I decided to cut a bandanna out of it. There’s not really much to it. I spent more time measuring, cutting and ironing than actual hand sewing. My penchant for whip stitching is present here, another characteristic technique I learned from my mom. She showed me how to hem pants when I was young, so it was the first stitch I ever learned.

I suppose it’s something of an overreaction on my part to say that sharing these textiles is oversharing. I know. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the meaningfulness of these fragile things is paramount in my thoughts, and that working with them gives me a very private sense of accomplishment and emotion. It is in these projects that I feel I’m truly accomplishing more than what my polished photography can express.