THE GOLDEN THREAD
With this current series of work I began to remember her, and her surgeon's skill for dissecting old garments. First, off came the buttons. Then any interesting adornment. Finally, out came the thread. Every bit it took to construct the garment.... I don't know how she managed but there would be at the end a neat pile of it. Strong. Relatively unbroken. Ready for reuse. Perhaps even with the same fabric it would show up again as a pillow cushion -- or even kitchen curtain trim. An unknown health issue left my Grandmother handicapped as a young woman, yet I never heard her lament her fate. Quiet and self assured, she taught me how to use color, unbridle my imagination, and to be courageous and independent... American poet William Stafford says: "There's a thread you follow [your entire life]. It goes among things that change. But it doesn't change... While you hold it you can't get lost...."
In January, I discovered Anne Bethel Spencer, a Harlem Renaissance poet. Anne was the first African-American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry. Also an activist for equality and educational opportunities for all, she hosted such dignitaries as Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Weldon Johnson, and W. E. B. Du Bois in her home, and her now famous garden.
....I look at the string of consciousness that has lead me to this point in my work and smile. I think my Grandmother would approve...
To learn more about Edankraal and how to tour the house and gardens click here.
Left: My maternal grandmother Esther Marion Webster.