One of the most pleasurable things I’ve found to making things is the state of being purely in one’s mind, before hand is put to textile, thinking about what one wants to make, what one will use, and how one will go about it.
It’s like a kind of puzzle. It starts with a germ, like, “I’d like to make some textile that reflects my experiences with 321.” And then questions, like, “What did 321 mean to me? What memories do I have about it?”
And as often happens, I find my memories of the physical reflect the metaphysical and emotional undercurrents of that time.
So my thought process for beginning this weaving went something like this:
If I’m weaving, I’m working in color. What colors reflect my experience, and what do they mean to me in the context of 321?
Joyous dancing in yellow and black, wearing golden and bronze bangles, with one grey accent.
Yellow feels to me like the purity of my motive for being there, the joyousness I found in dancing all night with bass rumbling my body, loving my body and the feelings it came with, the friends I brought with me, the place I was privileged to come, the older dance and fashion icons in the crowd, the music.
Grey is a transitional non-color. This was a difficult time for me. I was fourteen, a virgin, socially pressured to give that up, lonely, unguided, estranged from my parents who were estranged from each other, and turning to my sister for support and not finding it because she was having extreme difficulties of her own.
Black is where it all went. We got older. I gave up that virginity and started drinking more and more. I severed my access to my own feelings of love in order to avoid pain. I went away to college where I knew no one, and the drinking grew more pronounced.
My father died, and ditto. My boyfriend, with whom I was deeply in love, rejected me, and ditto. I moved to San Francisco, and I went off the end.
Since I started writing this post, Oakland, California has suffered the worst municipal fire in its history. So far the Ghost Ship fire has claimed 36 lives, and counting, as the responders search the rubble. The Ghost Ship was stuffed to the rafters with artists, LGBTQ folk, bullied youth, young and frightened people of color, and people who love and support them.
They were doing what we were doing at 321. They were sheltering in the safest haven they could find, in a very unsafe world.
This is a short, heartfelt, well-written article that beautifully articulates our love of these spaces, and the circumstances that lead up to the tragedy: https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2016/12/04/it-could-have-been-any-one-of-us/
RIP, Nick Gomez-Hall & Cash Askew