My 70th Birthday
I began 2023 with thoughts of my July birthday. Seventy years! It felt rather significant-- worthy of commemorating. To me, anyway. So, I began a list. I numbered down 1-70 in my journal notebook. I began reflecting on this life of mine, one year at a time. I began to write a word to summarize each year. I didn’t spend lots of time with each word. I let it come rather spontaneously, yet noting key events or situations of that year.
Words are most often the impetus for my art making. And each of my 70 years words began to take a stone/rock-like form in my mind. I spent lots of time, conversations, and energy trying to determine the materials, process, and presentation! Finally, by February I was carving out Styrofoam rock-like forms and covering them with a lightweight fabric. As usual I assembled and sewed my hand-woven textiles with colors, shapes, embroidery, buttons, beads and trim to express each year’s word. Then the process got rather tricky! Cutting each completed year’s “artwork” into a pattern that would cover each new irregular, stonelike form, spreading on textile adhesive, and stitching it to cover the form was quite an undertaking! (I will say that I did get more efficient after my first 30 or so!) I chose to run a nylon fishing line through each new stone to keep them in order. I embroidered the year’s number on each stone and also a scarlet thread on each beginning with my 15th year, the year of my salvation.
It's been quite a “Rockin’ 70!
10 The length of our days are seventy years--
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away, ...
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands.