Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mothertree Project Closing Performance

On Friday night, I had the honor of being a part of the performance at the closing event for artist Helen Heibert's  Mothertree Project. It was an incredibly moving experience for me in more ways than I could have imagined. When I first saw the "dress" months back, I was so deeply moved, that when I had the opportunity to be a part of the closing event, I did not hesitate. I participated as a crocheter and was able to hold space as a witness for the dress and the dancers, while crocheting in a circle surrounding the tree, as well as be an active part of the performance. Tracy Broyles, the choreographer accompanied by two supporting dancers  and the six crocheters, represented a beautifully rich diverse age span of women, as well as wonderfully vibrant  young boy who rounded out the group that truly felt like a circle of life. The things that it brought up for me were pretty profound. When I first arrived at the event, I could not believe that my hands had forgotten how to crochet, since I have been unable to do this and other things for the past 3 1/2 years due to pain and 3 wrist surgeries. It is amazing to me that the muscle memory had faded. I felt tremendous anxiety. I had to reach out and ask a fellow crocheter to show me how, and it immediately came back to me as second nature. The brain is a fascinating machine to say the least!
Surrounding a mother earth tree related so personally to my own sculptures and my deep connection and identification with my own motherhood. Then the movement and weaving around the tree, the traditional Maypole dance revisited, which made me think of my childhood with annual Mayday Maypole dances at the local park, which I always loved. Then it made me hold my son Adam in my heart in celebration, since he was born on May 1st, Mayday, 31 years ago. And lastly, and most deeply moving for me was the thoughts about my own mother. She is now 90. She had just canceled her scheduled trip to visit us, since she is not feeling that her health will be supported, traveling this long distance from Florida. She is filled with fear that she will not be able to be with our entire family ever again. We are all filled with sadness and trying to accept this possibility. She was not only coming to visit, but to escort her newly finished crocheted afghan quilt that she made for Adam and his new bride Tiffany. This is her last quilt, since her arthritis is causing her too much hand pain. It was very important to her that she make them this blanket. She has crocheted my entire life. Sweaters and afghan blankets to keep me from the cold, and blanket me with love, throughout the many stages of my life. I have never crocheted more that a misshaped scarf, since  I know nothing more than how to do a basic chain stitch.
The entire event made me think about the circle of life, threads that join us, the chains that bind us,  and the fleeting fragility of life itself, and along with that, the letting go. I am richer for having been a part of this experience.


Sparks of Spirit Glass said...

what a profoundly beautiful experience!
the crocheted links create a powerful literal and metaphorical symbol for the generations you celebrate in your life.

Alisa said...

What a rich and lovely performance piece. I enjoyed reading how it tied into your life, Jo. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the piece.