“Love is the Answer” project, part 1

March 5/18: (I decided not to publish any of these until i had a certain amount of work done on my part of the project , hence the date at the beginning of the post. You might have seen some of the drawings/work though in previous to this project posts 🙂 )

I’ve been a long time follower/reader of Mo Orkizewski (Mo Crow) at her It’s Crow Time blog in Australia. I admire her spirit, her ethics, her art and her outlook on life. In June of 2017, she conceived a project, based on a line from her equally talented partner’s song “I Dream of a World”, that has become a hugely collaborative art installation, slated for display in 2019 at Artsite as part of a show entitled “Braille for the Soul”.

Now, long time readers will know that i “hold no truck” with arty proposed “solutions” to world evils, from folding paper cranes for Paris’s Charlie Hebdo tragedy, to prayer flags for whatever cause, or “craft for peace” days. It’s not that i think groundswell movements can’t change things (because alas, our sad world has so many problems), but that people use these as excuses to pay a moment of goodytwoshoes my piece about peace is more important than your considered opinion and actions about HOW to/that do actually make things better for SOMEONE.

*My* answer usually is go small, be small. Contra-indicative? Nope. Because i/you will never stop any of the depredations that man commits upon man, that man commits on the world, on Mother Nature, on women, on children (and by “man” that’s the generic human species, not specifically the male sex–though given the current climate in the US happening right now with the confirmation hearings, that’s a debate well in fury right now…..), by practicing origami, hanging rags on ropes in a breeze, or blessing fabric in the sea. Going and being small does not mean either that one is selfish–i mean go small, be small, as in sharing what you have with someone who truly needs, in your own part of the world. It is a small thing on a global or universal scale, but it helps someone/something immediately. Prayers don’t fill bellies, warm hands in -40 temps, or show any true kindness.  Be small when you volunteer, donate give ( i don’t like the word donate with all its connotations of old clothes that don’t fit, or that you had enough money to mis-spend and really don’t care, or a 20 dollar bill once a year in the Salvation Army kettles because you feel guilty and seasonally magnanimous at the same time…), help, compliment, show respect, share gloves and scarves, a sandwich and coffee, a five dollar bill to someone scraping for busfare or cans in the trash, hold a door, pick up someone who has fallen on the ice, because small is big for some. If you can make ONE day better for ONE person, doesn’t that say more for your humanity and soul AND theirs, than all the frickin’ paper cranes in the world???????? And maybe THAT person is the one who DOES change the WHOLE world.

Off the soapbox. So WHY then would i contribute gladly to a project like this? Because to me, this one does say something–it’s the joining of a lot of viewpoints from around the world, expressed eloquently, calmly, lovingly and full of hope and concern, with intent, expression and heart that goes beyond slapping some felt letters on a scrap or finding the prettiest paper at great expense to torture into a symbolic shape.

So within the context of the show, what does “Love is the answer” mean? Love, true love***, whether platonic, romantic, pantheistic, or spiritual is, on a broader truer scale, about respect. It does not use apologies as manipulation, is inclusive, does not contrive, never obligates, does not keep a ledger. Love guides and supports, connects and strengthens, complements, enhances and shares. Love is moral, thoughtful, questioning but not aggressive, does not judge, is constant and patient. Love is not guile or a weapon. I re-iterate: Love is Respect.

So, anyways, off the box again 🙂 Mo sent me one of the “pennants” to do with as i wish. (The fabric is from a very old wedding dress.) I took it apart first, as the layers can be re-assembled when the work is done.

I did an alum pre-mordant, assuming the cloth was silk, but there was no madder dye uptake, then realized it was a synthetic after a burn test spattered some on one of my fingers! Then i spent two weeks dithering about what i was going to do next, staring at it, shuffling bits on and off it, having multiple “Eureka” moments that withered very very very fast, and thinking i was going to completely ruin it —–and Mo was going to politely say “oh that’s interesting” while privately wondering why the hell she had sent the original to me at all…….

This will be a layered process, something i have done before, but not a lot lately. Building dimension and story this way means the elements won’t be fighting each other. This is the “first” layer, though in the end, it’ll be the background, and not all visible. I deliberately stitched some areas so that they looked as if they were fading, rubbed out. (Unfinished at time of photography.) Not only is negative space important, but it will be more effective once the next layers go on.

Greyman thought i was embroidering him a wide tie 🙂 , but *his* choice of words would have been quite different!

July: A mock up for part of the front, still being worked:

August: and good progress on the back, as of the middle of August:

Stay tuned for “part 2” and maybe one more: one post would be waaaaaay too long!!! And of course, an “Artist Statement” 🙂

“Love, true love”*** does momentarily give me a giggle as i remember a particular scene from “The Princess Bride”…..


6 responses to ““Love is the Answer” project, part 1

      • this project has taken on a life of it’s own, there is deep magic in circling the world with love and intent & not everyone is stitching into the cloth. My beautiful nurse friend Penny keeps her pennant on an alter in her house & holds it each evening as the sun goes down, she isn’t making a mark physically on the cloth just filling it with love for our beautiful broken world.


  1. Oh Arlee, you can get on that particular soap box of starting small with what you can actually achieve any time you like! When I was teaching, way back in the dark ages, our small school took part in a symbolic act one Christmas and made a paper chain that encircled the playing field and I have to say, any peace and understanding took place around the table as children who hardly had a conversation all school year worked alongside and helped one another . . . but the ‘circling the playing field bit? Meh!
    I love what you’re doing and I’m beginning to think a trip to Sydney might be in store for me so I can see all the creations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: powerful magic from Arlee Barr | It's Crow Time

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