Thursday, 2 October 2014

Restaging, remembering, reflecting

Reclamation project

As much as I'm pleased to be making new work, it was restaging The Simplicity of Ritual, which was the last proposal my sweetie helped me write, and was performed/created right after I returned to Calgary from scattering his ashes, that has been incredibly cathartic. The yarn shown above was frogged ("ripped out" for you non-knitters) from a sweater I knit in my zaftig days back in the late 1970s. When I started losing weight, it became the top layer when I would go skiing or hiking in the cooler seasons, and then became part of my sweetie's out-in-the-bush wardrobe.

We had already decided that it would become part of Ritual before he died, and the process of turning it back into workable yarn was something that was both difficult and necessary. Appropriately, it both started and finished the knitting.

For the third edition of the Equinox Vigil at Union Cemetery here in Calgary, I was accepted as one of the artists, with the specific purpose of restaging it and engaging in more "public participation" than I had in the original.

Astute viewers of the video might notice a dearth of visitors but plenty of small hysterical moments on behalf of the artist, and I had a sinking feeling that the same conditions would repeat themselves at Equinox. I was grateful that neither did.

Photo by Simone Lee

Here I am, tinkering with the layout of the knitting against the grid, in the afternoon: trying to attach a yarn grid onto a macadam/gravel road with masking tape is a challenge! And then the breeze got up, so I found a rock to put on the most outside ring to hold it down until we started to get the battery-operated tea lights down. As things turned out, the wind dropped shortly thereafter….


All ready for the big moment of me going down to the entrance for the opening ceremony, after the grid was removed, the knitting taped down, and the grid/yarn gently slipped out from underneath.

Photo by Derek Mah

I had bought 72 tea lights, and figured that would be far too many. Was so surprised and grateful that despite a couple of non-functioning ones, we ran out quickly, and I had to resort to picking up every third one to recycle them twice (the reason why they appear to be in groups of two in the photograph above), and even after that, we had another twenty or so more people walk it without placing a light at all. With more than 400 attendees, my calculation is that one-third of them came to visit me tucked in the back at the top.

Just an amazing experience.

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