Recently, some friends of mine traveled to India. When one makes such trips, taking many pictures is de rigueur -- not only to document one's travels, but also to share the experience in some way with those of us not as lucky to have been along on the journey. My favorite photos in the collection were those taken of people. People browsing in the market. People sitting and talking. People being people. I was taken by the simplicity of these scenes. Yet each was dominated by a complex vibrancy. A weathered man sitting with legs crossed, simple clothing, sandled feet, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. A person selling food from a booth. An elephant trodding down a jungle path. A water buffalow tethered to a tree. But around them was a world of color beyond imagination. Lush vegetation with jewel-toned blossoms. The market: brightly painted house fronts one more brilliant than the next. Bowls mounded with spices: yellows, browns, reds. Women: silk draped, human flowers bathed in color. A celebration of life and light. A company of three, demure, bashful, sitting fuchsia-veiled along a trampled sod path, look up briefly from their conversation. I was looking through a window into Heaven's garden. What place on earth can be anything like this, were it not made for divine feet? A muddy farmyard, a cluttered and chaotic street, a lived-in house strewn with sleeping mats. All illuminated with color. A mythic, mystical place where rude earth and sublime beauty are so intrinsically intertwined that any boundary is blurred between them. Here we come to know more clearly the ancient creation of living beings from clay: Prometheus in all his names and traditions forming creatures in his hands, breathing in the spirit and releasing each into life: creative creatures reflecting the nature of their maker.
As fiber artisans we share a distinct connectedness to the earth and the beauty that comes forth from it. Plants that draw life, harvested and spun, woven, and fabricated for our use. Living creatures, whose hair is shorn or combed to become beautiful things for our benefit and well-being. Colorful silks from Heaven's garden, spun together into a thousand flowers.