Last fall, on my way to the yoga studio, I saw something in a designer clothing shop which intrigued me. In the window was a jean jacket. The back of the jacket was painted, boldly, with flowers and scrolls and curlicues and one other thing - the word "Artist" in dynamic letters above the flowers. How interesting, I thought. Who would buy such a jacket? Surely, an artist would design her own jacket; besides, most of the artists I know couldn't afford the many hundreds of dollars for the purchase price. Who else besides an artist would want such a garment? I never discovered the answers to my questions. The window display was changed and the jacket vanished - sold or not, I never knew.
That jacket started something, perhaps something unintended by the original maker, but a something for which I'm grateful. I'd been toying with the idea of stitching my tapestry samples onto garments, but, well, see the first paragraph. Adding tapestry to a jean jacket was my favourite notion. I'd worn jean jackets in my younger days. There's a bit of a rebel image attached to these garments which still appeals to me, although those younger days are long gone. Practically speaking, jean jackets are sturdy, able to support the weight of tapestry. They don't required continuous cleaning, so I wouldn't have to remove my work very often. The more I thought of that painted jacket, the more the idea of a tapestry jacket appealed to me.
Soon after I saw the store display, one of my sisters gave me an old, worn jean jacket. I took this as a sign and began adding samples. These are the first swatches I attached. (Thanks to my niece, Kasha, for the photos of me modelling.)
Each piece holds memories - the lotus was woven to mark the completion of yoga teacher training in 2014. The bottom band, "Winter Count," was a diary woven for my fortieth year on the planet. Many of my swatches resemble landscapes, perhaps because I feel most at home in a field or a forest, near mountains or water.
This is a work in progress - I'm adding swatches as the mood strikes. Although I play with the placement of each band, there are times when the design will be balanced and times when it will not, which, of course, is exactly how life goes. One day, the original jacket will disappear, buried beneath the fragments made by the weaver's hand, leaving behind marks of collected memories. Just like me.