Listen. Our Objects Speak.

My Grandfather’s Wool Carding Equipment

This morning, Max and I went to one of our favourite off-leash areas in the city… a beautiful ridge area… a long stretch above the  Bow River irrigation canal.  The wind was literally howling today, especially during a walk on such an exposed piece of land.  The tall dry grass was flattened, reaching east and pushing again and again while the wind shouted.  One of the most amusing events was the hovering presence of a immature Bald Eagle for the entire walk.  Most of the time, he/she was directly above me and finally broke downward and captured a field mouse.  From there, a brave raven made a huge effort to intercept the catch.  The two birds flew in tandem, diving and circling and soaring; one defending its prey; the other, not easily discouraged, attempting to steal it.  I was in awe.

Snowflake  Pattern: Cowichan Sweater

When, finally, we returned to the van, I turned to CBC radio.  I enjoy listening to IDEAS in the afternoon and The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers.  In the context of the sorts of things I’ve been thinking about lately, the interview with Sylvia Olsen was so relevant.  What she says about history being linked to civilizing/fusing of cultures is very interesting.  There was a progression from the Salish design being used in weaving to the eventual introduction of needles by Scottish men as a way of civilizing indigenous women.  The Cowichan sweater became a remarkable archive…in fact, as Olsen would say, the sweaters became the stories.  I think that there is an obvious link between the hard work of a people, attention to an aesthetic and careful consideration about function.  The concept of history/story being contained in our objects is evident.  I need to read her book, Working With Wool .  I find that this connects me with my own paternal grandfather’s connection with wool.

The Mule

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