Friday, March 15, 2013

Rag of the Day Digest: The Whole Winter

I can hardly believe that I have been away from this the whole winter. I have kept track of your blogs and stayed in Magic Diaries with the ever amazing Jude Hill, but it has been an unusually busy time with no evenings 'long enough' to post. But with Spring in just a few days, I had to start posting.

Part of the problem is that the four finds I have had folded on a table awaiting documentation are each kind of strange. I just haven't figured them out. But here goes.

January 2013, frozen solid in roughly this shape, on the boulevard on Grey Street. It had a round imprint on top, presumably because it had been sitting underneath a garbage can during the day before the night I found it. Burn test tells me it is mercerized cotton or linen. It is the most luscious, soft but sturdy cloth and it is this perfect walnut brown. One edge is machine hemmed on a home machine. It is just a beautiful piece of cloth, found frozen into a little block with the imprint of a garbage can on the top.

January 1 or 2 2013, one side of a collar piece from a blue nylon coat. Found in the middle of a narrow path along the river near weekend park, the day after a 36 hour windstorm. The kidney bean-shaped holes are certainly chewed by a squirrel. The wind had been so intense for so long that every trace of anything that could be whisked away by the wind was gone. Except for this. And so I think it is kind of special.

December 2012 Weekend Park. Parts of a light cotton jacket that once had a black lining. Wrapped completely around a thin Box Alder branch that had dipped down into the river during high water in the Fall. It was wrapped so thoroughly around the branch it looked like a giant cocoon. The cloth to the inside of the bundle is in good shape, but the cloth on the outside melted away when I washed it. Once an extremely ugly jacket, with a fussy little collar, shoulder pads and puffy sleeves. The stripes are printed on one side, not woven in. But it is a beautiful cloth.

Mid-December 2012 Bathurst Street. A salmon coloured cotton men's pyjama top. I broke two of my rules with this cloth. First, I ever so lightly bleached it when I washed it because it had a lot of road-filth (oil, who knows what) on it. Thus, it turned this very light pink. Second, it had been deliberately made into an object of art by someone else- someone had tied the sleeves around an empty cardboard box, had knotted them in the front and pulled the shoulders up around the edges of the box. I had walked past this configuration many many times as wind and who knows what moved it from one place on Bathurst to another. It was the most poignantly beautiful thing. It was a sculpture of a hug. When I found the whole thing crushed by the snow plow I brought it home. I never otherwise meddle with other people's deliberate and artistic interventions of this kind.  

Walking by the river tonight I can see it is higher than it has been in three or four years, and is staying higher for more days and hours than it has in many years. After a terrible drought last year, all this flowing water inspires hope. And of course it makes me think about what will be washed down stream, what will be dislodged, what will appear and where.

Thank you for stopping by. I have new updates to come on the 2013 blanket, but they will have to wait.


  1. I thought of you just today...and here you are! My new commute has many discarded clothes, many times I think of you and your dedicated work.

  2. so good to read these introductions...and how they
    are in keeping with one another somehow already. they
    are perfect What If players.

  3. you always seem to find rich pickings lol

  4. So good to see you are back, can't wait to see what you will be creating and posting.

  5. I have really missed your posts, so glad you are back