I finished my first “starter architectural mat” as Dr Shawn Brigman refers to the 5ft by 6ft mat. Shawn WilliAm BrigmAn reminded me of key differences between mats and “architectural mats”. Vertical weight bearing mats need more internal support. I was thinking about that as I stitched my two anchor rows thinking ‘man, I think I should have another row between’ but my back was crippling me so I finished it. Thankfully it is easy to sew new rows between. I will be more diligent in sew spacing on the next mat.
This transfer of knowledge is super helpful and good to know as I had the methodology coming back to my frontal lobe from our lectures last fall. I have holes in my memory sometimes but thankfully the embodied gestures make the words and text reveal the logic.
I had to get a plastic garbage can which Emily and I had to haul 2 X 4 litres of water at least 8 times for second stage soaking. My mom, Sister and I went to Wenatchee Museum in October to learn from Wanapum master mat Angela Buck who made it clear to make sure all the reeds get soaked well and that takes time because you are waiting for the reeds to rehydrate. I had to gerry-rig a cap on the mat to hold it down in the water. The reeds just want to float. I have been multitasking story telling ideas, mat making helps me process my performance ideas with practical knowledge.
Embodied gestures wear thumb nails where a dent marks the spot where the hemp digs into my nail as I am sewing. I get talking to much and then suddenly the hemp finds a path of it own and reaches the other sew line but hey it is my first. I am no expert not authority. I am a baby learner learning for the first time again how it feels. Embodied gestures speak volumes. Emily and I were blessed to have elder marsh artist Barb Marchand spend time with, as she looked at our work and reminded me “just finish it like that, this is your teaching mat. People will get a lot of knowledge out of your mistakes.” I am always fearful of mistakes. I have to do it right… I don’t take criticism well. Negative attention is not my goal, but the way Barb teaches me is gentle, loving and caring. She reminds me I am learning and I am doing a good job transferring the knowledge to the youth through direct action. Training the next master is more my role I think. My first mat has wonky inner stitching and not ideal reeds but it stands up all by itself. Just goes to show you don’t need to do it perfect, it will still work as long as you follow the steps with good intentions.
Follow my progress on Facebook here Sqilxw Apna
December 21, 2018, 7pm at Head of the Lake Hall I am hosting an evening show and tell, bringing our work out of the studio to show and tell the story of their influence and creation. Archives from Senklip Native theatre will be displayed with spoken word poetry and storytelling under the Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe, around the tule mat tipis. Admission by donation.
The next day Saturday Dec 22 there will be a Craft Market at the same address. These events are open to the public