i've been pondering things archaeological of late so it was somewhat serendipitous that i received news today [via the Mendocino Handspinners and Weavers Guild, thank you!] of a garment found in a retreating glacier
click on the picture to wander to a sequence of images
you'll find the story here
Moving to the desert land of New
Mexico has presented me with a wonderful opportunity to study the local
windfall and learn to use them in the dyepot. There is a rich tradition
in this state from the Native American dyers, the Navajo in particular
who use the colors from the land, wild walnut, prickly pear cactus,
sagebrush, chokecherry, ironweed, juniper, pinion, etc. As we drove
from Tennessee to New Mexico, I paid close attention to the landscape,
moving from the greens of the hills to the browns of the desert. Takes a
close eye to see the myriad colors in a desert landscape.
we got settled , I was gifted with an abundance of thrift store cotton
cloth from a dear friend. Our rental house came with a little garden,
filled with Spanish broom, lilac bushes, chile peppers, corn and a
grape arbor; all extra gifts to be put in the dye pot. Right behind
our home, a dusty sandy trail filled with sagebrush, chamisa, desert
willow, wild aster and more plants and wildflowers that I will come to
know. The smells of the sagebrush, an incredibly expansive sky that
changed hourly, wind that welcomed and at times, fiercely so. Across
the street, fallen blossoms from more desert willow trees would fly
across the street as if they knew I wanted them. We
drove about 60 miles from my home and the land abruptly changes, deeper
canyons, the dark green of pinion trees, brown, tan, clay, burnt
umber, red, mauve all found in the cliffs along the way. Since
dabbling in the dye pots, it has been my custom to stitch a piece of
recycled cloth with the local windfall or from what I could glean from
my garden. Here it seemed especially important to honor this vast and
so very different landscape that I have come to love for its ever
changing gifts. In thinking of the difference in just 60 miles, I have
made a cloth that I call Tierra Arriba, Tierra Abajo, the Spanish words
for land above, land below. Finding myself in this place continues to
be a gift with long echoes, all the way back to my own roots as an
immigrants daughter whose parents came to the United States from Spain.
Jenni Worth has been doing some investigative deconstruction and supplied the following text and images
I did undo the stitching & I did take it back to ask about the
writing carefully folded inside & this is the response the person I
bought the dress from received when he sent it to a friend for
WOW! how interesting. This looks like an old “Taviz” for sure. Taviz in
our culture has its own significance and mystical power and influence on
Usually week or in-secure people (mostly women) go to muslim scholars or
peers (saints) and request to write them a Taviz for their respective
problems in lives.
A Taviz has this typical scripts that contains Quranic versus and names
of Allah and some prayers. Once it is written it is then kept in the
shape of locket around
the neck or can be tied to any other part of the body in a leather case or cloth. People believe that then it protects and helps
I forwarded this to one of my friends in Peshawar today who further
showed it one of prominent muslim scholars of the turkoman community
According to him this must have been written in olden days as we don’t
see such writings among Afghan Mullahs any more. They are more cultures
and defined today
but this seem more genuine and authentically written. Let me try to narrate what it means:
The three letters on the very top are the urdu digits meaning “Bismillah
hireh man nir Raheem” (I start with the name of Allah the most gracious
Meaning Of the first line: These are Quran verses that means: Right Hand
of any man or woman who steals should be cut off as a punishment”
Second Line: Not Quran verse but it says: By the power, grace, and barakaat of the immortal and eternal
Third Line: Not Quran verse but it says: By the power, grace and barakaat of the invisible force of strong men
Fourth Line: By the grace & power of Saints and Prophets, the stealer should appear and should never hide
Fifth Line: By the grace & power, barakaat of Hazrat Esa and Moosa
Sixth Line: By Grace & power of Hazrat Ibrahim Ya Allah
Again the 3 digits and in the box the writer of this Taviz calls Allah by saying:
Oh who protects from the evil & who is the most powerful & merciful
Oh who is Living & shall always Live
So I think the pathani who had this dress must have had this Taviz written and kept it tied to her dress so that
no one could steal her belongings or assets from her.
Lastly ---- the script number 2 demonstrates the stamp of the Mullah in the shape of star and on the right he
writes “DAFI OEN” that means Protector / Savor From The Evil Force”
How blessed am l to be carer of such a treasure!
And thankyou 'Star of the East' for your comment. You were absolutely correct about that small bag.
Amulets & talismans from different cultures have long fascinated me.
This is one of my favourite treasures which l assume has Buddhist
prayers sealed inside.
It is made of leather & metal but I have co-opted the concept & am making my own pieces using fragments of old textiles.
I will take some pics to show some examples & paste them here soon.
Is anyone else doing anything similar?
changed this summer in regards to the class I usually teach at the Mountain
Lake Biology Station and instead of teaching students, we would like to host a
group of working artists in July.
email is to inquire as to whether you or other artists you know may want to
spend time on a mountaintop in central Virginia working independently alongside
other artists and scientists in a beautiful and cool, (as in temperature as
well as style), natural setting.
the link to the Mountain Lake Biology Station:
This artists’ collective at Mountain Lake that I am proposing in this
email is a pioneering project.It
has never been done before and its organization maybe a little bumpy.
What MLBS would like are artists at
their station during the summer.They know scientists work better when artists are around.This year they established a MLBS
visiting artist-in-residence, and their first artist will be Ana Golici.
Ana will be in residence during the first 3 weeks of July and we would
like to invite other artists to join us at Mountain Lake while she is there.
Artist could come and stay
anytime or all the time during July 1 – 22.Cost would be $47.50 a day which would included a room in a
shared cabin with other adult artists and 3 meals a day at the dining
hall.There would also be one
classroom that would serve as a shared studio space with other artists.Because of the limited studio space,
artwork that engages the environment and/or doesn’t require controlled studio
space would be best suited for the residency.In addition, artists whose works cross over into Biology and
enjoy creative exchanges with scientists will get more from their time at MLBS.
let me know if you are interested in being a part of this in July, or pass this
along to another artists who might.Once I know there is an interest, I can proceed to how one might go
about registering for time and space at MLBS.