Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Raw and Brave


Mnemosyne (thankyou) wrote a comment on my last post regarding a feeling of rawness when completing a personal work, and the bravery of posting it. I would like to respond. I will address rawness first, and then bravery.


As a child I incurred an ugly wound on my inner calf whilst riding a tricycle with a spiky pedal. Through my tears I could see raw calf muscle. It didn't hurt much, as I recall, because the wound was quite deep. It was a wide wound and today I carry a wide scar. The scar tissue is silver white and paper thin. It would be easy to pierce. If I inadvertently pierced it I would, again, see raw muscle. My raw muscle. Thus, my rawness is covered, just covered, by thin, thin skin.

Yes, I feel rawness at completing 'How Raven Wrecked a Wedding'. I have hardly a skin to cover the rawness. I feel as if I am putting myself on the worst kind of line. Exposing myself to myself. In finishing this cloth I feel as if I have taken a piece of charcoal and scrawled my faults all over the world; taken the finest pencil I can find and gone beyond the universe with the tinest words I can write, listing all my failures. However, despite intense discomfort, I have also experienced liberty in this process. I have released an inner space in which to take another step forward.  I am building my portfolio of experience.  jude has described this incisively as 'continuing'.


I do not feel it was brave to post my storycloth. I would have a year ago or even three months ago.  Posting my first cloth in judes beast class was very difficult. But I did not and have not finished that piece ('Harbourmaster'). Recognising my difficulty with finishing things (and following 'rules' in general) led me to work on a forest cloth, 'Raven's Bad Trick' until near completion.  It was wild and pretty unplanned. But it was in the process of working to completion that I learned so much. Part of this learning was in the actual posting of it amongst the class. I was not put down, I did not feel stupid. I just felt determined to get better at making cloth. Really though, it wasn't just not feeling put down that prompted my determination.

It was also in the receiving of right words of encouragement that I was strengthened for the next step forward. I was fortunate in that I was receptive to right words. By right words I refer to psychical, spiritual 'right' words. Through beast class experiences I grew to trust a group of women. Women who are also on a cloth journey. This trust is combined with a timing in my life whereby my feet are both facing forwards on the same road.  A happy combining that has led to me begin a blog and post my storycloth.  I wasn't brave in posting 'How Raven Wrecked a Wedding' because I didn't need to be. I trust these women of cloth, and I am making strides in trusting myself.


I happily acknowledge those who posted comments to me over the long weekend. I needed them because, although I didn't feel brave, I did feel raw. Very raw - and thus a bit brave too, I guess. I hope my post today expresses my appreciation. But in case it doesn't I will state it explicitly: I value every word given. I know sometimes these words are written in haste, sometimes with a great deal of thought, but they are nearly always written with insight. I will let your precious comments settle inside me for awhile and then integrate them when I write a critique of the cloth component of  'How Raven Wrecked Wedding'. In many ways I do not want to write a critique but doing so will allow me to more fully lift the blinds on my discomfort and rawness. I want to look at myself right in the face. Now that might take considerable bravery.

At close of weekend needle I had assembled several base layers for small cloth. I had also begun snapshot story scenarios on most of them. This is in line with wanting to have several pieces on the go at once. I had a great weekend of stitching and will post about it as the days unfold.

Happy stitching and many thanks, Gilly


  1. all so beautifully said. it is nice to be among like-minded people when 'exposing' yourself in your work.

  2. yes... i know what you mean... i am still new at letting people see. raw is a good word. and its ok to be that way.

  3. i think i always feel raw online....:) and it's such a difficult form of communication. inflection, tone, and mind set seems lost sometimes.

    but especially raw once i've shown something i love and put myself into. even to those i love. i stand back and think

    gosh this is going to hurt and i think letting anyone into that place, where real hurt can occur, takes bravery.

    i try always to keep a sense of humor with it though, with everything online and in life, blogging, creating, sharing, should be fun enjoyable activities that bring joy

    not a feeling of pain or seriousness. so sometimes i'm slap dash and light hearted because life can be dark, but it doesn't have to take me with it.

    i loved your raw bravery and loved it even more so because i know there is so much more to come!

  4. it is so nice to be on this journey with you. so important to have traveling companions.

  5. Gilly, you have described it so beautifully and so truly. For 12 years now I have been talking in front of groups of women about several pieces of work that were very painful to make. Each time I wonder about sharing these particular pieces; but each time a woman comes up to me at the end telling me how my story has helped her.

  6. great description kaite, really important to recognise all this, and it all makes an amazing place.


  7. Thank you for talking about rawness... you were the source of inspiration yesterday :)I dedicated a post to you