Johanna is unstitching two dreams as she sits on the bench on the corner of her front yard, mimicking the call of the owl she heard earlier this morning. Hu-hoo. Hu-hoo. Then she growls, softly. Gives a short, sharp bark. Her dog comes running. Sad black Labrador. A man walks past below, across the parking lot. Carrying what looks like her neighbour’s garden gate; a wrought iron beauty of lilies, roses and thorned stems.
Her hair is very long and curly. Tangled, wind-whipped. She growls again, this time louder and for longer. The man looks up; stumbles under the weight of his loot.
Johanna’s first dream: Inside a shop filled with old artefacts, botanical fossils and vintage horn, seedpods, old maps, skulls. Glass domes covering floating foetuses. A man she recognises from her neighbourhood walks – his wife owns a shop much like the one in her dream – enters and asks if he could assist her. B appears, and asks him to print an image onto two clay tablets that she discovered in a corner, among larger pieces of cream-coloured bisqueware.
The man frowns; says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, and suggests a larger format – points to a framed image hanging on the wall.
B shakes her head. “I can’t have that in my house,” she states firmly.
Johanna lies down, on her back, on top of a massive wooden plan cabinet. She closes her eyes, half-listening to B arguing with the shopkeeper. When she opens them, waking from a deep sleep, B lies next to her, with the man lowering himself onto her. Johanna watches as they kiss; a tender kiss full of longing. She watches their lips part, with a thin thread of saliva collapsing onto B’s bottom lip.
Johanna slides from the plan cabinet and walks away. She waits for B in the entrance hall, next to a tall cupboard with closed doors. Eventually B appears, pulling at her clothes. Her face a mask of silent fury. She opens the doors of the cupboard and pulls out a bottle of red wine; part of a treasured collection. Then ransacks the room for more precious things, which she stuffs into her bag.
Clearly she feels that she is owed something for whatever it was that just passed between her and the owner of the shop.
Glass Invertabra Collection by Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolph
Over 3,000 models were created by glass artisans Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolph. The commission began in 1886, continued for five decades, and the collection represents more than 830 plant species.
“Let’s go, I’m done here,” B says, ushering Johanna outside, onto the narrow front stoep of the shop, then down the steps to their parked car.
Johanna runs back to fetch her bag, forgotten inside. The man is still lying on top of the plan cabinet, curled on his side. He is crying. Next to him lies a slim, disembodied Barbie leg. A small black tick is crawling on its plastic hide.
Johanna’s second dream: Arriving at a very smart home in Knysna to talk business of some sort with a smartly dressed and efficient woman. Everything Johanna feels she is not. They walk outside, onto a beach – a dream holiday brochure beach – the woman seems very blasé about having so much beauty in her back yard.
Hidden Beach on Marieta Islands, off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
They end up at a restaurant where they sit next to each other, facing the ocean. Tall windows, graphite velvet curtains. Very, very upmarket.
‘Oops!’ Johanna yells as the window in front of them is suddenly covered by a huge splash of wave.
The woman continues to blabber on about ‘the kind of person she is’ – not to be trifled with – while the surface of the entire vast ocean rises and rises, now filling their entire view. Johanna sits paralysed, watching the dark body of water pressing up against the windows. She can feel them vibrate, straining against the weight. A droning sound fills her ears. She knows that she is seconds away from her death, yet feels calm, focusing on the deep, droning sound. As she turns to look at the woman next to her, the glass buckles and bursts, the curtains are ripped away, water engulfs everything.
Photo: Image: sky underwater
Johanna inhales deeply and wakes up, holding her breath. Wakes up to the soothing rush of wave to shore in the far distance below her home.
Dreamtime is fertile; glass eggs suspended in air.
I am still stitching a lot in my artmaking lately; stitching and knitting and raveling and unraveling. Stitching – the in-and-out of the needle – leads to unstitching memory and dreams, leading to more dreamtime, and memory-making.
No beginning, no end.
The Luminous Energy of Noogi, the cat. Nr. 2
The delicate plant-lace in the centre is the outer sleeve of a dried Chasmanthe floribunda bulb, which my granddaughter discovered one day (near the grave of a beloved cat) in our backyard.
As with dreaming, it seems impossible to keep one’s self out of the picture when creating.
Everything is connected.
Trying not to get in the picture