I am struck by how the word looks very close to “re-silence.” Perhaps that is its origin. For elasticity, the bouncing back after stress, trauma and grief, a period of silence aids the process. Like the elastic in a swim suit or a waist band, constant stretching, with no relief offered by a period of rest, the fibres soon go limp with exhaustion.
January was a period of “re-silencing” for me. A road trip through the desert Southwest allowed quiet sensory savoring, gentle exercise, and a chance for reflection.
Visits to textile exhibits in Santa Fe museums added zest, particularly the International Folk Art Museum. The African bridal dresses and the textiles of the Andes offered an array of intricate, elaborate, and beautiful creations from numerous cultures.
A featured exhibit on “The Arts of Survival, Folk Expression in the Face of Disaster” included symbolic fibre creations representing the resilience of people following natural disasters across the globe.
Quilts were created by women of the Sindh province of Pakistan from excess clothing sent by relief organizations following major flooding of the Indus River. These stunning quilts provided income as well as beauty for the recovery of the refugees.
Another quilt, “Bad News Quilt,” was created by Beatriz “Soco” Ocampe of New Orleans as a representation of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She used recovered sheets and blankets recovered from the home of friends. The two-sided quilt pays homage to the losses of New Orleans lives, homes, and security.
Flags and collages were created by Haitians who survived the earthquake that leveled much of Port-au-Prince in 2010. Young children, calling themselves Ti Moun Rezistans (Kid’s Resistance), collected debris to recycle into collages created with the help of radical arts collective members. The sale and focus of these art works provide income and hope.
Resilience. Bouncing back after ripping apart. Requires re-silencing in order to regain strength.