Wednesday, 17 September 2014

an invitation






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Solace
We live in troubled times. The news is frequently dismal.  Sometimes it seems our beautiful blue planet is under threat from all sides and I for one feel helpless when I hear of plans to send more and more young people to foreign countries as cannon fodder.
Spending a week in the arid lands of South Australia, revisiting a place I left nearly 24 years ago, gave me quiet time away from the depressing news bombardments. Time to think. It gave me solace.
And it gave me an idea.
Reflecting on Emily Dickinson’s “Gorgeous Nothings”, on the beauty of Tibetan Prayer Flags, on Claudia Grau’s lovely wishing trees and on the aleatory [impromptu or randomly generated] poetry that plays a role in my teaching I came up with the solace project. 
The notion of a collective impromptu poem, recorded on cloth, to sing in the winds.
Participation is open to anyone and is quite simple. 
Make a triangular flag or pennon [meaning a personal ensign, derived from the Latin penna meaning a wing or a feather] preferably using a piece of pre-loved cloth.
Stitch on it a word or a phrase or a sentence that might act as a wish for peace or an acknowledgement of beauty, imply a sense of stillness or simply something that  gives you solace. It can be as brief or as long as you like. A haiku, a snatch of song, a word that takes you where you want to be.
Attach ties to the tethering end of your flag as in the sketch below.
Post the flag [preferably packaged in paper* not plastic] to :

‘solace’
c/- The Observatory
PO Box 96
Andamooka 5722
South Australia
Australia


and what happens next?

 
During June next year I will be in residence at The Observatory. 
I shall spend time connecting each of the flags in the sequence of their arrival, recording the words on them as one complete circular poem.
Following this I shall prepare an organic indigo vat and on the day of the southern midwinter solstice in 2015 will overdye the flags in the blue of the heavens before installing them as a circle. if there are hundreds, then a series of concentric circles :-))
The flags will be documented photographically over time and the images and text will be available online as well as in a limited edition book. It may even be possible to make a short film. While I do not have the financial resources to distribute free books to participants, each person who makes and sends a flag will receive a limited edition postcard image of the installation, personally addressed to them and posted from the Andamooka post office. [remember to include your address if you hope for a postcard!]
It is important the flags be made from natural fibre fabrics as they will remain in place following prayer flag tradition, to dispense blessings and good wishes to the four winds...any shreds that part company from the whole must be bio-degradable. Additional decorations such as stone or glass beads, shell or wooden buttons are welcome, but please, no plastic.
Some of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the remainder will go toward maintaining The Observatory. The solace project might not solve any of the world’s long-term problems; I see it more as a simple and beautiful collective gesture of goodwill...a glorious blue installation in the red dust lands.
and I hope you join me.
 
Yoda-san has.









*paper-based packaging from flags will be used in a subsequent project



72 comments:

  1. glorious! wonderful! yes!

    some years ago (after the announcement of the first gulf war actually) I participated in a project for peace at the san francisco library --- calligraphers from all over the world sent a message of peace on a standard sized piece of paper - these were then turned into lanterns of peace and strung from the library (and then they traveled the globe) --- it was lovely to see the peaceful messages popping up in various places

    this strikes me as being an equally beautiful idea

    I'm in!

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  2. Grand idea, I'm already rummaging amongst my 'pre-loved'.

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  3. This is a beautiful idea India. I love it. It resonates with my heart and soul. I'm in too. xox

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  4. Thank you! I am excited, love your thoughts.

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  5. Great idea India, I'll see what I can come up with. I feel compelled to do whatever can be done in these dark days.
    Have joined a group called "Grandmothers against the Detention of Refugee Children" here in Melbourne and we are lobbying our politicians. Wish us luck.

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    1. Good for you, Ro. I do wish you luck.

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  6. I'm in too... and I think I'll invite my little affinity group of folk concerned about climate change to join me in making :)

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  7. That would be splendid, Mary. Thank you!

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  8. Love this idea! I have been making collaborative SAORI woven Peace Banners each year since 2006 with many people at festivals, coffee shops, in the studio, etc. I'll look forward to seeing the development of this and where it leads....

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  9. Well, India, what better way to address these dismal times? I too have been weighed down by our ways lately. Thank you for thinking this up... I will join you!

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  10. yes. thank you. so important to feel we are doing something. & i do believe the "something" is quite powerful. likely more than we know. i am SO in. xo

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  11. I'll make one too. I assume this is the observatory in Woomera?

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    1. The Observatory, Andamooka
      a retreat for observation...of many things beyond those that twinkle in the night sky

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  12. Lovely idea. I am presently making a set of flags for a local permaculture garden. Would love to make a flag for this project too.

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  13. I love the idea! Will get to work on one right away!

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  14. What an amazingly GRRRRReat Idea! ox

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  15. Love this...Yes! Size constraints?

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    1. Your flag could be as small as a hand...or bigger. Best not to be longer than five feet, would be tricky to hang lots at that size. But I think irregularity in size and shape will add to the beauty

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  16. What a beautiful idea....lucky to have you on earth....

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  17. love this idea ... i am in xxoo

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  18. i will send one if the danish post will let it come through with out problems , thank you for a great idea

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  19. Good feeling already of being able to do something together, to wing the world in love.
    Thanks. I'm in too

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  20. wonderful. i was waiting for this & then it came to me!

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  21. I was wondering what I could do and you cme up with the answer, thank you.

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  22. I can't get a good grip on the scale of your flag. Could be a kitten or a cat. What are your dimensions for the flag? Thanks. ~jerry

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    1. Your flag could be as small as a hand...or bigger. Best not to be longer than five feet, would be tricky to hang lots at that size. But I think irregularity in size and shape will add to the beauty

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  24. Lovely. This is a similar concept to a project I've been working on with our city's poet laureate. He introduced me to weathergrams - messages to nature, in haiku form, written on recycled paper & hung outside to "weather", thus altering the message & revealing new ones. I've moved the idea forward by staining the papers with plant dyes & adding found objects and stitch as well as creating cloth versions. They will be hung from trees next week to create a "nature sanctuary" - a place for reflection & prayer. We are also offering participatory events so the public can add their own gift to nature. @jkcalladine

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  25. Such a wonderful idea India and yes i'll stitch for peace...........

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  26. India Flint - you will have so many flags it is awesome - I will also work a flag for you!! Here's to seeing them all together - peace is worth working for!! Cheers!!

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  27. Wonderful! I have been working on a similar project for the last four years. http://www.daretotouchthefaceofgod.com. Can we find a way to collaborate?

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  28. what a great idea, I'm in....

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  29. Great idea - I'd love to participate, India. Kind wishes,
    eva

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  30. I really love this project! Are phrases in Spanish included, because I'm latin american and my English is no good at all?

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    1. Use the language you are most comfortable in - and I will include it in the poem in its original form. If people need translations they will google...that said I may have trouble typing Chinese or Japanese characters ...in which case I will seek help!

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  31. such a wonderful project, would love to participate

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  32. I am in... so, just checking, as long as we think it will get to you by mail before June 1? It will be a comforting project as my part of the world heads into winter.

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  33. June 1 is good! In fact anytime right up until I'm standing there dipping them in the indigo vat...as long as they reach the post office in time for me to pick them up :))

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  34. I would love to participate, thank you. What a beautifully inspiring concept.

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  35. Wonderful project.I'll make a contribution.

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  36. Yes!
    Will link to this on my blog (would love to add an icon similar to Jude Hill's Magic Feather Project)

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  37. lovely lovely lovely...
    a flag will be on the way early in the new year.
    thank you india for putting this goodness in the world.

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  38. I might be too late but would like to make one too. wonderful idea

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    1. not late at all...you have until June!

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    2. thanks, I posted mine today. "sunlight falls, my wings open wide"

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    3. Oh, I'm a late comer -- are you still accepting flags?

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  39. India, I know it's very late, but I've made a glad, and will pop it into the mail today. (28 April) Hope it gets to you in time...
    Thank you and many hugs

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  40. So peaceful feeling to have discovered this before June. I will send you a flag. xo

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  41. A bundle of flags are on their way to you from Stirling, Scotland. Sent with love. MaryMc

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    1. that's wonderful, thank you so much!

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  42. hi india, is it too late to this? I have an idea and a good word.. is it too late

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    1. it would need to be posted this week in order to reach Andamooka...remotely located and with only two or three mail deliveries per week

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  43. To whomever may be following this thread and to whomever may stop by here afresh: I am gathering a list of persons who've made a flag / pennon for this project and have posted about it on their blog or website ... this is a way to reference some makers, their process, and perhaps most fun of all, to see the "befores" before India gives them their indigo bath. Please feel welcome to stop by my blog & leave a note that you'd like your name included and I will add it right away. Many thanks.

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