Six months ago I asked my talented artist friend Tan, to paint a special piece for my husbands 40th birthday. My husbands father had passed recently and he had lost his beautiful mother several years before, so I asked Tan to paint a piece of his parents. What made this even more special was that Tan also painted a painting for my husbands 30th of our children, which touched us all with with its raw, happy beauty, and hangs joyfully in our house to date. So I knew her work and style was unique, heart felt and simply beautiful.
On understanding how precious and important this painting was, and how family is at my husbands very core, Tan suggested another piece. A story cloth. What is a story cloth you may ask, ‘consider your story cloth as a bit like dream catcher, only it’s a symbol of the catcher’, these are Tan’s own words.
The cloth will bring you together, it is a canvas to leave your mark, in my case my four children and myself, you sit on your cloth in sessions to leave your mark, to tell your story, your messages, from your heart, to connect. To create your marks and symbols and stories for the person you love, and are gifting the story cloth to. It may be better understood from seeing some of the photos below and the words we wrote in our journal as we created our own story cloth.
First sitting, I might mention each marking is thought about and has love and reason that may not seem obvious to all, however meaningful to our family, such as Noah marking alpacas in the snow, my husband will just ‘know’. It’s also not about being an artist or perfect lines and markings, in fact quite the opposite, you just let it flow, with love in your heart for the person you are making this precious cloth for.
First journal entry; united into the centre circle represents Scott and myself circling our children, Lily, Noah, Jake & Zack. Noah marks his alpacas, Zack Mt Warning and a surfboard. Jake marked waves and the sun, while Lily the sun and moon as symbols of mum and dad. I marked waves, a string of love to each child’s heart. Water is a strong connection in our family quite clearly!
Second entry; there were symbols of strength, family names, rivers of connection, symbols of family, love & patience. Marks of where we came from, father daughter symbols from Lil, family tree branches from Zack, first born son symbols from Noah and Jake fun and laughing. Protectiveness and support markings and centring our family from me.
Sittings that followed we saw, my father in laws crazy chickens, (inside family joke), fluffy, our pets, our hands, mandalas, trees, mountains, camping, but love, mostly love is what was captured and marked and able to be reflected upon for years to come.
The story cloth journey for us was such a uniting, joyful and happy celebration of our family, for our family, from the first mark to presenting the finished story to my husband, that we now dearly cherish. It too hangs in our home, like our hearts ever connected on the wall. My husband Scott and I LOVE this piece more than any other in our home for its perfectly imperfect marks from the hearts that have connected us by story forever.
Thank you, thank you our beautiful girl Tan, forever grateful, we love you xxx