The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Author: JeanneHC (page 1 of 4)

113, Envoy: Mary (or Merry) Ellington

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Today’s Envoy is Mary Ellington, also called Merry Me or just Merry by folks like me. I’ve had the good fortune to become friends with Merry here in the ethers, and I count myself incredibly lucky that our paths crossed. We have much in common, Merry and me – it’s almost like we just fell in beside each other, nodding in agreement and understanding as the other one talks. She’s a creative woman who loves cloth and writing (didn’t I tell you?!), and she writes with an earnestness that’s not stagey or pretentious, she simply writes from the deepest, purest part of her heart . . . which happens to be where she lives, too. Merry – Sugar, I thank you so very, very much for being an Envoy and taking Nancy and us with you on your recent trek across country to be with your daughter, Wendy and her new husband as they celebrated their union. What a treat to be with you, what an honor. Your Envoy excursion is so much fun!

Mary/Merry writes about the first set of photos:
Here are the pictures I took. I saw and did many new things while in Seattle. With the cloth in my pocket, I felt like I had Nancy’s hand in mine and we shared the sights and sounds together. Did you ever take your kids somewhere then stop for a moment to look at something only to turn around and they are gone – G-O-N-E? I admit to having that same panicky feeling a few times when I thought I’d lost the cloth. But, like stray kids, it always turned up safe and sound. The only picture I wanted that I didn’t get was one of the cloth in the cockpit of an airplane. I was just too frazzled getting on or off to even ask. I am so honored to be a part of this collaborative project.

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Loved the title of this book in the Underground Seattle Gift Shop



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Merry Me and #113
in front of a Native American Totem Pole
in Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA.



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Inside one of the largest/oldest toy stores I’ve ever seen. Pioneer Square.



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Flowers galore at Pike’s Market



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With hydrangeas in a sidewalk garden



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With the crows Illuminary created for the celebration



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At the King Tut Exhibit, Seattle Science Center



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With sunflower, Wendy’s wedding


And if those weren’t delightful enough, Merry found more photos she’d taken!
About the second set, she writes:
The pictures here were taken at my sister’s home in Selah, WA – over the mountains from Seattle. It’s called high desert and looks the part. All the green vegetation of the mountains turned to dusty brown hills. Anyway it’s full of apple orchards.

My brother-in-law is a self-taught landscape architect. I think that means he likes to dig holes and plant trees! What was once a big horse pasture is now a mini-arboretum. I took pictures of Nancy’s cloth early in the morning when there was still dew on the ground – on a grapevine, in the apple tree and amongst the lavender.

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~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

112

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It was a day much like her drawing. Coming almost full circle. Layered. Going deeper and deeper and deeper. First, one of my favorite transitions – crossing the bridge, seeing the water and clouds – as we go from airport frenzy to full body sigh. There’s something about horizontal lines that calms me, soothe me, restores me.

Horizontallines



Remember how we took Nancy to ride in Angela’s convertible when we visited last June? (That’s the visit when she made these 167 drawings, you know.) Remember how we couldn’t get her out of the convertible? Remember how I said in my best Miz Scarlett voice “With God as my witness, this womanchild will never ride in anything but a convertible so long as I live”? Look at that face. I rest my case.

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And that I’m-a-girl-born-to-ride-in-a-convertible smile? It never wavered. Even as I type, our Nancy is sleeping with a face aching from a day-long smile.

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I turned the camera on us and said “Smile, Nancy.” One look at herself on the screen, and I got my smile. Think somebody might be a little on the hammey side?

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Nancy completed her pages in the Sketchbook 2013 Project. Now I’ll get to work on mine and get it sent off before the holidays.

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I trekked down here with a backpack filled with watercolors, paintbrushes, sponge brushes (in case the watercolor brushes were too small for her to comfortably handle). I brought a little cloth and some yarn. Just a small assortment of different art supplies to see if she was interested in partaking of something new. My plan was to bring her to the hotel room where we could be quiet and let her focus on her art, but as it turns out, we were busy the entire day, so that didn’t happen. But I did have four sketchbooks (which she filled) and an assortment of richly colored markers (which she used). Turns out the markers were better than pens because she has a tendency to draw on the side of the tip and pens don’t like that but markers are fine with it. Before I’ve taken composition books, but this time I took bona fide sketchbooks, and I like that heavy textured paper much better. I don’t think Nancy cares one way or the other.

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This, my friends, is the joyful face of creating. Of making art. Of expressing. It is how she looks as she draws. I’ll swannee, I can’t decide if I feel more glee from watching her or from joining her.

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She filled four 9×12 sketchbooks today, and besides the magic that is Nancy and her art, besides a visit with Kathy (Nancy’s State Coordinator) and Penny (former caregiver extraordinare), besides the beautiful scenery and a day spent riding in a convertible (Nancy’s not the only one around here who likes that kind of thing), the Found-Delights Haul for today includes a feather (from a rather large bird who apparently had a rather bad day), a partially encased nut of some kind, and a hatless acorn I managed to get to before the squirrel. Is there a common thread here? Oh I definitely see it, do you?

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~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

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My daughter sees a cat in this drawing:

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Tonight’s stitched version is presented here by
Simon Hukin (center), his son, Matthew (left) and daughter, Sydney (right).

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and here by Matthew Hukin (left) and Alexa Echevarria (right):

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Simon, Matthew, Sydney, and Alexa are actors
in the upcoming production of
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
presented by A Company of Friends
on October 25, 26, 27, and 28
in Fayetteville, GA.

~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

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Commandment number one of any truly civilized society is this:
Let people be different.
~ David Grayson

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~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

109

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My heart quickened when I opened the latest issue of HandEye Magazine to read an article penned by Yumiko Sakuma about Shobu Gaskuen, a rehabilitation facility in Japan for mentally and physically challenged individuals. The facility opened in 1973 with residents working on projects as subcontractors. Then, when a new director came aboard in 1983, there was a shift from taking orders to making their own creations. Being fluent only in English and Southern, I have written a friend of mine (my thesis advisor, actually – a woman whom I absolutely adore) who lives in Japan for help in translating the web site and helping in finding out more about the organization. I am gobsmacked, as you might imagine, cheering right out loud when I read this sentence in the article, a quote from Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada who has visited and written about Shobu Gakuen: “The artists at Shobu Gakuen are free of value judgment and conventional ideas about what art should be. They live in a freer world than we do. So in a way it is natural that what they make is beautiful.” I see Nancy stitched and drawn and written and woven all through that sentence.

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Oh, and those 3 brown things to the left of the stitched version of Nancy’s drawing? They are buckeyes. For good luck.

~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

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Her 108th drawing:

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My 108th stitching:

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Day 2 of the Storytelling Festival started with a car pulling into the parking space right beside us. “Hey,” called out the smiling woman driving, “didn’t we park next to y’all yesterday, too?” They did. How’s that for a needle in the haystack moment?

I didn’t sleep so good last night, and during one of the many wake ups that punctuated the night, I hatched an idea. An idea that pulls together several things I love. I’ll tell you more later, but listen: after we parked and made our way to the bus, I spied a man’s work glove. Husband was kinda’ channeling his dad this morning, so I just bent over, moved the glove from the road to the sidewalk, then kept going. But as we waited in line for the bus to arrive and ferry us over to the storytelling festival, that glove called out to me, saying “Hey, remember your idea? I’m where you start.” And nothing would do but to run back (and I mean run because we were third in line, the bus was coming, and remember – hubs was already not in the best mood), pick up that glove, and tuck it in my pocketbook. We didn’t lose our place in line, and I smiled all day thinking about that special find, reaching in and patting it every now and then. Found some other objects during the day, too, as you can see in the photo. It was a good day for found object loot. There’s a story in these objects – you know there is – and it’s already brewing. Hey, take a close look at that turning leaf – do you see the face? Here’s another shot:

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~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

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First, she draws:

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Then I stitch:

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If you like stories, take a few minutes to trot over here and help yourself. We’re at the storytelling festival this weekend. I bought myself a thimble for this year’s souvenir – an old, well-used, dented, and tarnished thimble. Seems about right.

Thimble2

~~~~~~~~~

She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And pssst: there’s a pinterest board, too.

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She draws:

Then I stitch:

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It’s tired out tonight. Will be sitting, stitching, strolling, and storying the next 3 days. Stay tuned . . .

~~~~~~~~~

Nancy is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And there’s a pinterest board, too.

101, Envoy: Laura Fincher

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Today’s Envoy is Laura Fincher.

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Laura says:

Reminds me of grandmother’s hat. She never went out without it. I still have the hat, though it’s a little crushed now. This drawing also reminded me of a circle in a circle and how life is a circle and we are running around in one.

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I met Laura when our children were in third grade. I was elected to some PTO office, and I “convinced” her that she wanted to serve, too. Thank goodness she’s never held that against me and continues to love me anyway. Laura met Nancy once . . . Many years ago, I brought Nancy home for a visit, and I took her over to Laura’s house for lunch. As we got to the door, I remembered that I’d completely forgotten to cue Laura about how proud Nancy is of her “pretty red hair.” Not to worry, though. We knocked, Laura opened the door, and as Nancy crossed the threshold, Laura hugged her and said “What pretty red hair you have.” Well, don’t you know that from that point on, Nancy didn’t have another thing to do with me. For the rest of her visit, she was glued to Laura’s side.

I also find it interesting and endearing that Laura photographed the so-called wrong side of the cloth. The side showing the uneven, imperfect stitching and the knots. (Yes, I use knots.) I used very thin cloth in this project because it seems fragile and ephemeral and near-transparent, just like Nancy. And like Nancy, the inside – the so-called wrong side – is just as unapologetically visible as the so-called right side. Whether intentional or not, I’m quite touched and not a bit surprised that Laura did that, given the sensitive, intuitive, wise woman she is.

~~~~~~~~~

Nancy is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And there’s a pinterest board, too.

94, Envoy: Margaret Gillaspie

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Today’s Envoy is Margaret Gillaspie.

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Margaret writes:

On the day I received “Nancy’s Magic Bird” we had been on I-95 and were surprised to see a beautiful American Bald Eagle fly across the road just in front of us. Could this drawing be responsible for our sighting of the beautiful Bald Eagle?

Later that same week, while sitting on my deck in the evening watching the birds at the bird feeder, there was a loud rustling in the trees. I was startled to see an owl perched in the tree . . . Nancy’s magic again? I think it must have been.

Thank you Nancy, for sending your magic my way. Thank you Jeanne, for sharing.

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I first met Margaret at a Toastmaster’s meeting when she regaled me (and everybody else) with one of her speeches. We became fast friends, the kind of friends who can see each other once or twice a year and still feel close, picking up right where we left off the last time we saw each other. Once a realtor – our realtor, to be more specific – she’s now retired and enjoying her adorable grandsons, sharing the most entertaining little ditties about them on Facebook. Go on, click the link and become friends with her so you can enjoy her day brighteners, too.

~~~~~~~~~

Nancy is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning and read your way current.
And there’s a pinterest board, too.

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