I have been embroidering beads nonstop (except obviously as I write this) for the past week. I have seven rags done – ten to go. This process has allowed me a lot of time with myself and my thoughts; it might be nice to share. You may or may not know that I’ve been screen printing with grease (you can read those articles here, here and here). Since writing those I have been trying to figure out where the need to spend the time embellishing these objects, that are meant to be used and then thrown away, is coming from. Essentially I am spending hours upon hours taking trash and turning it into something beautiful, and even though they are beautiful we are quickly reminded that they are garbage the instant we smell them. There is also an odd play between the masculine and the feminine in these rags. The grease is pink and fleshy, as are the beads, but they are painted entirely by grease. I have been thinking more and more lately about the gender roles within myself. Growing up I prided myself as being “one of the boys” (if I’m being completely honest, I still do). I love(d) the fact that I could do everything that they could do all while wearing a dress. I was (am) a daddys’ girl, not in the sense that I wanted him to put me on a pedestal and buy me things, but in the sense that I wanted to be doing everything that he was. I was always tagging along with him to the junkyard and spent hours with him in the garage working on and cleaning cars. That’s how we bonded and it is an incredibly cherished part of my childhood. I’ve been allowed to relive all of these memories while sewing this past week and I am so grateful for the unexpected portal to my past that these rags have become. My favorite thing about this project is that my father had a direct hand in it’s creation. He used them in an activity we frequently did together. I got to relive that as I then worked with them. On a side note, I was showing them to a friend and she said something quite beautiful. She told me that they reminded her of a mans shirt/chest, but the kind of loving hard working man that you just want to hug. I love that. I want to give my dad a hug right now.