Date of this Version
Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.
When a Dutch curator invited my students and me to join an international group of felt makers to create felt balls for peace, I sent mine to them encased in barbed wire. My life has been marked by war. My Dad fought in the Second World War, my high school colleagues in the Korean War and those who returned joined me as freshmen in college. My husband served in Vietnam and various acquaintances in my hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey served in the first Gulf War and now serve in Afghanistan and Iraq. At age 4, I was so frightened by the nightly news broadcasts about World War II that I grabbed a couple of pillows and dove under the bed in order to be safe if the Germans began to bomb Williamsburg, Virginia. Being older, I was more circumspect about my behavior during the Korean War and rarely sought comfort in a cloth. Vietnam was another story. Each evening I was alone in my little kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland. (My 2 children enjoyed time with Daddy while I did the dishes.) So - armed with my dishtowels, I fought many losing but very pithy verbal battles with the likes of Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger. I broke my share of dishes but felt so much better at the end of my battles for not only did I cleanse my kitchen but my very soul as well.