The Prairie Princess
As I anticipate my journey eastward to Newfoundland, I think "What can I bring?" I can bring my deep excitement to have the chance to visit a part of Canada that I love. And I can bring a piece of the prairie with me. On Pearl Ann's base rectangle, I began to lay out a patchwork of colour that resembles the Nose Hill Natural Area that we see out our bedroom window. Fall is such a beautiful reflective time and a time of hard work of course! And so I embark on the long work of creating a story image in fabric.
This is an image inspired by my illustrations for a story that I have created called The Prairie Princess.
This new princess was out chasing ladybirds, making sure they found a good winter hideaway before the cold set in. Little did she know that after some pain of loss, they would lead her again to a place deep under the hill where she would find wisdom. There would be a family outing, the loss of a prized possession, and then a solo journey that would bring her more than she bargained for.
The story of the Prairie Princess was inspired by our daughter Julia. It began with a family incident that occurred when she was 5 years old. The story has expanded over time somehow.
This year Julia is on a Rotary exchange in Turkey — far away from us for 10 months. She is living with a Turkish family, going to school and doing her best to learn the language and fit in with the culture. We are very excited for her and are living out her experience vicariously by the stories that she sends to us.
As I have worked on this square, I have had the chance to think about Julia and reflect on my story. I have stitched in the company of my mother who is a prairie girl at heart, transported to the west coast. Since she is confined to a wheel chair and needing to be still much of the time, we sat together and sang while I stitched. I sat stitching while my mother-in law and told of living in the Peace River country long ago and moving 12 times by the time she was twelve! I have sat in one of Mary Hays Storytelling classes listening to Marie Anne McLean regaling us with tales from her Story Save CD set.
Taking the time to stitch and reflect is pure joy to me. I love the way the image takes shape almost of its own free will. There is no firm master plan but I respond to every stitch as it adds to the scene. I take my place beside the first storytellers, the wise crones who wove tales while their hands worked magic with wool or thread or whatever materials they had at their fingertips.
Such is the way of the storyteller. We weave tales with the thread of thoughts and dreams that we capture in the moment and offer this creation to our listeners.