charlee huffman – Poetry – An Artists’ Trinity Project

Posey, Lobi and i met the first day of orientation as we were beginning our respective journeys at Union. Lobi and i were sitting, having already gravitated to one another (i think Lobi just wanted to sit with Rachel… but in so doin she got me too…) and i remember seeing Posey walk into James Chapel. She was all long hair and long skirt and i felt like i was seeing an aspect of myself — i immediately moved my things off of the chair next to me and Lobi and i made room for her. Over the next several years we took classes together, prayed, studied, laughed and sometimes cried. We made a vow not to use the word ‘hermeneutics’ in a paper during our tenure at seminary and i think we managed to uphold that oath. Most importantly, the three of us (four including Rachel who was ever present) shared time, and in so doing we were able to share that ineffable quality that makes someone identifiable as sister.

When Posey asked me several years ago (my how time flies!) to share some poems with her for this quilt project i was honored, surprised and intrigued. Not knowing much about ‘domestic arts’ (indeed darning socks is about the extent of my ability in the realm of needle and thread) i had no idea how she might incorporate the written word. Looking through my work i wasn’t sure what to offer, nor was i sure that ‘ink and fabric’ would work together in a coherent way but i trusted the vision of my friend and chose three poems, “The Revelation of Gethsemane”, “Algebraic Order”, “O Felix Culpa” to contribute to her work. The poems i chose were meant to be reflective of the domestic sphere, indeed much of my work can be described as ‘domestic’, which is to say that it reflects the experience of the particular, making no ‘universal’ claims per se. Now that i have seen her finished work and the way she has included not only the poetry but also the visual art work of Lobi Redhawk, i understand too that Posey roots her work in the particular, using the minutia of life to broadcast a ‘big picture’ vision. The way she included not only three art forms but also stitched three artists (and beloved friends) into a coherent whole reflects ‘dialogue’, a way of allowing the work of distinct artists to speak and listen and in so doing she creates a space in which the viewer becomes no more or less important than the artist(s).

Each of us will see different aspects of these quilts and will connect to them in ways that are perhaps unexpected. For me, some of the most powerful visuals are on the backs of the quilts where the evidence of bareness and function of the art form is profoundly visible and where the contributions made by Lobi and myself become a seamless aspect of the whole. The backs are the ‘function’, a raw space that is uniquely ‘Posey’ and yet is evidence of the contributions of others and illustrates the circularity of life/death. Making friends has never been particularly easy for me, i find it much simpler to avoid the breath and cling to the words but for whatever reason Posey and Lobi have been woven into my lie and i consider them to be a gift of Wakanda. For this i am profoundly grateful.

 

back to Artist’s Trinity Project