Unfinished Work

Occasionally life and practice intersect in ways that seem almost too tidy. On a recent trip home I was digging through boxes of my grandmother's things, still unsorted as no one knows what to do with them. My dad wanted to give me some cross stitching she'd done, as he didn't know what else to do with them and giving things to me is the standard response to that (in the best of ways). 

 Images from the 2009 series  Now Look What You've Done , featuring things given to me by my mother and father.

Images from the 2009 series Now Look What You've Done, featuring things given to me by my mother and father.

The cross stitchings were large; they were clearly cushion covers that my grandmother had never finished. Out of some sense of both obligation and delight I decided to take them home and finish them for her, fifty or sixty years later. As I sewed the zippers and piping I thought about that half-century divide between her labour and mine, and what it could mean to both of us as a strange, blind, collaborative effort--neither of us alive when the other completed their share of the work.

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