I sit in the bay window at the back of the house, morning light over my shoulder, enjoying the antics of the juncos and blue jays at the feeders — and — hooking a Kenyan sunbird. My mind jumps to Louis MacNiece and the poem I first encountered in high school. The world soundlessly collateral and incompatible…crazier and more of it than we think, incorrigibly plural. At 18 I had only the slightest notion of the pluralities, the incompatibilities and incorrigibilities to come. I contrast the world of my small Ontario city with its birds pecking in the snow and the world of Matangwe Kenya with its glories and its desperate needs. I will be there again very soon, planning to hook again with the local men and women, to create some beauty and hopefully move a little closer to a sustainable enterprise.
I am hoping that this year we will hook some of the beautiful flowers and birds around Matangwe. I decided to begin with a sunbird using some dyed nylon hose I had. I was trying to capture the magical incandescent colours. Last year we worked with t-shirts, and of course, my goal is that all the materials we use will eventually be sourced locally. And yes, I will pack t shirts and hose into my duffle bags this year. But we will also scour the local markets to see just what is available to hook with and see what beauties we can create with local goods. I am inspired by the hooking being done in Guatemala. Below is one these rugs which was on display at the Textile Museum in Toronto last spring and here is a link to Jen Manuell’s work there.