Saturday, February 27, 2010

Job 10

I am back reading in Job. I am terrible about this everyday stuff! I think the only thing I have been truly consistent about so far this year has been taking my daily shower. Seriously. That is how bad this not-having-a-schedule thing has become. ugh!

Anyhow...back to Job. This excerpt i thought was so lovely and amazing how it is nestled in Job's plea for God to remember that He made Job. Once again I am showing my crafty side in what sticks out to me, but I really think making metaphors are interesting!
Job 10:8 Your hands fashioned and made me,
and now you have destroyed me altogether.
9 Remember that you have made me like clay;
and will you return me to the dust?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
12 You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.
Of these three 'making processes' in this scripture, I have experienced two to a meaningful degree... and I am betting that if you guessed which one I had not experienced from first thought you would probably be wrong. It's knitting. i don't knit.

I have however experienced both clay processing and cheese making, and these being mentioned really excites me. i feel a little bad about once again being so excited about a making metaphor in the middle of a tragic story, but these sorts of metaphors are so often lost on our lives of modern convenience.
For instance: cheese.
After living in India for a short time we realised our need for cheese beyond paneer was serious. Ian and I are good midwestern/northern stock and we love cheese. I mean... we really love cheese. this was not helped by living in Washington DC only a few blocks from Eastern Market with a fabulous cheese vendor, and then moving to London for a stay where cheeses from all over were easily available and for a price our meager student budget could easily handle. Moving to a place where cheese as we knew it was difficult to find was... well... difficult! So, when we came back to the states for what was supposed to be a short visit we decided to use our ample time to try our hands at the craft of cheese-making beginning with a simple mozzarella. Ian chronicled our cheese-making escapades at our friend Matt's foodblog.
It is a time consuming thing making cheese, but it extremely rewarding not to mention economical and fairly simple. From what I can tell, patience is the main ingredient. The curdling happens like magic. After heating and adding ingredients and stirring the soon-to-be cheese curdles mysteriously.
Even though it is really more of a chemical reaction that does most of the mork for me, i couldn't help but feel like I was accomplishing something with that cheese. It was so creamy and working it in our hands was fun and rewarding and left us with some of the tastiest mozzarella i have ever savored.
I honestly have much less of an interest in store bought mozzarella now (which is actually minutely tragic).

I think it is interesting how Job calls himself God's cheese. "Hey! Remember me?! I am your cheese! you made me! Why are letting terrible things happen to me?!"
Job gets that we are lovingly made and doesn't get why a creator would let terrible things happen to a creation.
I think that is a good question... without an answer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Job 7

I'm a little behind in the reading I realize. I woke up at 5am this morning thinking "crap! I didn't read any of my RSS feed today which means I didn't read the Bible reading. ugghhhhhh."
If you know anything about me you may know that I am not a morning person in the least. That being said I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep for another 5 hours or so when i woke up and came downstairs to eat my cheerios and get caught up on all of my reading :)

So... here we are. I skipped a day in terms of my blogging, but I wanted to just get back on the horse here. So we meet up with Job in chapter 7 after he has had his friends tell him that God doesn't punish people who don't deserve it and that he should be more Godly in the previous chapters. Job has innocently said "but I didn't do anything wrong.... I don't understand!"

So here we are in Chapter 7 where he is telling us about how his life is hopeless. Wow. One thing I find especially fascinating about Biblical texts are the crafting metaphors. I know this is solely because I have 'make stuff' fever, but it really helps me understand what is going on and I feel connected with generations of makers who this scripture was written for.
In verse 6 Job says "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle and come to their end without hope."

This is super sad stuff. A shuttle in terms of weaving is "a tool designed to neatly and compactly store weft yarn while weaving. are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft." Thank you Wikipedia. That little stick in the hollowed out area of the shuttle above is where the thread is stored.
Anyway.. this got me thinking... I had seen a video of a weaver who brought his weaving outside as an experiment, so I wanted to see once again how fast a weaver's shuttle moves. I've never had a chance to weave on a big loom so my experience is mostly with clumsy home-made looms form cardboard, so my shuttle never moved very quickly, but i think you'd also be hard pressed to ever get anyone to agree that I was a weaver. SO... check out the action on those shuttles as
textiles artist Travis Meinolf weaves.

I don't want to downplay Job's suffering. I personally feel like a slave of time regularly. How quickly life is speeding past and I am not stricken with the pains that Job was enduring. This metaphor really strikes me.
The part that makes me perhaps the saddest is the second half of that verse where Job says that his days are "coming to their end without hope." I have been trying to think about what a shuttle coming the end of a row without any hope would look like. It could be that there is no more weft to be done and that the piece is finished, but that doesn't seem hopeless to me. If a piece is a finished then you have a great textile...which is far from hopeless. Instead I have imagined that somehow the yarn on the shuttle has been severed from the rest of the tapestry and is merely following the shuttle back and forth without producing any weft or product.
As I said before, I am not a weaver, but I am a hobbyist sewer. I love my sewing machine and have a difficult time living without one. I just bought a new Janome Mini sewing machine that is about half the size of a normal machine and weighs in at about 5 pounds. It is itty bitty. I love the little thing although it can be tricky once in a while. I have been spoiled in the past with my big beautiful Brother machine that is nearly idiot proof. I have hardly ever had to mess with any settings as it deals with the thread tension on its' own and has all sorts of helpful features. It also allows me to be a little sloppy in following some of the rules I should be paying attention to. One of those things that I have been told over and over again is to manually pick up the stitch at the beginning of sewing a new line. This more or less means that I turn a dial with my hand in stead of letting electricity handle it for me. With my big machine i have found I can get away without doing this, but the little machine is teaching my the importance of doing this and has caused me much frustration.
This is where my connection with Job comes it. it has happened to me a number of times now that I have begun sewing thinking that everything is fine and watching my needle go swiftly through the fabric pulling the tread behind it punching along... only to realize as i pick up the cloth i have just stitched to realize that in fact the bobbin thread never picked up so it is in fact not stitched at all but just sort of hole-punched by my needle which tucked the top thread in making it look sewn. Oh frustration!!!!
This is the closest I can think to a hopeless shuttle. It doesn't pick up anything so it has gone through the day without producing and now it has nothing to show for it and the fabric falls apart.
Poor Job! What a sucky way to pass through your days.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Selections from Job 1-3

Here's the reading I'm exploring from.

"Job 1:2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east."

I and the Village by Chagall

"1:10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land."

Jacob Lawrence
Street to Mbari, 1964

1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
Lithograph entitled "Job" by Oldrich Kulhánek
2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Matthias Grünewald
(c. 1470 – August 31, 1528)
detail from The Isenheim Altarpiece
3:25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
and what I dread befalls me.
26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest, but trouble comes.”

Untitled, 1930 Marianne Brandt


I've decided to take NCC's year-long Bible reading challenge, but I thought it could be interesting if I went searching for illustrations to the scripture I'll be covering. I may be making my own collages, but for now I am going to throw a couple things around with using bits and bobs from art history :) Some will be literal and some will be more free-association.
Check out their reading schedule to try and keep up!