e bond’s Glyphs: A Fabric Collection of Black Women Writers

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:41:04 e bond’s Glyphs: A Fabric Collection of Black Women Writers

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Episode Summary

e bond is a bookmaker,printmaker, designer, and commercial artist. She joins the Stitch Please podcast to share how she unveils the connection between the different subjects of her pieces, the importance of allowing space to create, and the three roles she plays throughout her artistic process. Bond gives an inside look into her upcoming collection on the legacy of language and why her collection is an invitation to explore, create, and honor the creation of Black women writers. Tune in to hear why you should put things out into the world and make mistakes along the way in order to manifest. This episode is a testament to how language shapes creation and what the written word can conjure through an artistic lens.

Episode Notes

e bond’s webpage

e bond’s Creativebug classes

e bond’s Glyph fabric collection from Free Spirit fabrics

Writers mentioned from Glyph fabric collect: Nella Larsen, Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Lorraine Hansberry, Lucille Clifton

The Slowdown podcast

Tracy K Smith former host of The Slowdown podcast and author of Declaration

Ada Limón, poet and current host of The Slowdown podcast

Black authors Lisa mentions teaching:  Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy West, Ann Petry, Tayari Jones, Gwyndolyn Brooks (Maud Martha), Kevin Quashie (The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture)

June Jordan on Philis Wheatley

In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe

Hortense Spillers

Claude McKay

Countee Cullen

Langston Hughes

Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral, There Is Confusion, by Jessie Redmon Fauset

Aracelis Girmay

Zadie Smith

e bond’s cousin, Sarah Bond’s conversation “Threads Across Time” on Stitch Please in July 2021

Zadie Smith

BlackWomenStitch Instagram, homepage, Patreon

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:17

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host, Lisa Woolfork. I am having the wonderful privilege this morning- and so are you- of talking today with a fantastic bookmaker, printmaker, designer, commercial artist, teacher, e bond.

e bond 1:07

Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.

Lisa Woolfork 1:09

This is really wonderful for me, because your work is so engaging and so grabbing, visually arresting right. It is for me at least. It makes me pause when I see it. And so one of the things I wanted to get started with was how do you get started? I know it must be different for the commercial artists versus your own practices. What's the first thing you do when you sit down and say, "You know, I want to make a print? I want to design a journal." How do you do that?

e bond 1:40

One I love beginnings, because the beginnings are full of possibilities and full of questions. And for me, that's where the joy and the spark is. I'm kind of one of those artists that the end isn't really that big a deal. But it's like what kind of happens in between A to Z, it's always just a question. It's always something that I'm kind of interested in where I'm like, "Well, I wonder what...?" or "How did they..?" And then it just kind of spirals off? You know, and reading is such a big part of that for me, because I always am trying to figure out well, “Where would I get an answer?” or “Where would I get another question?” And usually, that's from reading somebody else's something.

Lisa Woolfork 2:25

And the way that you're able to, in reading, and I remember you were talking about this for your Creativebug class, that you want us to connect words and images. You wanted people to have and build a different relationship. I wanted to think about something you just said, because I remember in one of the prints that I saw that you had in your collection, it says "ask better questions."

e bond 2:42

Like how can we ask better questions? That's also even before the asking, right? It's like how can we even as like- singularly but also as a society- ask better questions. Because I think sometimes the root of the problem is that we're not asking quite the right thing.

Lisa Woolfork 2:58

These, I thought, was just such beautiful layering. Some of them feel very much like collage. And then others feel much more broad. And like just one singular image that gets expansive. How do you decide on scale or intensity? Do you decide that ahead of time? Or is it something that you look at the whole piece? And you're like, "This is great," or "This is, oh, this is so great. I can just use a quarter of it." How do you make that decision?

e bond 3:26

It's so funny. Yeah, a lot of those decisions don't happen before, you know. So for me, again, I have these- in terms of process- To me, the creation process is very different from the editing process. And I try to never let those two cross. I feel like they're different worlds. They need to be in different rooms. And they need to be kind to one another. So creation, for me, is just creation. It's play. It's so much fun. It's whatever happens kind of happens. And then, given whatever the set of goals are, say for that project, then the editor walks in the room and then says, "Hey, okay, this is supposed to be a poster", or "This is supposed to be fabric" or whatever. And then we can look at it from that point of view. But I think in the beginning, you have to allow the space just to make.

Lisa Woolfork 4:14

Yes.

e bond 4:15

And I think that's what's so hard for people, because we let the editor in the room way too soon. And the critic and I'm like, "No, I'm not having that. You gotta wait your turn."

Lisa Woolfork 4:25

I really like that. I like the way that you have the creative, the creator. You have the editor, and then you have the critic. These are three separate roles that have three separate lanes or three separate rules. And I feel like at least for myself, sometimes they're all of them at one time.

e bond 4:42

Oh my god, they're all rushing in, right? They all want to be in the room, and I'm like "no, no, everybody has to wait their turn." Like because it's not fair to me as the one in the middle of all these identities and the one who is the maker, the one who is trying to just like get an idea out into the world.

Lisa Woolfork 5:01

Yes. And no use battering it before it even has a chance to, you know, why bother a fledgling idea with criticism.

e bond 5:09

Yeah, no need to be doing that, like life will do that enough. Creating has to be the safe space. You know, when I'm teaching or trying to teach people, I'm like, “Anything is possible here. Like don't self-censor yourself.”

Lisa Woolfork 5:22

And I think it's absolutely true that we are our own worst critic. Before you even get an idea out of your brain, if you let the critic in, then it's like, "Well, I don't why are you gonna do that...cause that's not gonna be no good.

e bond 5:34

And you just got to battle back, you got to be like, "Nope, not today. It's not your turn." Because all of that is useful. Nothing is all good or all bad. So like, the critique, the questioning, all of that from that side is imperative and necessary to making work, but it cannot come at the expense of the beginning, because the beginning has to be free enough for all possibilities to happen. So the beginning is the freedom. And I'm all, I'm just a huge, huge defender of that freedom.

Lisa Woolfork 6:11

I appreciate it. I appreciate you defending that freedom. And I appreciate you elevating the importance of beginnings, and also embracing the full possibilities of beginnings.

e bond 6:24

Yeah. And the uncertainty of it. It's so much about uncertainty. And so you got to just start to be able to be okay with that, with not having the answers, with there being way more questions than they'll ever be answers, and just be like, "Okay, this is just the world we're in right now," in order to make this thing as good as it could be. And to allow for, I think, for me to be influenced, I want to be influenced in those beginning stages by all the things I'm reading or seeing or hearing or whatever. So I guess that's for me,, it kind of starts with just a really small kernel of a question or a thought. So for Glyphs, the thought has been the language. So I've just been in the world of language and thinking about language way before this fabric project came along. So when it came along, I just thought, "Oh, this is just another place for me to think about language."

Lisa Woolfork 7:19

Absolutely. And I think as we imagine language, as a way to articulate deep, intimate aspects of our lives, it's really important for me, at least, to consider that as also part of the creative process: the way that we speak, the way that we talk, the way that we listen, the way that we interrogate, all of that reflects and helps to build toward our wholeness. And that's why it's so important for us to speak life and to speak joy and to speak purpose. And I think that your work does that in so many powerful ways.

e bond 7:51

I thank you, cuz for me, it is sometimes a struggle, because being a teacher, you have to be literate in the language that the world speaks. So in our case, in our very small realm, it's English, but for me, my first language has always been like art, or drawing, or symbols or lines. Everyone is translating in order to be able to communicate to the next soul that they see, the next person. So in some way, whether even if we all speak, quote, English, or whatever it is, they're just all these ways that language is so like elastic- if we start to think about it in the realm of just symbols, and lines, and circles, and so that's kind of what I was doing with Glyphs is I was just trying to go all the way back, maybe like pre language.

Lisa Woolfork 8:39

Pre-written language.

e bond 8:40

Yeah, like, what could this be? What could this hold? So for me, it was these questions of what could language be if it was its very best, or if I could convey every emotion I wanted to get across to someone, because I just don't think our language is wide enough to hold most things that humans encounter. So it was just kind of this dreaming. That's kind of where it started.

It started with the dream.

Yeah, like, "What if...?" What if language could hold everything we experience? That's enough, right? It's just like "whoof!" And I think I started down that road because I used to listen to this amazing podcast called The Slowdown and Tracy K. Smith used to be the host of that.

Lisa Woolfork 9:22

Oh the poet. Yes, that poem, Declaration, I use it in class often.

e bond 9:27

And what I love about that show was- it's only five minutes long every day. And Ada Limón took it over, which is another favorite poet of mine. But what they both are so good at is asking questions. So like the first three minutes is just them ruminating on a thing, what would happen. And I think one day Tracy said something like, "What would happen if the world was new, if we went all the way back and started again?" and that just kinda got me thinking about what would happen in language too if we had a clean slate. We can start over. But questions, it's really just always about questions for me.

Lisa Woolfork 10:04

I really appreciate that so much, because what it helps me understand is that you are able to hold in tandem two ideas that lots of people feel are separate, right? One is the world of fine art and the world of commercial art. Another binary that you're able to bring in is written language and visual vocabularies for that language. It's just really so special to see that. And these are things that I'm able to just recognize just looking at some of your pieces. And that was why the collection Glyphs just spoke to me so loudly. I really felt like it was a one-to-one communication, that you design that entire collection, just so Lisa Woolfork could see it and be spoken to and addressed and recognized by it. Let's shift to talking about Glyphs. Y'all Glyphs...I'm trying to summarize what this meant for me just seeing the images. Glyph is a collection that's coming out from Free Spirit fabrics. And it is a collection that e has created based on Black women writers. I am someone who studies and teaches and writes about Black women writers. My first class teaching at the University of Virginia 21 years ago, now 22 years ago, was Black women writers. I have taught that class for about two decades. It changes right, but some things don't change. You have to have Hurston. I have to have some short stories from Dorothy West. Like there's lots of things that you know, ...I also bring in Ann Petry, because they don't know a lot about her. All of these different artists, Tayari Jones, like so many different. I do contemporary as well as earlier, mostly early 20th century Gwendolyn Brooks, all of these folks that really, I think have timeless essential messages. There's a scholar whose work that I'm reading, and we're using in class, Kevin Quashie. He does a Black feminist analysis of language and vocabulary. And he has this book called Quiet: The Sovereignty of Quiet. In that book, he talks about Gwendolyn Brooks’ Maud Martha. Maud Martha is a book that goes in and out of print alot. It's so unique and so beautiful. There's no one like that character that Gwendolyn Brooks created in Maud Martha. For me to have such a deep and intimate connection to Black women writers from my academic and intellectual labor and then to see it as someone who created and convened Black Women Stitch as an organization to center Black women in sewing- that Black Women Stitch is the sewing group where Black lives matter. It's a way to kind of convene and pull in Black women, and the Stitch Please podcast does the same thing. And we've got you know, now like 120 episodes, all talking with Black women who are doing something in sewing. To see both of these worlds come together in that collection for me felt like a gift just for me. So thank you so much for my fabric collection.

e bond 13:22

You're so welcome. It's like it found its perfect person, which is such a gift even for me because you're just like, "oh, yeah, somebody needed that," you know? And that's like, so cool.

Lisa Woolfork 13:32

Absolutely. And I tell folks all the time, you know, and this happens, I think with my own organizing work as well. I do anti-racist organizing, we are the ones we've been waiting for. Someone was waiting for me to start Black Women Stitch. Somebody was waiting for a podcast that they could listen to Black women talk about sewing. I'm not saying this is like Nobel Prize worthy, but it appeals. It speaks to people who appreciate this.

e bond 13:59

All it has to do is exist. That's the thing. I always tell my students, I'm like, everything does not have to be a perfect thing. Because if you're waiting for those moments, then nothing will be made. Nothing will be created. And you can't get to perfect if that's where you're trying to go. I mean, that's not an interest of mine. But you can't get there if you're not making all of these mistakes along the way, or just putting things out there into the world. So like, yeah, you had to make this in order for all these other things to manifest.

Lisa Woolfork 14:28

I love that idea that it just has to exist. It doesn't have to be the number one. It doesn't have to be a perfect 10.

e bond 14:36

It doesn't have to be popular. It doesn't have to be, you know, widely received. It just has to be made.

Lisa Woolfork 14:44

It just has to be made. It has to exist, because if it doesn't exist, how is anyone going to find it?

e bond 14:48

And how will you get to the next thing? Selfishly, as a maker, you have to make a thing to get to the next thing. There's no skipping.

Lisa Woolfork 14:56

Tell us about the collection. How many fabrics are in it, and who are the writers?

e bond 15:00

There are 16 different patterns. The writers were Nella Larsen, Phillis Wheatley. So Phillis was the one, I started there, just because I needed a spot to start and work down. All of this was happening organically. So it's not constructed in this way, you know? So I was just thinking about language, and language propelled the prints. As I was thinking about language more and more, I kept thinking to myself, "Well, what is the beginning of my literacy?" or "What is the beginning of my language?" Again, it's like the question of, well, if I'm thinking about language in this macro way, and then I'm thinking about language in this micro way. That's what got me to the women, because I said, "Oh, well, if it's the beginning of my understandings of what is possible of language, then it has to be Toni Morrison. It has to be a Maya Angelou. It has to be Octavia Butler, you know, so then I think, "Oh, okay, well, then maybe they should be a part of this." So then that's when like, I had to then invite them and say, "Oh, okay, well, how do I nod to these women?" So for me, in the beginning, it wasn't even going to be, I was just nodding for myself. Like, I just wanted them to be a part of it. That's why their names were just on it, you know, but it's just become this thing with people like you, have been so interested. I'm like, "Oh, I'm so glad." So then it's been more than I've been able to talk about that. But really, it was just this personal bridging of like what language does to someone like me an artists that then became someone so interested in writing because my family were such readers? It's all those things. It's also of course, Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton person for me, Alice Dunbar, Nelson, Dorothy West, Ann Petry, Jessie Redmon Fauset and Gwendolyn Brooks, oh, and Georgia Douglas Brown. So a few of these people I didn't know. So I'm like looking them up. And then I'm getting so excited, because then I'm like, "Oh, well, she wrote Heart of a Woman." And, you know, sometimes it's written that that's where Maya Angelou got the name of that part of her autobiography. And then so then you see the connections between these women and these generations, which is what I was trying to do by connecting me to these generations, just in terms of language and how it's used.

That's a long and beautiful answer. And can I tell you it is taking all that I can do not to jump up and down right now and go grab my books. Okay. I'm looking at Ann Petry right now. I'm looking at Octavia Butler right now. Like it's less than 10 feet from me. And my dissertation was on Octavia Butler.

My story of Octavia is so. . . I just saw this show at the Oakland Museum about Afrofuturism. And there's this beautiful picture of her. There's something about her like, I won't read all the books.

Lisa Woolfork 17:46

Why is that?

e bond 17:47

I don't want to have a world where there's not another one.

Lisa Woolfork 17:50

But here's the thing, you never land in the same place twice. If you read Sula now, and read Sula in high school, you're reading of Sula in high school-

e bond 18:01

-is so different. It's so funny. You say that because Toni was the one where I think she was the light bulb moment for me when I was a kid. I remember this moment-cuz like I said, I was a family of readers. So reading was just like, we just did it all the time but- I remember being 14 on a bus with my best friend next to me. We were in the Girl Scouts. And we were going to this like ski trip or something odd. It was a very different thing. And I was reading Beloved. And that was the moment like the light bulb that happened where I was like, "Oh!" Of course I didn't have the language for it then, but I was like, "Oh, this is what language can do." Like this is what a story could be. You know, cuz you can read, you read all sorts of books as a kid, but you're like, "Wait a minute. This is different." There's something different happening here. And I think that was the moment where I was like, well, just forever hooked on reading, but also just on the possibilities that could happen within books. And that's why, well of course, all these women just helped fuel that.

Lisa Woolfork 19:06

Black Women Stitch in the Stitch Please podcast are happy to announce that we have another way to connect with our community. In addition to the IG lives that we do every Thursday at 3pm. We also now have a club on Clubhouse. That's right friends, they done messed up and given me the chance to have a club! Follow Black Women Stitch on Instagram and now on Clubhouse Thursdays at 3pm on Instagram at 3:45pm on Clubhouse Eastern Standard Time. And we'll help you get your stitch together

So when you said you started like with Phillis, when you were thinking about the beginning of language, when you think about Phillis Wheatley, I was just reading about her. I think this was in Quashie, the book I was just telling you about. He was talking about June Jordan's poem about Phillis Wheatley. You know that one where it was impossible, and she was the first. The idea that we know that Phillis Wheatley's name came from the slave ship that brought her to America, and that she was purchased as a seven year old, and they didn't know she was seven. They just guessed because of the state of her teeth. And when she did learn language and what she did, she mastered English and wrote poetry. She had to be examined by, was it a jury of 12 Boston men, to attest and swear and attest that she had written these poems. She had to answer questions. all of these things, when you think about the beginning of Black literacy, of Black language and what it was for and how it became contested, just to kind of honor Phillis, to honor this child who became, in some ways, the mother of African American literature.

e bond 20:57

And it's funny because that fabric is the one where it's just, when I made it, you want me to show you?

Lisa Woolfork 21:03

Yes, I do.

e bond 21:04

Okay, it's a drawing that is just a bunch of brushstrokes over and over and over. And again, like some of this comes after. That's why I want people to understand like, it's not like you wake up and this entire idea is fully baked. As you're working. And as you're thinking, but just when you said that I'm like, "Whoa!" So like, this is the drawing of Phillis, which literally is just hundreds of little individual brushstrokes over and over and over and over. And when you said that I was like, "Oh, those are all the people that she influenced. She's the beginning."

Lisa Woolfork 21:33

And you know, there are so many ways you can look at that. Because one thing another thing in the Quashie again, he talks about the power of the ditto D-I-T-T-O. The ditto mark, right? Because what he's saying, he's making an argument about some of the violence is the anti-Black violence that happens through captivity, bondage, enslavement. And I think there's another book you might be interested in In the Wake by Christina Sharpe.

e bond 22:02

I bought it. I have not read it yet.

Lisa Woolfork 22:03

So Quashie spends a lot of time talking about the apostrophe and punctuation and the grammar of American racism. This is something that Hortense Spillers discusses as well. But there's something about the way sometimes that Black suffering got reduced to marks on paper, you know, that this ditto, repeat, repeat, you know. This person goes on the block. This person goes on the block. Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, just kind of endless repetition. And so to see some of the archives of the Middle Passage, as well as what happens when you put that brush in your own hand? Yeah, when you put that pen in your own hand, what are you going to write your way out of? And that's what Phillis did, that she took from the most abject position you could possibly be in- a child who was captured and had her whole life upended, but still managed to create, still managed to write, still managed to build what would become a legacy.

e bond 23:03

The beginning of language in this country. So it's almost like she had to be the translator from the language she knew to this new language and then translate that down to all these people that would be doing the same thing for the rest of their lives, translating,

Lisa Woolfork 23:18

Listen, I just feel like when I look at your Glyphs collection, those 16 pieces, that is not only a fabric collection, it is a syllabus. And by that I mean it is an invitation to explore. It is an invitation to create. And it is an invitation to honor the creation of those Black woman writers from so many different eras and times. It just feels so beautiful and so generous. And I cannot wait to make myself a Zora Neale Hurston blouse. So listen, y'all, if you are not a Patreon subscriber, first of all, why are you not? There's no levels, you can just be a patron at any level, just $2 a month. But listen, I think you did at one point, you had all the images, and I was scanning them and I didn't know who was what. But when I found that one, I was like, "That's Zora."

e bond 24:09

Wow.

Lisa Woolfork 24:11

Because when she was a child, her mother told her that she should jump at the sun. And so when I see that bright white light. It is the sun, and those bounces look like somebody jumping on them. That's what it looked like to me. So what did you think when you created that? Did you start there? How did you begin with that image

e bond 24:31

So much of these marks -cuz they're very much just marks on paper- were about me exploring. You know because that's the thing. So there's the art side of the brain that is really just exploring an idea, about a mark or about movement. Yes. Then I was layering that like trying to figure out, "What would this be, if this was language, like if this was..."

Lisa Woolfork 24:57

Whose is that?

e bond 24:58

So this was the beginning of what would be Gwendolyn. This one is on brown paper, but the Gwendolyn one ended up being on white. So the beginning was really about shapes and movement and what would happen if I could substitute- It's so weird in my head. I was like, "What if I could substitute letters for the symbols?" almost like this hieroglyphic kind of action?- So I wasn't so much thinking like Zora at that moment. I was thinking, a movement, a jump, you know, an action that is propelling. So then when I got to the point of like, "Who will these people be?" or "Who will own this pattern?" I thought of Zora, because of those things. Because of propulsion. Because of movement. And it can happen in the weirdest way. It's not like it's a fully formed thing. When I remember Their Eyes Were Watching God, I remember certain scenes, and so much of it has to do with water. And so I just remember feeling the feeling while reading it of being propelled or being pushed. That's what it was for me. So sometimes it's just a feeling in a tiny part of something I've read. But for, like I said, Jesse, whenever I was like, "I'm so like into Jessie Redmon Fauset right now." So for Jesse, I hadn't read any of her stuff then. So I didn't have that same connection that I had, say with a Toni. That's when I'm like, "Wow, now I need to go back and make a whole thing about Jessie Fauset just because like she's amazing. And I had no idea." She basically did what Toni Morrison did decades later at Random House, but for a huge group of Black artists cuz when she was the editor of "The Crisis" for almost 10 years. She was the editor of this amazing magazine for the NAACP. I mean, you think so here, here I am with questions again. I'm like, "Well, would there have been a Claude McKay without her? would have been a Countee Cullen without? Would there have been a Langston Hughes? Because she was the gate opener. And I just think people like that are so interesting to me, like the quiet people behind the scenes. I just got Plum Bun because I want that and I got There Is Confusion.

Lisa Woolfork 27:09

When you showed the Gwendolyn Brooks, the basis of the Gwendolyn Brooks, is that meant to be dandelions because that's what I see. Okay. So Maud Martha, which is Gwendolyn Brooks' only novella.

e bond 27:22

I haven't read that.

Lisa Woolfork 27:23

You will love it. You're welcome. By the time we get to page 30, you're gonna be emailing me.

e bond 27:27

That's one of those ones. It's been on my list forever.

Lisa Woolfork 27:31

Listen, this is not a spoiler. It's a series of the ordinary life of an ordinary Black girl growing up into womanhood, lots of vignettes, the detail. You can read the whole book in an hour. It begins with talking about what she loves, she loved painted music. She loved dandelions for in that she thought she saw a picture of herself. It comforted her to know that what could be common could also be a flower, and that a common beauty was as easy to love as a thing of breathtaking, extraordinariness. And it's a way to kind of open the door to seeing herself in nature, seeing herself as a dandelion. She called them “yellow jewels for every day.”

e bond 28:20

So many things sometimes are just not even in our control. Like they're these transmissions coming from something else. So you must have told me that in another life.

Lisa Woolfork 28:28

Maybe I did. I talk about this a lot with my students about ordinary and common, and a lot of them think of this as negative? No, oh, they absolutely do. These are very high achieving students whose whole goal is to be extraordinary. And then they come to college and they're, they're surrounded by extraordinary people. And I'm like, "Okay, yes, all of you all are extraordinary. But extraordinary is common here. So you need to stop thinking of common and ordinary as something that is negative or beneath you." Most people live their lives-and this is in the book too- most people live their lives from day to day without anything extraordinary happening. You might get some rip roaring tragedy. She uses a phrase, “rip roaring tragedy.” But that is rare. It's such a beautiful, quiet book. I'm so excited for you to read this and get inspired and make a whole nother collection, because I feel like 16 Sounds like a lot. There are so many. I mean, you've got Audre Lorde, and I see Lorde in some of your other prints. I think that was like the one that says "You can be more deliberate."

e bond 29:28

Yeah, well, this is Audre, the Audre print. Because I just felt that one needed to be like, just full of abandon.

Lisa Woolfork 29:37

Yes, be erotic as power. And one of my favorite quotes from her is, "I am deliberate and afraid of nothing."

e bond 29:46

And I love that word "deliberate." And that's why again, when I was thinking about, well, this was a whole other project, the questions project. That's where that question came, you know. Like it came from the thought of that, "Like how can I be more deliberate?" Because in that is about being really, really conscious of the choice that you make, or just having a lot of thought and consideration, you know, all those things that seem like it would come in abundance, but it really doesn't. I think, you know, a lot of times, we don't make deliberate choices and deliberate thoughts about like, the things that we do or make or say. So yeah, that's definitely an Audre thought. It comes from her.

Lisa Woolfork 30:26

It's just so beautiful. And I am so excited about the awe of it. I absolutely am. I'm excited about the doors that you have opened by creating this project.

e bond 30:39

And for this one, it was really imperative to me, when I was picking these ladies to embody these works, that I did want them all to be from generations that were passed. Because again, this was about pre language for me. So in my head, I had this thought of "Wow, you know, because well, then the next set of language could happen with the people that I love to read now," you know, like Aracelis Girmay and Tracy K. Smith, and all of these women and Zadie Smith. And so I just kept thinking this thing would roll and roll and roll. But I mean, just to warn people, like the next collection won't be that. But I think that somewhere that will happen. You know how sometimes there's projects that kind of happened personally, and then projects that happen in the public. So that one might be a personal one. I can, of course, share with you.

Lisa Woolfork 31:28

Absolutely. I'm like, I'm already seeing Tracy's and like the redaction. That's what I think about her so much with the politics of the art of redaction, because one of my favorite poems by her is “Declaration,” and what she does is take the Declaration of Independence. And she does the erasure method to emphasize those aspects of the Declaration of Independence that directly apply to Black life. But were completely overlooked in the creation of the Declaration. It's just so beautiful. I do talk about that in class a lot.

e bond 31:56

Just that idea of the erasure poem. I mean, I think that's so beautiful that you are talking about that in class, because I mean, this is my teacher brain going, but like, this is such a wonderful tool to use in art making as well, like in writing and in art, the idea of to have something fully, and then what would you take away? Because that starts to beg the questions of what was left out? And what was put in and you know, all of those things about who's telling the story? And then what would I leave out versus what you'd leave out? What would I put in versus what you put in, which are huge questions, I think, for any kind of artist/writer, but oh, I wanted to show you, Toni.

Lisa Woolfork 32:36

Yes, please. Oh, my gosh!

e bond 32:40

This is one of my favorites. And it's just because it's like this kind of embodies freedom. And the way that Toni writes, I think, is just filled with all I can ever think of as possibility as a word, you know, because there's so much precision, and so much just pure like skill. But it never feels like she's closing you off or closing a door. It's just filled with this freedom, that you can then interpret, that you're coming to this, you need to come to this with something and you are free also to be in this. So I just knew she was going to be that one. And that was one of the very few that I knew, like once we hit 16. Like that was the one I knew immediately that that had to be her. Because these marks again, like they're not even about Toni per se. These marks were about seeing starlings, these murmuration of starlings in the sky, during the lockdown. And I actually saw them. I thought that was something I'd never seen in real life. You know, that always happens in Northern Europe or wherever, you know. And it happened like in Northern California. I was in a mall. I drove for like an hour to stand in the parking lot of a mall, because everyone would say like, this is where they come every day at 5pm. So all these people are standing in this small parking lot. And it's lock down, so everyone's far away from each other. And we're all just like looking up waiting. And it was like the most amazing lived experience because we're waiting for actual, for life to almost give us this show. And you know, and it may or may not happen, and here we are like waiting for this possibility. And then here they come! And for almost like an hour, they literally give us this show that I will never forget. These birds and what they did, and that sky, this blue sky, this bright blue sky and then these hundreds of millions or 1000s of starlings. So anyway, that's freedom. I mean, if that's not freedom, I don't know what it is.

Lisa Woolfork 34:44

I can even see traces of Beloved, the repetition. I can see traces of Sula as a character who is so bold.

e bond 34:51

...or even the end of Song of Solomon. Yeah, you know, like if you surrender to the air, like all those things are was just like, "This is Toni 100%." I hope she would like it.

Lisa Woolfork 35:05

Wow, this is so incredible. I want to know like, what's next for you? Where can people…? I know we can find you and others? What is next for you? I mean, is it possible for you to even say that right now?

e bond 35:16

I have finished the second collection for Free Spirit already.

Lisa Woolfork 35:20

Well done.

e bond 35:21

And so that one is in their hands now where they start to figure out, I guess, actual production of it, or whatever. All I can say is that it's completely different. It's like a 180 in terms of color. It's gonna be so bright, and so almost, like, vibrant and in a completely different way than Glyphs was. Because I really loved the neutral aspect of this, which was very different for me too, by the way. Like, I never really work in just neutrals. But there was something about 2020. There was something about like, where we were. And there's something to me about beginnings that need to stay in these almost in these binaries. So that then again, the possibilities can go forward. So like, you know, like when you're just learning in design, or whatever, you just learning and even in art, we always make people stay in black and white in the beginning. Because say, like, if it can work in black and white, it's going to work in anything, right? So like, that's your litmus test. So for me, it made sense that these marks, if they were going to be beginnings, if they were going to be like almost pre language, they needed to be in this realm of black and white. So now like the next one's just like, you know, crazy color. So that's what's next on the fabric front. And then hopefully, some really fun collaborations with me and Sarah, who you had on the show? Yes, it's my cousin. And we're gonna try to see how these things can go together? Because she's this amazing quilt maker, and I know nothing about that part of it. You know, I'm just about the making of the patterns in the print. So hopefully, there'll be some fun collaborations with that.

Lisa Woolfork 37:03

I think so, and I will just imagine that your shared ancestor, Lavinia, is looking down on y'all and saying, "Yes, this is Yes. Keep going. Yes!" I was gonna ask you this, this is a question. I'm going to start asking folks to interview. The slogan for the Stitch Please podcast is "get your stitch together," right, "we'll help you get your stitch together." If you were going to help someone get their stitch together, someone listening, what would you tell them to help them get their stitch together? What kind of advice- life advice, art advice, any kind of advice that you might have to help somebody get their stitch together?

e bond 37:41

I guess I would ask them to sit in the uncertainty much longer than they do. So for whatever amount of comfort you have in that realm, I'd ask you to sit just a little longer in that. So before you make the decision, or before you put pen to paper, or whatever the thing is, that's going to come next, before you've made the decision that you think shouldn't be changed. What could come from leaving that door open just a little longer? Because I think that that is, if we could do that for each other in terms of how we communicate and how we understand each other, but also in our making, you know, I'm really interested in that in my making, like. If I know how something's going to turn out, then maybe I shouldn't be doing it that way. You know, maybe I should be trying to think about a way that you know, not that all things you've done before. It's not about bad or right or wrong. But it's just about like what would happen in those open, liminal spaces. I think those are like the places where we could find like a lot, a lot of joy and a lot of fun.

Lisa Woolfork 38:49

And with that, e bond. This has been so much fun. I am hoping that this is not our last conversation, hoping that we will get a chance to talk again. But I am so grateful to be with you today and to talk about this fantastic collection Glyphs from Free Spirit, y'all. Check it out, look at your local quilt shops if they don't have them at your brick and mortar store. There are some that will have it online that you can order it from. So check out Glyphs, and you can find e bond on her wonderful website, Creativebug. She's got some wonderful classes there, including a 31 day art practice. There's a lot of great things that you can find for e bond, and we'll put all that in the show notes. And, e, thank you.

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at blackwomenstitch@gmail.com. If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N. And you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month, you can help support the project with things like editing, transcripts, and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please podcast. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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