Saturday, August 15, 2015

Blackout shades, lima beans, meditation, and my CWC class

I am going to do a long post about these two shades, which we recently made for Monica Plotka.
You know those pinholes of light that you get when you sew rings onto blackout shades?  I've been working on several methods for eliminating those pesky pinholes, and this is my favorite so far.
I WILL do a post about them, but right now, I am still thinking about dinner.
Dinner was super-simple and utterly delicious, but it took quite awhile to prepare.
Plain and unadorned:  corn on the cob, fresh shell beans, okra fried in a chickpea batter,  sliced tomato, and avocado with lemon and smoked salt.
I started shucking the corn, which takes me a little longer than it used to, now that my hands hurt most of the time.
Next I tackled the pile of fresh shell beans on the table- limas and cranberry beans- and began the tedious process of cracking open each pod and removing the exquisite pale green and pink beans.
I sat out back, in the shade, and thought about my memories of sweltering afternoons shelling fresh blackeye peas on the porch in Fort Worth with my grandmother and great-grandmother while we drank near-frozen Coke from glass bottles.  I thought about how when I was older we ate corn growing up in Philadelphia: Jersey corn and tomatoes, the best dinner in the world.  We ate as much corn as we possibly could, relishing the salty butter melded with the ripe tomato juice.  It was assumed we'd eat half dozen ears apiece.
My thoughts were wandering along these lines, one memory triggering another, and I lapsed into a meditative state.
I must have been thinking about how shelling beans is a lot like sewing rings on shades.  There's nothing you can do but do it, one at a time, over and over again, until you're done.  I wondered how beans get shelled by machine, and thought about how few people in this world ever sit still for 45 minutes and shell their own beans, and thought how lucky I was to be doing this.  I thought how lucky I am to MAKE things for a living.
That made me think about how many of us sewers are also cooks.  I think the two activities have a lot of similarities.  Both in sewing and cooking, a collection of unrelated individual parts are cut/chopped/processed, and re-assembled into a new whole that has beauty/deliciousness/usefulness of its own.  We sewers and cooks enjoy PROCESS. 
Comparing beans to shade rings, I now see that it was inevitable that my thoughts would turn to the CWC class I'll be teaching in February, "Efficient Shade Making."  I've been mulling over the structure for this class for awhile. Friday I had decided that this was the weekend it must take a definite shape.  I planned to finish some chores then dedicate a hot summer Sunday afternoon to putting order to my thoughts, in the air conditioning.
My brain had other ideas.
Sitting out back in the heat, flies buzzing around the corn silk, amid meandering thoughts of limas and okra, corn and tomatoes, performing my "mindless" shucking and shelling tasks, invisibly and unknown to me, my class structure was coalescing.   One thought, then another, and another- and all of a sudden, there it was, in the front of my mind, practically fully formed!  Now I know where I'm going with this class.
Which will lead me back to those blackout shades....................

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