Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I am not a Christmas person. It seems to be a holiday wrought with hidden landmines.
I am appalled by the tacky excess assaulting me at every turn. How delicate and overly sensitive people are this time of year.

I used to work as a street social worker and an anti poverty organizer. The excess at Christmas drowned nearly everyone in sight. Organization lacking volunteers most of the year had them lined up forty deep for the holiday.

Couldn't the excess energy spent on making tinsel and turkey be better used lobbying government and building houses for all year? It is really nasty weather in February. It rains almost solid and is awful in October. People still sleep in my park in November.

Every year at least one excluded and left out person I knew decided that Christmas would be a symbolic time to off themselves. Almost everyone I knew was completely exhausted distressed and financially ruined in January.

This year it would be fun to find a compacter and gather up every christmas delight, crush it into a little solid block and offer it as housing materials for the homeless here. We could build whole cities with the stuff left over in this neighbourhood.

I used to cook celebrations for 20-30 people. Few of them were related to me. Last year I gave my loved ones to others as a gift. My partner went to be with his 95 year old father. That was his father's last Christmas living on his own. My son's went to girlfriends families and my stepsons went to be with their extremely ill mother. My step son Chris and Vashti stopped by Christmas Eve and delivered baking and practical goodies. Gayla, my Jewish friend, came by and fed me cicken soup to nurse me through a high fever and bad cough. I barely got off the couch.

Brendan and Megan want to do Christmas with me this year. Dane wants to come home. I want to go hide on a beach and drink myself silly. But I wont. I will probably make turkey and shortbread. Tim will be jolly and generous. Chris and Vashti will bake amazing goodies and Stephen will mysteriously and unexpectedly drop by.

The front o the house will have lights nad a wreath. The back of the house will have a beacon that says, "bah humbug", a feeder for the rats and little Santas all hung by their boots.
You can tell a lot about a person by the back of their house.


SuSaw said...

But why? Why not have the time YOU want to have? What better gift could THEY give YOU? Tell em that's what you want

arlee said...

I'm a grinch too--beyond dinner with the family, we will not decorate, buy gifts, fight or cry. I love the glitz, but i hate the rest of it.

material witness said...

I am not a religious person. I do see the irony in a holiday celebrating the birth of a poor homeless child turned into an orgy for the more fortunate.

When I ws a child I'd love getting one little gift at Christmas and having my enormous family around.

That was lonbefore any of us went totally crazy!

It takes a very, very strong woman to resist the cravings of those around her.

So SuSaw...I'll invite you al to the drunken beach with me another time!