Thursday, April 2, 2009


In 1927, Max Ehrmann wrote "Desiderata" about things desired to achieve happiness. It has always been one of my favorites. My first attempt at using parts of this piece in my fabric work was for a pillow for our granddaughter, Ariel, when she graduated from middle school.
I knew then that someday I was going to put the entire text to cloth.
My palette appeared in whole cloth form last summer when I tried to fit as much clamping and tying onto a 1.5 meter piece of cotton as possible, then dipped it into a bath of black to let it sit and brew. The result was a catastrophic city scene, conjuring up images similar to those from 9/11 within me. I knew I had the perfect background for my Desiderata.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace may be found in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself.

Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imagings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him or her to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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