March 3, 2014

Small Bird Arrives in America

If you are here because you clicked the wrong button on the Spirit Cloth blog, you already know that Saskia van HerWaarden lives in a magical birdhut.  It is a place where her wild creativity bubbles up from her soul, through her hands, and into all that she touches around her. She ecodyes fabric, she stitches, she prints,she saws and hammers all kinds of stuff together, and she builds kingdoms and their citizens from the treasures she scoops up on her walks through the Dutch lowlands. (She claims she also works in some sort of appliance service company, but that's just her cover story.A pretty lame one too, if you ask me.)

As a thank you for sending her some books, Saskia invited me to select a cloth from among the wonders that she created for a recent art show. And I just received it him. Small Bird has Left Home.
Do you see Small Bird, born in the center but taking his first steps to the left of the blue beading? Under the safety of the sun, the moon, and the waves, Small Bird flew all by himself across the ocean...

...carrying two items. First, a fortune from the fortune cookie he probably got from the Chinese restaurant at the Amsterdam airport.
According to Google Translate, it means "a pound of feathers do not fly if there is no bird in it." (Having just ordered a pound of feathers, this is patently untrue but I see no point in arguing with Small Bird on his first few days here.)

Second, pictures of his family that his mother tucked in his bag while he was ordering Chinese food.
Small Bird's Father

Small Bird's Mother

Uncle Louis,the black sheep. He is rarely mentioned except in a whisper, which makes Small Bird adore him.

We're keeping Small Bird away from Billy Dog and Clutch till his English gets better and he learns how to say "I am not food." We did introduce him to some of the smaller, less intimidating packs of critters around the house.
Indoor Finch Family standing very still

The Mexican Road Kill Ensemble, available for Bar Mitzvahs and Weddings

The Memphis Clay Quintet

Soldiers of Fortune

Board of Directors, The Raggedy Ann Preservation Society
Everyone is getting along beautifully, although they are staying up way too late at night listening to Small Bird's stories about his friends at The Birdhut.

Thank you, thank you Saskia. Your work is infectiously beautiful.


  1. Oh lucky you I love Saskia's work and her constructions. I can see why you like her work so much you seem to have quite a few families yourself.

    1. Well, you could always try digging up some books, mailing them off to the Netherlands, and see what happens!

  2. oh this is great both, you & Saskia spin the best yearns!

    1. oops! yarns not yearns.... what sort of Freudian slippage is that?

  3. well, how a tiny Bird flew off all by himself and then managed to find himself such a welcoming abode! I could not have wished for a better home for him!! ....and I am glad you clarified the pics of his relatives for us seeing all your other wonderous families, seems like we have a weak spot for stray wanderers in common;-)

    I am absolutely delighted he and you all get along so well and the dogs will soon grow so accustomed to his exploits, I'm sure they will not mistake him for food (unless of course they're used to food hopping up and down on their tongues, whilst chirruping a happy song and flying in and out of their mouths)

    keep on writing the good stuff Julie, I cannot get enough; my husband and I had tears in our eyes after reading this post, well I admit I did; he claims it was a trick of the light

    1. the pound of feathers quote something that the Dutch post office routinely puts all over the outside of packages?? I am imagining some lonely little postmaster, trying to keep busy while the world turns to email...

    2. LOL, no the sticky tape is something I bought in a bookstore, it's made by Stichting Plint (an art's foundation), their goal is to combine poetry and visual art in new ways; they also have aprons, napkins, pillow cases etc etc with poetry-prints; you can find out more about them at

  4. Julie; what wonderful worlds you and Saskia conjure up! I laughed out loud at the frog chorus/band! In those seminal words......'and they all lived happily ever after'!

  5. i'll try's Destiny all around