Psalm 84

I was sorry to drop something on the pilgrim plate and smash it, but it turned out to be a very happy occurrence as it gave me just the impetus I needed to get started on this one. Psalm 84 seems to be about taking to the pilgrim road, and some of my readers will already know that in 2010 I walked along N Spain to Santiago de Compostela, and so I feel a sense of fellow-traveller when I read this psalm, which seems to be written by someone with knowledge of the pilgrim experience. The need for water, and strength, and the road being in the heart, and the happy arrival and imagining what it must be to live in that place you've struggled to reach over many days. I've long thought it must be good to be a bird, as they seem so fitted to their surroundings, and so birds that live in the pilgrim's destination seem especially blessed. (I know, birds have a hard life and high mortality, but let me dream).

But back to that plate. I thought about how pottery is a great marker to archaeologists of human dwelling and movement, and how when we move about the world, even now in our industrialised world, there are some kinds of crockery that are peculiar to certain situations. So as well as trying to 'paint' the crocheted pottery here with things like pilgrim birds and shields and suns and hearts etc, there is some of the lovely Spanish terracotta, and also a very plain insipid green pottery that seems to be found in church halls everywhere in Britain; you really know you've come home when you are back to drinking rapidly-cooling tea out of it (it's the shape of the cups that does that).

Now the 'plates' have been 'painted' before 'smashing'.
So this piece is all about memories of pilgrimage preserved in the trinkets that are brought back, which may be breakable, but the memories hang on  even if they turn into smaller and smaller unconnected fragments as time goes on. It reminds me that we don't so much live in our houses or bigger places, but that they live in us as much as we do in them. I remember being 'on the way' and it seemed as though I would be there for the rest of my life; but it was just a month, and then we were back with the green crockery. But that month gleams in the memory, and so I added a fine shiny thread to all the 'normal' crochet cotton I used, which gives it a bit of an edge over the everyday.

The very pottery I'm thinking of, in Spain at a pilgrim meal.
While I was making this pocket, the scholar Robert Davidson died; his book on the psalms was on my bedside table when news of him arrived, and I must say what a useful commentary it is for this project (which still goes on - only another 140 to do!) I see the whole exhibition as in some way a tribute to him, and this pocket especially.

The friend who suggested I do this psalm has a GSOH and would add a great deal to any happy band of pilgrims; I hope he likes it.

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