Woven Women: Mother Holdfast

The last year and a half or so has been quite a roller coaster ride with worry/anguish/anxiety over our daughter’s health issues.  I cannot even put into words what we’ve gone through, so I won’t….

But, things have resolved, and she’s come through surgery and now radiation, with flying colors, so we are all relieved beyond belief.

In the midst of dealing with our daughter’s healing process, our daughter in law suffered a miscarriage, which  threw us into more grieving.  Things were mighty, mighty rough.

I felt like I had to keep a very tight lid on the volcano of emotions- the worry, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, anguish, grief- you know – all that stuff that roils up when your beloved children are having a hard time.

Plus, we were all working our socks off all summer while dealing with all of this, and it just was so intense that it meant that I simply had to hold a very very tight focus, emotionally.

And, now that we have come through this harrowing passage, I am slowly releasing all that pent up stuff…

For me, the most healing way of doing that is in making art….

This is the direct result of the beginning of the process of transforming my volcano of emotion into a positive expression of beauty, while using all that energy in a directed way.

My husband and I took a break for a weekend at the beginning of September, and went to the west coast to visit sisters.

We came home with our suitcases full of driftwood, sea glass and seaweed- some of my most favorite raw materials, ever.

Three of the pieces of driftwood in particular called out to me.

So did a dried up kelp root, called, a ‘holdfast’, that one of my sisters gave to me- she has treasured it for a long time, and so it’s very precious.

The metaphor of ‘holdfast’, of roots holding a great kelp tree anchored in the ocean spoke so deeply to me as a symbol of what I, as the mother of young women and their loved ones in a time of troubles, was called to do in holding the energy for my family.

So, the name: Mother Holdfast rings true for me.

Here is the holdfast, being held fast in ‘Mother Holdfast’s hands…. which I made from wire.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

One of the pieces of driftwood became the head of ‘Mother Holdfast’:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Another piece of driftwood became her shoulders, and the third one became part of her upper arm:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

As soon as I drew, then burned the face onto the ‘head’ piece of driftwood, Mother Holdfast let me know exactly what colors and textures she wanted me to weave.

So, I warped up and wove at a feverish, furious pace…..

And, then, I started layering, stitching, layering more, weaving more….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Until Mother Holdfast was complete….

She is TALL! She is almost 6 feet 6 inches tall….

As well as my woven fabrics and inkle bands, I have also stitched and woven in antique and vintage lace fragments, tatting (tatting goes with me everywhere, and keeps me sane when I am having to wait or watch or…), smaller fragments of driftwood and seaweed, and spool knitted wire cords that I filled with sea glass.

Here’s the lower part of her dress:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

‘Mother Holdfast’ has been a powerful healing experience for me to create.

One of my dear friends was looking at her, and then turned and asked me:

‘So, my dear, what does she want you to do next? Where will she lead you?’

An interesting question, indeed…..



Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Uncategorized, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

27 responses to “Woven Women: Mother Holdfast

  1. she is beautiful! kudos to you, and prayers for you and your family….


  2. What a beautiful princess!
    I do the same thing,with all this pain in my lower back,and legs.Thank God we’re creative,hey?


  3. Jeri Gillin

    She is as lovely as the thoughts you put into creating her.


  4. Alice

    She is truely beautiful.!!


  5. Bobbie Rankin

    She’s beautiful!


  6. Full of strength and beauty – with roots held fast in her hands – grounding and yet she seems to be floating. Such a presence coming from such difficult times! Fabulous Noreen!


  7. Lynn

    I haven’t yet met you , but your words ring very true with me on the struggles we have with our children and their health. An amazing creation of strength and love. Hope to meet you here one day on the West Coast!


  8. Mother Holdfast is amazing! Thankful your family is doing better! 🙂


  9. Claire Aldis

    My goodness what a year you have had! I love how adversity enhances creativity I am a full time carer for my husband who has a chronic health condition The emotions I have experienced are unreal God Bless You Mightilly Claire


  10. Belinda

    She is amazing and so are you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Many blessings, Belinda


  11. Caroline

    Blessings to you and your family, Noreen…….One beautiful lady created by another beautiful lady. Hugs from us to you all xxx


  12. This is SO powerful! The close up of the hand with the holdfast clutched to her breast is an amazing image. The face is beautiful – sad and serene…


  13. Stephanie Land

    Absolutely amazing!! I love Mother Holdfast!!!


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