handmade tree i picked up from berea, ky
well, i'm sorry for the lack of posting over the last few weeks... can i claim an end of summer break excuse? between being sick, and family weekend events, and busy stitching (some exciting shop news will be coming soon!), my writing and posting has been quite delayed.
in my aunt and grandmother's 'secret' little garden,
this is the feral cat who is father to my sister's two cats... the father to my cat is a few feet away under the brush
this last weekend, my sister and i made a quick trip up to kentucky to visit family... our mother and grandmother and aunt and uncle, as well as a visit with my best friend and her sweet baby girl.
on sunday, we drove through the back roads of kentucky, across the river ferry, and in to the town of berea... for a bit of shopping, conversation and coffee (and chocolate muffins), and a feminist dialog conversation event featuring the amazing gloria steinem and bell hooks... 'celebrating sisterhood'.
valley view ferry in kentucky
now, for anyone of the folk arts and crafts way of living, the town of berea is truly like a little hit of ecstasy! shops filled with carefully, lovingly, and pridefully hand crafted deliciousness, from hand woven textiles, to carved sculptures, to beautifully simple wooden furniture, to lovely pottery and beyond. i believe we exclaimed in merriment (with bursts of "cute!" and "amazing!" and "so beautiful!") over every single piece in each store... in other words, thousands of times over.
after a rest at the coffee shop, we headed over to the chapel on the college campus for the conversation event, presented by the women's studies department... here is a bit about the college itself ~
berea college, founded in 1855 under the scriptural motto "god has made of one blood all peoples of the earth", was the only interracial and coeducational college in the south for nearly half a century. a place of shared learning, striving for the equality for all races, genders, and cultures... and offering amazing opportunity to students from poor economic backgrounds...
and today, seventy percent of the student body of the college is still made up of local students from appalachia and kentucky, while around sixty percent of new freshmen come from families where neither parent has a college degree.
as one of the most highly ranked colleges in the nation, all students participate in a labor program of learning, work, and service within the community... with free tuition (offset by endowments, gifts, scholarships, and grants). part of the berea college mission to "encourage in all members of the community a way of life characterized by plain living, pride in labor well done, zest for learning, high personal standards, and concern for the welfare of others."
bell hooks and gloria steinem, at 'celebrating sisterhood'
such an emotional experience, witnessing this conversation between two such powerful women... it was as if we were a few hundred flies on the wall, eavesdropping on this dialog, of age and gender and race and compassion, between two longtime friends, who each happen to be fundamentally important women in the history of activism for equality. an earned sisterhood of trust and empathy... creating a trusting kinship of listening, knowing, and respect for each individual mind, rather than simply striving to achieve the same thoughts and philosophies.
how i could go on, sharing their provocative and emotionally stirring thoughts on societal pressures of gender and age, compassionate empathy for nature and humanity and creatures of earth, and embracing and understanding and combatting the essential flaws found in every human being (how surprising and inspiring to learn that the historically vocal gloria steinem was once terrified of public speaking!).
the conversation celebrated the launch of the 'bell hooks institute for critical thinking, contemplation, and dreaming' in berea.
a lovely evening to finish off a lovely weekend.