Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nostoi - Returning Home from Greece

I have spent the last month in Greece, travelling with the local college to visit various ancient sites. We visited islands in the Cyclades as well as Crete and the mainland.  I took yarn and hooks with me, as well as a "clew" I had spun as part of a project for the classes involved with the trip (Anthropology, Literature, History.)

The theme of the trip was the myth of Theseus and the Mintoaur, in which Ariadne gives Theseus a ball of yarn - a clew - to help him find his way back out of the labyrinth.  I spun a clew of my own and took it with me to use as a means of finding my way back to the places we went, once I was home and working on memory alone.

I left the first piece on our gate, a link to home as I travelled off with a group of fellow students and instructors, 29 of us in all.

I did create a few yarnbombs, and in other places I merely left a sliver of clue draped on a tree or wrapped around a pole.  This was more about creating concrete anchors for my memories than making yarn bombs for others to find and enjoy.

Mouse Woman of the Spirit of Haida Gwai; The Jade Canoe in the Vancouver International Departures Terminal, with a sliver of clue threaded through her fingers.

Airports aren't particularly friendly places.  Hives of activity that is seen or unseen, with thousands of people a day passing through on their way to somewhere more enticing, they are santitized and scoured constantly to remove traces of those who've gone before.  I left another sliver of clew around a small table in the Heathrow Airport's massive Terminal 5 as we waited for our flight to Athens.

One of my favourite times during the trip was spent on this bench in Nafplion, on the island of Naxos.  There were fishermen mending nets on their boats, sitting in the shade of their canopies.  Grandmothers called to children, other tourists wandered by, but I sat and enjoyed the shift from evening to sunset, looking out at the water.

While I sat there contemplating I hooked up a small tag for one of the rails, and then threaded a bit of my clue around the rail.

Other places I picked up beautiful smooth stones from the beach.  This stone is perfectly smooth, from a beach on the southern coast of Crete.  It is one of the few I made and left as markers around the little village of Piskopiano, where we stayed for a few days.

I made a few and gave them to fellow students.  I left one at a family restaurant where I ate yummy food cooked by the women in the hot kitchen while the men brought wine and bread and cheese and more wine.

This one maybe I wish I had kept....but always on my mind was the 40lbs restriction for luggage weight.  I did bring home a few rocks, and just had to be choosy. 

I'm fond of hanging tags in trees and was surprised to find a big stone hanging in a tree in a yard in Skyros Town.  The guide explained that it was an ancient type of anchor, and could be as old as 1,000 years, or more. 

 I found a smaller rock with a little hole in it on a beach, and though I don't think it was ever an anchor, I did bring it home to hang in one of my own trees. 
I loop it on with some of the clew I brought home, completing the circle.

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