Back in the 1950’s and 60’s children grew up with The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan presented once a year as Sunday night television treasures. I have to admit my excitement about both presentations.
In Peter Pan, I could fly. The singing by Mary Martin as Peter, and Cyril Richard as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook, made the whole thing joyful. It was a thing to take part in. I clapped loud and long for Tinker Bell. The content as pertains to Tiger Lily, the Native American character portrayed by Sondra Lee, was problematic. Without knowing any authentic Native languages or music, we knew that portion as bogus and learned to skip over the weird parts.
The Wizard of Oz lasted longer than Peter Pan, as a Sunday night television event. The flying monkeys were terrifying. The Munchkins lived in a beautiful neighborhood with lots of big colors, flowers and candy. The town was clean. Everyone dressed nice. Even the thug Lollipop Kids were accepted by the community. The Wizard was a big disappointment. But kids should know that feeling of disappointment, believing in something or someone and then realizing the whole thing as fake. This is one way for children to recognize fakery in real life.
The thing that bothered me about The Wizard of Oz was the treatment of the so-called Wicked Witch of the West. Munchkin Land was afraid of her. Why? Listen, if some girl in a flying house from some place no one ever heard of came crashing down, landed on my sister and killed her, I’d be angry too.
As a kid I learned the difference between anger and wickedness and I wondered why no one else understood. The Witch of the West was angry. Not wicked. To me, Mrs. Gulch was the wicked one, pedaling around on her bicycle being mean to innocent puppies.
I had an old broom. Sometimes I used it. Most times it sat in the corner. The broom followed me everywhere I moved. Finally, I put it in the hallway outside my apartment door intending to use it to sweep the hallway as needed. But I never did. One day as I was unlocking my front door, the broom stopped me. I looked at her and decided to bead her, brought her back inside and began to bead. As so often happens in the midst of creation, the thing being created tells you what it is and how it is to be. I listened. The result is The Old Broom, Resurrected by the One They Called Wicked.
By the time I completed The Old Broom, my fingers felt arthritic, by back hurt, and my eyes were seeing black and white stripes and boxes at the edges. But, I was grateful for the opportunity to create Her. I was happy I listened to her instructions. She has become a part of me. We are one. She is me. I am her.
What The Broom asked for, is that she be resurrected with shiny glass beads to reflect light, and packets of potions hung in muslin by twine at the base of the broomstick. The potions include elemental tools like rice for sustenance, spices for excitement, coins for prosperity, dirt for planting and standing strong, and candy for happiness and relaxation. She also wanted a quilted pad to rest her feet (the bottom of the broom straw).
Techniques include design, circular peyote stitch (the real name is tubular peyote, but I always forget that word. It’s one bead on your needle, you sew it in, you pop it into place, you pull the thread for tension, you pick up another bead and around and around you go) bead weaving, twine braiding, hand piecing and machine quilting.
Materials include the repurposed broom, glass beads, muslin, glitter, Mod Podge, rice, spices, pennies, dirt, candy, threads, batting and twine.
Photos by Natalie Moffitt
As always, thank you for appreciating my work and Happy Creating!
This is a blog about how we make things.