Love You Forever is a commission for a dear friend and her rainbow baby*, who was yet to be born when work commenced. Together, we worked to design a piece which would honor the deep and complex loss, and the intertwined joy, that such a child brings – the light through the clouds, the spectrum of colors within that light. It borrows its name from the well-known children’s book by Robert Munsch, which was written as a song for the author’s own lost babies.
While these losses are common, they are often quite private, so I hid a message in the very weave of the cloth, hiding in plain sight, yet deeply entrenched. I used Huffman encoding, and represented ones and zeroes with a slight variation in the undulating twill.
The color plan for Love You Forever was designed using algorithms, written to achieve a rainbow that is braided upon itself – every color found throughout, but the underlying progression unmistakeable. All colors are held in balance and equally represented, while inextricably entwined.
To emphasize the light through the darkness, I made my first foray into hand dyeing with a gradient weft: deep purple on the tails brightening to an almost white in the center. Not quite on center, though – with an eye to the longer life of the piece, it was designed to be chopped in the future into a ring sling and shorty, each with its own light to dark gradient. In a moment of pure unplanned synchronicity, I reached the peak brightness in the weft on the same day and hour as the solar eclipse.
In the new light of the sun returned, my life has met several welcome shifts, including an official autism diagnosis – sought out after reaching an unmanageable level of overwhelment in the ahem, “sensory rich” environment of raising two small children. As I sat down to weave each day, slowly processing the meaning of my diagnosis, the spectrum of this warp laid a backdrop for a meditation on neurodiversity, and a full refraction of behaviors through the human lens.
Two days after Love You Forever’s rainbow baby was born, my two best friends (two women who are married to each other) called me with the news that they were expecting a baby, after their own challenges to conceive. I knew instantly that a piece of this warp was going to them.
I’m full of gratitude for the experience of weaving this warp, for the slice in time it represents, for the many shades of meaning it holds (and still unfolding), for the beauty after every heavy rain.
* a “rainbow baby” is a baby born after pregnancy loss