jude hill spirit cloth



There was only laundry.

Spring cleaning.  Everything is so dusty, musty and crusty.

two ikat cloths from Indonesia, one handwoven runner and a reversible double woven facecloth I picked up in a dollar store, all ageing and getting along well

Laundry is cloth,  maybe that is why I love it.  I also love  laundry shadows.  I always stay looking.  How they float.  Like ghostly exits to other worlds.

These pieces seem to fit right in.  Blend. While  I feel rather in between.  Between a now named stress and an unformed path.


  1. Kathleen Norris wrote “The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women’s Work” … as I recall, the text didn’t live up to the promise of the title, but now I’m thinking one could make a good beginning on an alternate take using the comments left here …

    sadly, I have seasonal allergies, which means pollen on clothing and bed linens is a very real problem … not to mention Texas has pollen of one sort or another every single month of the year … so I hang my wash inside on bamboo racks … which is still waaaaay better than using a dryer …

    that said, I remember how much I loved hanging clothes outside once upon a time … and in my mind, I can still smell the salted air of Shelter Island caught in crisp cotton bedding …

    • Deb VZ

      Liz…I remember thinking the same thing about Norris’ book. I read it hoping to feel less resentful of bearing brunt of most of the housekeeping in our home. It didn’t. Lately I just try to think of my role as keeping the house from falling into complete chaos…kind of the last line of defense. Maybe I can begin to think of it differently too….

    • jude

      I do enjoy learning about cloth by washing and drying it, exposing it to the elements. That might sound funny but, really I do.

  2. Hanging laundry, yes such a pleasure; the meditative outside’ness of it, birdsong, open sky and the shadows, shapes and colours flying on the breeze

  3. Christine

    Oh my! I used to think that my love of laundry was somewhat odd, but yes, it is totally related to my love of anything fiber or fabric. And that smell from hanging in the sunshine! Nothin like it. I now live somewhere where clothes lines are forbidden – soulless covenants for the sake of property values I guess. I miss having one…..(a clothes line that is)

  4. Mary

    Couldn’t live without my trusty line. Nowt so satisfying as a day washing & airing. Here in Australia its Autumn – time for a seasonal change of linen, washing, airing, folding. A kind of settling in for the winter to come.

  5. When cleaning I think how wonderful are textiles. It’s a little miracle the way they collect the mess and then with a rinse they are clean again. What would we do without cloth! I love laundry, the sensory awareness when hanging out the items especially when it’s sunny, then their freshness. It is so simple, but cannot be bettered.

  6. The straightness of the trees and the hanging down of cloth.
    The wrinkled, bumpy cloth and the lumpy-ness of the rocks.
    The shape of cloth and the shape of shadows, telling part of the story.
    A conversation between cloth and land, such a lovely thing to consider.

  7. Probably my earliest memory is at about 1-1/2 or 2 yrs. old, on a summer day, standing under the clothesline & reaching my little arms up while my mother unpinned my special blue blanket from the line and let it fall — drifting down to envelope me with its unforgettable sun-warmth, scent of summer, and pure comfort and love. No wonder I’ve always had a special place in my heart for cloth & fiber.

  8. jeri

    Who doesn’t love laundry?! ha! Now dishes, those are another story. I’m a HUGE fan of clotheslines, have always been. Things smell so good when they have been hung outside.

    And I came across in my house hunting, someone put a big long sink outside on their patio and connected the hose to it for the water source. I thought that was a great idea!

  9. Mary Park

    I love laundry also, the smell of clothes dried in the sun and wind, for my birthday one year I asked for a clothesline, it was my chore growing up, winter or summer, I remember the clothes freezing as soon as you hung them up, the peaceful quiet moments to yourself taking them in and then sleeping on those sun dried sheets, Wow, such good memorues

  10. Pam S.

    I love seeing your cloth swinging on the clothesline! it reminded me of my grandmother 💙 she would hang the sheets out in a U shape between two lines, and I remember liking the smell leaning inside the curve of the sheets 😁

  11. carroleb

    Laundry..I love laundry and clotheslines, and collecting old clothespins.
    My birthday is tomorrow and I have asked for an outdoor laundry sink.
    I always feel a sense of connection to women all over especially if I hand wash outdoors.All the women washing in rivers and streams…water and women connected in a simple chore.

  12. sharon

    i love mobiles ‘n shadow play. these cloths remind me of flying carpets. or colorful sails on a magical ship. definitely going. somewhere…

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