Plimoth

Family tree lines are so interesting. There are so many variables. How is it, for instance, that there are so many folks saying their ancestors came over on the Mayflower? It’s kind of like saying that I was Cleopatra in another life. People nod, uh huh… Smoke another one lady.

But Stephen Hopkins’ daughter, Constance, from whom my line evidently descends, had TWELVE children and they ALL lived, incredible for the times really. It didn’t kill her either, all those kids. William Bradford says so. Another line from my tree has a William Sabin. Not much known about him before he arrived to the Americas from France via Wales. What is known about William Sabin is that 35,000 people can trace their lineage back to him. That’s a lot and the genealogists are impressed with William Sabin more than anyone I’ve come across so far.

This is Stephen. A pretty attractive man. Stephen was my 11th GG. He had 3 children by his 1st wife (my line) and 7 with his 2nd wife.  So, while there might not be 35,000, with Constance having 12 kids that lived, well, I bet there’s a lot of us Hopkins descendants too.

It suddenly becomes doable. I’ve triple checked. All of these folks condense to the Rosses of Spokane. All of them. It’s a very busy tree branch. All the other branches on my tree fizzle out without a sound. Pffft. Gone. The Ross line has a major history and while it splits at the Clark marriage and isn’t from the Mayflower, the Ross line is from the Winthrop Fleet and I was perfectly happy with that. It’s the Clark line that goes back to the Mayflower…

me > Gates > Parker > Ross > Clark > Millard > King > Snow > Hopkins

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Edward Sherman Ross and Mary Place Clark Ross

These are the two people who bring all of this to a head; Mary Place Clark and Edward Shearman Ross. They are of the Spokane Ross family, of the Hopkins Mayflower family, descendants of the Mayflower and the Winthrop Fleet, American Revolution soldiers none of whom died, well to do farmers all, even in Spokane at the turn of the 20th century. Edward’s father founded much in Spokane and his sister, Frances, founded Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and the first public kindergarden in Spokane.  How far down we’ve come….

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Ross home, Spokane Washington

I wasn’t even going there, to the Mayflower. I only knew the Alden, Bradford, and Standish names from Plimoth so none of these names in my line meant anything to me as I puttered along, not expecting any grandeur after the whole Robert the Bruce thing. The Bruce line might be real, because ROSS, but it just wasn’t real to me you know? It was too much, too like the whole Cleopatra past life thing. So these unfamiliar names (interesting root for familiar) meant nothing to me in any way and brought no excitement.

I decided that I was happy with knowing who was in the Colonies and how early and that I wouldn’t waste my time in the Old World wading around. The gold nuggets were here on the east coast in the 17th century. It’s a good Quaker value to ditch the ego and so I did my best. I’m not a Quaker but my adopted parents are. I got good values from them for certain. So I let Robert go. I wasn’t even interested in the Clarks who married into the Ross line. Meh. Who cares, I said to myself, I’m happy with the Winthorp Fleet, that’s pretty frikking cool to have soooo many who came in the 1630’s (6) and who fought in the American Revolution (5). I was totally satisfied with the Rosses.

So when I started looking into the Clarks because I’d taken the other branches as far as I could, I wasn’t looking for anything much. Clarks… Booooring. LOL. That was my attitude. The opposite of grandiosity is indifference. I was very luke warm but I had some time on my hands so I dove in. I was thinking, as new names started popping up (unlike the Rosses who have a heavy patriarchal Ross line all the way back until you get to Matilda Bruce), that I was dealing with the women, the matriarchs of the Clark line, so the names were changing every other generation. I’m thinking none of these names ring a bell, they aren’t important. It seems few in genealogy look at the female lines because of marriage name changes. Don’t get me started on second marriages and the confusion they can cause….

So far no one seems to be directly from Salem, MA (although there appear to be some strong connections there but that’s another search on another day), they aren’t Alden or Bradford or Standish or Parrish or Warren or Nurse or Howe or any of the other names I’m so familiar with, so I was hardly paying attention.

When I got to Constance Mayflower Hopkins Snow my only thought was, “aww, isn’t that sweet, someone named their kid after the first ship.”  But Constance was born in England on May 11, 1606 as Constance Hopkins so how would her middle name be Mayflower if it had anything to do with the ship? Pfffft. Another fizzle I thought. I figured it was some stupid ancestry.com goose chase again, they are legion. Until I decided to look for her parents. They popped up immediately. No search at all. Who the heck is Stephen Hopkins? Mary No Name who? Wait, Stephen Hopkins came on the Mayflower? Wait, what? There you go again, Cynthia, looking for the grandiose. *sigh* I was truly skeptical after my willing gullibility when I first started. Because it turns out that Stephen Hopkins is actually more important than any other traveler on that ship (except for Mary Chilton who is my 11th GG and supposedly the first person/woman to step on Plimoth Rock). And the other travelers knew it. He was hired to be a bad ass. They were very lucky to have him. Bad Assery was called for in the new world. My husband has been reading “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick and he’s a bit impressed too, which is saying something.

There are lots of Quakers in the Ross/Clark lines. I know this because they were fined and thrown in jail for being Quaker and not toeing the Pilgrim party line, some more than once. I also now know that some of this branch got into trouble for a variety of offenses including selling water as a cure for scurvy, overcharging for bad beer, getting people too drunk at their tavern (Stephen and his family owned shops and inns over the years, they were not Pilgrims), getting drunk themselves, mutiny, sentenced to execution, insubordination, jail, stay of execution… Stephen Hopkins’ mother in law was fined for tippling. Stephen got in trouble for kicking out his female servant for getting pregnant by a man who was eventually executed for killing an Indian, after the court had ordered him to care for her for 2 years. He was in jail until another Plimoth resident took the maid in for her 2 remaining years of indenture. Well then. Thank goodness he was a friend to the Natives, my white privilege makes me super uncomfortable, this helps a bit for some reason. I like knowing that most of my ancestors appear to have been, for the time and to the best of their ability, not a bunch of deadly racists. I come from a long line of folks who refuse to toe the line whichever side of the line they were on.

Stephen survived a Bermuda shipwreck, helped build 2 ships on that island that took them to Jamestown, mutinied, was sentenced to die, talked the new governor of Jamestown into his own stay of execution, hung out in Jamestown then back to England, on to Plimoth, befriended the Natives, surveyed the new world, the first horrible winters of Plimoth and starvation… It takes a very hardy soul to consider one trip to the America’s back then but twice? After all that? We are talking bad assery of the highest order here.

Will I ever feel completely confident that this is the true line? Probably not. But it’s been a wild ride of discovery. It’s so funny. I spent my whole life dreaming and fantasizing over Plimoth and the Mayflower and the early colonies. I cried over the wars, the hardships, the beginning of the American slave trade, I made reproduction clothing, treasure my cooking pot/cauldron, feeling like I lived in the wrong time. Wondering why I was called to that time and place so strongly. I figured I was just another adopted kid without a familial past, that I would have taken any fantasy just to have a past.

A heartfelt thank you to my son for the best mother’s day present EVER. And another heartfelt thank you to my half brother who wrote me when our DNA matched up.

I’m not going to take it for granted that this is my history but after 60 years as an adoptee being fully aware that my hunger for a history was from the void, it makes me cry sometimes. I’ve never, ever, felt like I belonged anywhere. I felt like such an outcast in my adopted family sometimes. There was love aplenty but my parents never really understood me. They tried but without much success. Conflict galore. I felt loved by not liked. I spent a lot of time looking at their family lines simply because it was my only choice. My adopted mom has major history from Salem and Barbados. The Phillips have their own published genealogy, there’s a copy in storage. I was happy to make that mine. There’s some good stuff there, founders of Salem MA, rum runners in Barbados, rich plantation daughter ran away with the overseer… But now I have something to pass to my son instead of, “sorry, I haven’t a clue.”  So much about me makes sense. I’m intense, I’ve been fearless (and reckless), I could drink, I could charm, I could convince, I did things people thought were crazy… I never, ever, rested on my laurels (unitl now, I’m exahusted). I think Stephen would have liked me. I think he would have thought I was a bad ass too.

Thank you to my birth mother, Marilyn Jean Gates. For your interest in genealogy that really sparked this journey, for hoping that I would find a good life even if you would never witness it, for being brave enough to have another child, my brother, for being my conduit to art, whimsy, and history. Bless you and may we, perhaps, meet again in another time, another place.

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The 60s

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Oh my goodness… Where did the time go? Heck with other people! *I* couldn’t handle how fabulous I was. Long, tortuous but eventually liberating, sunshiney, personal journey story left for another day.

Recently I was asked in Mindfulness Compassion Therapy (what a blessing it has been) what I want to do with my 60s. It sounds like a simple question but it’s not. I don’t think I’ve asked myself that type of question regarding a new decade of my life ever. This one simple question has really pumped up the volume of stepchild questions. It’s no longer just one question.

One of those questions that I keep revolving around deals with creativity. The last 2 years have been a bit of a dud artistically. Sort of. Creativity? What’s that? I had a very bad reaction to one of my cancer treatment medications in January of 2017. It was bad. It nearly took me out. Art? I could barely tie my shoes. Write? I could barely read. Drain Bamage. I’m 100% serious. I have been working VERY hard on getting back to myself.  It’s working. I’m back. In many ways better than when I left. And I do mean LEFT. So, now that I’m right…  Or should I say upright …

What do I want in my 60s? More. More Joy. More Love. More Art. More Healing. More Style. More Fabulous. More Family. More Health. What helps those things come into being? Creativity. Love. They’ve always been the answer and still are.

The other day I bought myself a new and fabulous pyrography machine. That sucker BURNS. I won’t be able to use it on anything other than the hardest woods. It burned through a piece of basswood in 4 seconds. Which means I won’t be using it that much right now as my current project isn’t in hardwood. I’ll share photos of the new project but I’ll be using my trusty Dagger.  I need hardwood supplies.

I’ve been looking at my fabric stash, much diminished after a major purge last year, for textile inspiration, noodling around in my head before I sleep letting ideas for textile goodness projects come and go. My Facebook feed is full of luscious needlework beauty.  Pinterest too.  (BTW, my Pinterest boards are here, enjoy)

Inspired by something I saw, a few weeks ago I sent a photo of a recent needlework project (not the one below) to a magazine in Australia, Inspirations. They have been an inspiration to me for a long time. I love their magazine, it’s soooo beautiful. And they wrote me back! Asking for a larger resolution image for their newsletter and a brief bio about my needlework journey. Stuff like this bag below. I made at least two dozen bags in the past year and most of them are sold or gifted. I’m moving on to other things…

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While I was working on a bio to send to Inspirations I came here to grab some blips and quips and I realized that I missed my blog. I miss *some* things at any rate. Some things I don’t miss at all…. But boy did I need to do some spring cleaning. Like make certain posts private from two years ago. I don’t want THOSE public, I was having a rough time. A VERY Rough Time. Some videos I recorded and uploaded made me feel embarrassed. Some of them were recorded only days before the world went black. Why on earth would that be embarrassing? Well, if you’ve spent any time in the archives, you might understand why a world renowned embroidery publication might find it off-putting. There’s nothing I can really do about the archives. I lived my life out loud and in public here for a long time. All 18 of you wonderful strangers read it faithfully.  So what’s here is here. Except from 2 years ago. The videos just had to go in the Good to Know But Not Share file. I did, however, listen to them and found tidbits of goodness like 30 minutes of me rambling about what I was going to do creatively in 2017.  Let’s just change that to 2019 shall we?

The big question became, “What do I want to do with my 60s and do I want to do it here?” Is it time to focus? Is it time to get back to being productive? Is it time to be public about it? Hesitatingly, the answer is:

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OH! I got married last week. OMG. Married! To the best man a gal could want by her side. At least this gal. Now that is some joyous news.

Fabulous though he is, I can talk until the cows come home. Evidently they don’t come home very often, the man never gets any peace. He’s a SAINT. He’s private. He’s mine. He might even lovingly cringe that I’m going public again. I’ve learned a few things in the past 2 years and one of them is, you don’t have to share EVERYTHING anymore. Say what?! I know, right? If It makes me hesitate, put it on the back burner. I’m going to leave the archives here because if nothing else, they will show, I hope, my personal growth. It’s done my heart wonders, this being married to such a wonderful person. The day after we got married I felt incredibly different in a very good, very supported way. In a family way, er, family kind of way. I felt so loved. I FEEL so loved. And feeling loved kind of opens up all kinds of possibilities doesn’t it? It sure beats the alternative. Right? Right.

I’m making a list of things I want to talk about and things I want to show off. Things you might like to see and read. My hard drive crashed two weeks ago and I lost YEARS of hi-res images of my work but I think I have enough to make it work moving forward. My phone takes amazing images really. I have a great camera. Let’s only show new things. There are tons of photos here already of what I did in the past. I have new things I can bring out for show and tell.

One last thing, recently I purchased colonialtailor.com, a long held dream of a demo site that mimics Medieval Tailor but with 18th century American clothing reproductions. It’s been on my dream list a long time but when I put off buying the domain and lost it to someone else and my “Master” betrayed me, precious, I kind of let it fizzle out. There were tears. And hissing. That was 10 years ago. This year it was available again for a rock bottom price and it’s now mine… So there might be things to say about that! Wait… MIGHT? Definitely some things to say about that and some of it has to do with being adopted, DNA and geneaology, Benedict Arnold, and Robert the Bruce.  I know, right? WTH.

So…  let the fun begin!

Art For Art’s Sake

 

I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been quite sick. So sick that I couldn’t sleep in my own bed. The guest bed seems to be the place. My phone has a new camera and this morning, laying in my cozy nest, I fell in love with my art supplies all over again.

My own art isn’t featured in this room. I never noticed that. Granted, this room is the last frontier as far as home dec goes and as I follow the flow, listening for whispers of what goes where, I’ creating a sacred space. It does, however, feature the art of friends.

Because of my recent illness I’m rethinking some things. I spend too much time on Facebook for starters. It’s been a love hate relationship. It does have its uses. One of the big questions on my mind is what direction do I want to take my art? Do I want to write more? Paint more? Burn more? Sell? Give only? Not expect money from it or expect to make a living? Etc.  The hamster is running on the wheel. At least the wheel is turning again.

I don’t have a clue what the future holds for me but I’m imagining that it can be anything that I want. Golden. Honey dripping. Joy bringing. Smile as my head hits the pillow. Happy. Content. Peaceful. Love, always love.

More will be revealed. Indeed.

Twilight Is Finally Falling

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Layering the twilight, lots of blues and purples and tiny touches of gold and silver. This illustration will be sold as an original. Haven’t decided on whether to sell framed or not framed. What do you think? Should I add in the frame? I find beautiful frames at second hand shops so they don’t cost much (you know how expensive framing is). But it does take time to find the truly good ones and in some cases would add to shipping costs, etc. I’m eyeing a gorgeous ceramic frame for this but due to the square layout we shall see.

This will be one of a series of Sabbat greeting cards (sets and individually), prints, bookmarks. Hopefully at least Mabon, Samhain, and Yule should be ready in time to purchase from my Etsy shop for the year end holidays. I may consider decoupaging some boxes for affordability. There will be more, I am also working on some wood offerings as well as a couple embroidered bags. Perhaps a few things from my private collection too.

At this time I don’t plan on taking commissions. I’ve got enough on my plate. Hope you find something you like there. I’ll be sure to post a link when the shop reopens. While I’m not taking commissions, please let me know what you might like to see in the shop.

More will be revealed.

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Teaser of Designs to Come

I’ve been going through all my sketch books and seeing what old and new design speak to me for illustration work on paper for prints and cards and the like. I’m having to make small adjustments to size and add details that are now possible. I’m also tracing them for posterity so that I can use parts as well. Why reinvent the wheel?

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Tree of Life Part Deux

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I immediately started working on a Tree of Life embroidery design. Each main branch had a certain plant that I felt would help with my healing.

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I started working on the linen background fabric with threads in a silk and wool blend. And then I started getting really sick. And my fingers started to go numb from one of my chemo drugs. And there were things I didn’t like, for instance the buckling of the pomegranate fabric from sewing around and around just a bit too tightly. Same issue with the acorns and I don’t like the color pathway of the blackberries. They dull it down for me.

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When all was said and done I realized the piece was too big for me to continue and I’d lost heart in it. Didn’t feel like I was surviving and I was losing my spirit.

Some time later, I started using elements of the design to create a commemorative “I Survived Cancer” tattoo for myself.

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Yesterday I ran across the first draft of the Tree of Life sketch and I fell in love with it all over again. The actual final sketch is nice and small. MUCH smaller than the embroidery. It needs a few changes to get there but it’s a darned good start. I added pears and partridge instead of the blackberries because I love them and I want more juice in my life. And brighter colors. I think it will make a very nice woodburned plaque too. And great, affordable, prints.

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Getting ready to trace so I can transfer to any medium, illustration board, wood, paper…

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Yes, I think it’s a good start. I also think it calls for a stag lounging on the left hummock… And the top needs something… A fairy perched? A butterfly? A snail?

So for starters this will be an illustration that I think will make nice greeting cards of 5×5 that anyone, pagan or otherwise, will enjoy. I also plan to use some drawings that were part of a wooden box’s side panels. This would make some fine bookmarks and I have several book mark designs that never went anywhere either. This little strip below is my favorite sketch of all my work. Mainly because I simply couldn’t believe it was my work. I’ve probably made some better pieces but this one convinced me I was an illustrator. Every once in awhile I go back and make some changes like the acorn cap and the thistle. Time to bring her to life.

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There are a ton of drawings that were for wooden boxes and embroideries that I can totally turn in to full illustrations and elements that will go with other elements. What does that mean for me right now? A lot less work. I already have stuff I love. I’m sure many more pieces will arrive in the creativity card catalog of my brain.

More beauty is on its way.

Blessed be.