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Judy Ness
The Feather Series







The feather image was a sign of hope. I found the first one in my mother's yard the day I was leaving the homeplace in Iowa after a rare visit. It was the only thing I felt I could take away without being diminished. I carried it home, and thought about it, what it meant. The feather is the element of a bird, and bird is flight, and flight is freedom. So the feather became the essence, the quintessential icon for my hope to be free. Freedom in a lot of things, personal, professional, cultural.

It seems to me that if you look carefully at an element, the smallest version of a thing that still is recognizable and represents the larger object, one can still see the essence of the whole. The hawk feathers are encoded with the beauty and terrible fierceness of the raptor. You could almost see the dinosaurs still haunting in the passion of the color and the strength of the forms. There is so much there for the imagination and the spirit. More feathers came to me.

People I didn't know handed them to me, they were sent in the mail, friends seemed to press them on me with a surprising care and intense good wishes.

Somehow they knew I needed them.

I don't have to run for it anymore to avoid a physical punishment.

Freedom is within me; it is what I choose. Tapestry weaving is my way to slowly rebuild reality. Shot by shot, the yarns interlace, the colors blend, the shapes emerge. And I'm free.

"Resolution" by Judy Ness
The Zero's 10th Anniversary Gallery


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