Finding My Backbone While Weaving a Spine

Jennifer sits with her back turned and is in silhouette looking over a beautiful sun setting on a lake

Jennifer Davis, Founder, Playing With Sparks

03 May 2017

“Get a backbone!” is a phrase I have been told before. Have you? How exactly do you “get” a backbone when technically you are born with one? Well, I think I’ve found a way.

Recently in the making of the book “When Ick Met Spark”, I followed the instincts of fellow creator Carolyn Good as she suggested we bind our own books. Easier said than done.

A close up of bright red yarn, sticks and wire that form the binding of the book

Close up of the thick bound spine

Photograph by Playing With Sparks

But I am so grateful we did because in the process of binding my book I actually felt my backbone, perhaps really for the first time in my life.

“…walks with light on the earth….”

I am a gentle soul. Love to be flexible and light. One of my favourite mottos which I try to live by comes from the book “The Fault in our Stars”. One of the main characters describes his girlfriend Hazel as someone “who walks lightly on the earth”. That’s me too, although I might phrase it as “walks with light on the earth”. Great words to live by, but it can be hard to be strong when your heels don’t dig very far in the ground.

Front cover of the book When Ick Met Spark

When Ick Met Spark book cover

Photograph by Playing With Sparks

In our book one of the characters, Spark, has so much light that she almost never has her feet on the earth. She is full of ideas and joy – her mark is made more in the future then in the past. As someone with lots of creative ideas and “what about if’s” I can relate to that. Ick on the other hand is so heavy on the ground she immerses herself in it. She tells us to remember the past and honour the passings. Of course the book is about bringing it all together; the both/and, the light and the dark, the old and the new, death and life.

The book When Ick Met Spark is shown with the yarn, wire and twig spine in focus

We used yarn and stickers to bind the book spines.

Photography by Playing With Sparks

So weaving this book together with wire and yarn and 2 flexible but sturdy twigs on each side to support the pages and give it all some substance felt very much like bringing these 2 sides together. Of finding the connectors between the extremes while remaining supportive and firm at the same time. Wow. When I lay in bed that night afterwards, I could feel all those elements in my own back. Two supple rods holding me up-right with the strength of both solid (the wire) and softness (the yarn) woven in between.

It was and continues to be a inner sensation I can remember, even when times are tough and a backbone is needed.

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