Ali Matteini

a life creative

An Object of Meaning – The Sarong


Been quite a while betwixt posts. Daylight’s long but time cuts too short these days to write much of anything, let alone make jewellery.
The studio stands ajar, waiting for me to clean out the stray-cat pee, a zillion old wine bottles and – by Jove – a landfill’s lament of Kinder Surprise toys. Studio Kittykatmandoo is skulking off over the edge of another year.

I’ve been collating (read: carpeting the floor with) poetry for editing and publication and all that entails though being summer, the enoteca has stepped from behind the scenes to front of stage, so all is a-go with vino, prosciutto and pecorino.

And I was busy being busy when my grandfather on my father’s side passed away, aged 95, so I made a short, sharp trip to the UK again to see my father and grandmother.

Phew. Life, life, life.

Here’s today’s Object of Meaning.


I bought this Sarong in 1990, when I was 14 years old. It was handmade of soft, fine cotton on a pacific island somewhere – the tag with its linking details wizened and dropped years ago.
I paid $16, which was a huge amount for me to spend in those days. I found it in an ethical trade store, so the money made went directly to the village where the sarong was made, and made me a happy teenager. The magenta-indigo flooded my eyes to the point of taste, and I fell in love.
Mine for 24 years and its colour hasn’t faded.
It found itself in Egyptian-pose photo-shoot dress-ups with my sister and our cousin…I know, pictures or it didn’t happen, but that’s the thing: I own the subject but no longer have those old polaroids, which faded into light-stained, bleach-faced postcards, all of us rendered noseless.
Later, it was used as a curtain for a small window overlooking a barn of hot-chocolate-coloured calves, another time for a window onto a brick wall.
Then it was a wrap for my puppy Meganpig, long since come into the world and exited again.
It covered the entrance to a birthing box for a stray Mammacat I smuggled home from the pound.
These days it’s a scarf in Autumn, a headwrap on long-haul flights so I don’t treat fellow passengers to sleep-induced facial contortions.
It drapes my self-appointed ‘flesh excesses’ whenever I get a chance to play lizard on a wild beach somewhere.
For years its perfume sang sandalwood, rose and clove. It’s softened with age; now peppery, perhaps – no, definitely – cinnamon.
It was made for a wanderer.
The boating troupe depicted are ever about to disembark under those crazy trees, or else pushing off to paddle away.


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This entry was posted on July 14, 2014 by in An Object of Meaning, Family, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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