Speaking in stencils: indecision & art
I stopped by the library last night after work and walked into light and noise. The whole front room was full of children in face paint and glitter, dancing to "The Cape." The surprise and sweetness of the scene made my throat ache. "What is this?" I asked the librarian. "We wanted to make a place for people to come together," she answered, and that, too, was an ache after a day spent skimming the surface of internet news and despair.
My bread for the farmers' market today are stenciled with my solidarity with the Womxn's March I'll be missing while standing behind my booth. I hesitated for a moment over the political stencils. I don't like making people uncomfortable, and the thought of alienating customers worried me. Being bold would be easier, I thought, if I had a regular job with a real paycheck that couldn't be threatened by my politics. But I was immediately embarrassed by my cowardice. It's true that the living I earn through this little bakery is marginal at best, and that losing customers would have real consequences for my bottom line, but this is Bellingham. Who's really going to care? And, more importantly, what does it matter if I take a tiny step outside the lines when my race, age, health, family, education, and savings account cast a wide net to catch me should I stumble? If someone as privileged as I hesitates to speak, who can I expect to step up? So I got out the matte knife and started cutting. (1)
I'm especially fond of the vulva stencils (I haven't yet gotten around to taking a picture so you'll just have to come see for yourself). They're an answer to the new president's pussy grabbing and to the dominance of cat euphemisms in a feminist community that shouldn't be afraid of female genitalia. And they're a finger to my own discomfort with confrontation. Today, of all days, I will not be embarrassed by my body or by any other female body. We must all learn to live proudly in our skins as they come increasingly under threat. We fight hardest for what we love.
Besides the Red & White vulva loaves and the Red, White, & Blue Corn bread of solidarity, I have Mountain Rye, and Smoky Vollkornbrot. There are also Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies, Brown Butter Shortbread, Plum & Anise Torte, and Seriously Gingerbread to fuel your morning's march or to pick you up at the end.
Next Wednesday's offerings are Red & White, Mountain Rye, and Rosemary Sea Salt breads. You can order a loaf HERE.
See you soon. Or a little later after the march.
Owner | Baker | Feminist
(1) I realize that this is a tiny decision. When friends and strangers are being pepper sprayed at protests and arrested during direct actions, when people live every day under threat of violence and arrest because they are perceived to be Other, worrying about political bread stencils is self-indulgent. But I'm also unlikely to ever be a full-time activist, lawyer, lobbyist, or politician. I am a full time baker. If I can weave greater social consciousness through the environmentalism that already defines my work every day, maybe eventually all those days of small decisions will add up to bravery.
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