What’s in a name?

Dahlia Drive is the street of my childhood.

Born in Eagle Rock, California, next door to the Chesiks (who had an endless supply of orange gummy slices), across the street from the Harsh’s, the second youngest of 5 in a family of 7.

My cells remember the warm scent of kumquats, Dixie’s puppies in the garage, my sister’s back-lit shadow at the top of the stairs, my Father’s roses tended by a silent Asian man, the conspiratorial presence of evening crickets while playing kick the can, soft lifeless forms of chicks who fell from their nest onto hot pavement, the bitter taste Dixie’s tongue, the uncertain perch of Grandpa’s knee and his “Grab Bag” of toys, my Mother’s coffin, the smell of lemons on the garden path, my Mother’s gooey hands from making persimmon cookies.

These memories evoke feelings and rumblings; some deep and disquieting, others lightly dispersed. They have characters and dialogue yet each is a story set in a galaxy beyond any single thread of attachment. Our experiences live in our skin while the world’s stories revolve, in tandem, around and through us. It is difficult to know where one universe ends and another begins.

Some stories leave visible marks of occurrence like my right knee’s rose coloured scar from a fall when I was 8 or the earth’s 70 by 12 mile hole left by meteor Chicxulub when it struck the Yucatan 66 million years ago. I have, as a result of my experience, a knee with character and an aversion to black asphalt. The earth has, as a result of its experience, no more dinosaurs. Big or little, every action has an opposite and equal reaction; nothing is wasted and nothing remains the same. In my work, I feel compelled to find a home for the essential insignificance of every intersection; balancing the chaotic layers beneath, over and upon the surface of the whole.

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat”

As I launch this new website on the heels of a global pandemic, the UN Report on Climate Change and the new discovery of unmarked gravesites from Canada’s horrific mistreatment of our Indigenous people, Dahlia Drive is not immune to the impact of meteors.

How does Dahlia Drive reconcile making clothing in a world that needs to radically curb its consumption? How does Dahlia Drive sell clothing in places no longer safe for shoppers to buy? How does Dahlia Drive reconcile its privilege in reproducing Reg Davidson’s Haida art when my ancestors (and I, by association) have blindly ignored the systemic eradication of his ancestors and their culture?

The pandemic has offered Dahlia Drive an opportunity to re-act, transition, grow, evolve; to try to do better in a changing world. Through Government Grants, the friendship of Reg and the guidance of Joleen Mitton, the love and support of Sandy Cochrane I have re-sprung Dahlia Drive into two websites:Dahlia Drive and Yáahl, Gúud, Tsai. (Haida for Ravens, Eagles, Salmon Roe)

Both sites are built to sell clothing but are also built to acknowledge the cloud of dust raised by the meteoric impact of how we treat the earth, how we treat each other and how impossible it is to separate the two and survive.

There is more than one name in a name.
www.YáahlGúudTsai.com

Thank you for visiting.
Wendy

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