Oil Derrick

Oil Derrick, South of Bakersfield

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it. Ivan Panin

“Oil Derrick” was designed and hooked by Cai King of Fresno. She writes about her family’s experience with oil and California and I’m including her story verbatim. It is very interesting and contains information that not everyone may be familiar with about California. I hope you like her story.

Although California is the third largest oil-producing state after Texas and Alaska most people do not associate the mesmerizing yo-yo nodding of the great iron grasshoppers with the sexy image of our state. The truth is, the oil industry has had and continues to have a profound financial and social influence on us and provided the underpinning of our ubiquitous car culture. Dust bowl refugees, the “Okies” from Oklahoma found work as roughnecks in the oilfields and made their mark on the Bakersfield sound of country music legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. My mother-in-law, a native of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, arrived in California when her father began work as a field supervisor for Standard Oil–a white-collar position that was rather unusual for an Okie at the time. My father-in-law also headed west from Oklahoma as a young man to carve out a career as a mechanic. My own father would move my mother and I from my native New Mexico to Oildale when I was a toddler so he could work for Kern County. Yes, Oildale, I’ve heard all the jokes. In later years, my youngest brother would tell the story of being in line behind a guy talking about Oildale and his friend just didn’t understand, “What? How do you spell it?”
“O-L-E-dale, stupid,” the guy responded. My brother and I can’t hear the name Oildale now without this punchline.

Oil Derrick was hooked in mostly #6 and #8 cuts in found and overdyed wool from my stash. The image was created from countless trips past the oilfield on southbound I-5. While featuring the derrick I also wanted to convey a sense of the immense fields and hills of gold that extend for miles in all directions. I love how shades of maroon wool transformed into rust iron while 23 different shades of gold/browns were used for the rolling landscape. As I hooked I thought of my husband’s forebears and their capacity to dream amidst the dirt.

What I learned:
Intent brings beauty even to the most mundane.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s