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Friday, September 19, 2008

A Picture Follow-Up



Now that my camera is working again, here are a couple of shots of the first of the collages made with Lynn's cloth. It is odd, working with fabric that someone else has chosen; that said, some of it was mine to start with, as is the case with the background cloth used for the first of the collages, Earth Mask. It was hand dyed cotton, with stripes of fabric paint added; I can't remember which of us added the paint, though I do think I did. And the zig zags are made of paper that came from my stash, hand made and painted with acrylics; everything else came from Lynn's stash. As did everything in the second collage, Gold, other than the big bead. Actually, I think I may hand stitch this one, just to add some texture...watch this space!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to write. When I read on my friend Lynn's blog that she was fighting cancer, I was concerned. When I got in touch, I discovered that I was, in fact, too late; Lynn had died and her funeral was to be a couple of days later. I was stunned; Lynn was bright, breezy, full of life and creativity. Her Christmas card said we'd definitely get together this year. Sadly, that wasn' t to be.

I met Lynn Bunis when I was still living in Scotland. I got an email from her, saying that she was coming to live in Scotland from the US, was trying to get in touch with art quilters and could she come and visit my studio? Of course, I said, and she and husband Don arrived one afternoon. We all hit it off immediately, and it was to be the start of a fast friendship. When she finally did move over here, I donated some of my fabric to her stash, as any quilter would. And besides, I was moving myself, to Norfolk, and it was a good way of trimming down the amount I had to move...

I went up to see Don last week in Comrie, where he and Lynn had built a home together. The house is full of her art quilts, and they look stunning. Don had invited me to come and take some of her stash and bring it back to Norfolk. I was, of course, honoured to do so. Those of you who know me as a fabric junkie may rest assured that I did leave some behind for the rest of Lynn's quilting friends, though perhaps not as much as I might have done... I hope Lynn would have approved. Other people's stashes are always so much better than one's own; but on this occasion, I found fabric of mine still interwoven amongst her own hand dyes and some gorgeous commercial prints. I took fabrics that I thought would stretch me a bit, as well as things that I felt really comfortable with. It will be interesting to see what comes of using this new source of inspiration.

There was rather too much fabric to take back with me on the train, so most of it is now stored in my sister's house, waiting for transfer in October, when we will meet in York for the weekend. But I did take a small bag of scraps with me, and I have begun making collages for next year's Collage Mania. Collage Mania is being headed up by Karen Stiehl Osborn this year, and, as always, is in aid of the American Cancer Society. It seemed like a great idea to use some of Lynn's stash to support a cancer charity. I hope many other artists will take part; it's a wonderful cause.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Having A Good Time...


working with the lutradur I coloured whilst demonstrating at Festival of Quilts. The more I work with both lutradur and evolon, the more I discover, which is a great thing. I love to learn new things, it's an important part of what I do. This piece was made just before FOQ, some of you may have seen it on the stall. It's a piece of light lutradur, hand dyed in pinks, turquoises and greens, over a monoprint. The piece is called 'In The Trees', and the quilting emphasises some of the marks that lie beneath the lutradur surface. Some of them, though, have been left as marks; see if you can see them. There are close up shots here

I'm going to be away this weekend, spending some time with my sister and her family, and that, too, will be having a good time! We're going to Alton Towers, complete with small fry. I've never been; expect some new work around play and funfairs when I get back!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Another Opening...



but, for me, not any old show, but the first show I've taken part in in Cambridge. 'Another Brick In The Wall?' is a show of Outsider Art. It's interesting that at this point in my life, where I really don't feel like an outsider, much, at all, I seem to qualify as one by dint of my mental health (or lack of it...). It is an interesting show, nonetheless, mainly paintings. You can find more information about the exhibit, and the thinking behind it, here.

I submitted two pieces, one of which, a textile, was selected. Those of you who are familiar with my work over a period of years may possibly realise that in fact, this piece, Cracking Up/Pulling Myself Together, is an amalgam of two works. The two pieces, combined, seemed to say much more than they did apart. And so they are, now, one. Synergy is a wonderful thing. Mysterious, but wonderful. The first, Cracking Up, I have spoken about in previous posts. Its inspiration was drawn in part from Hunstanton Cliffs, which I find fascinating. They are made of chalk, and constantly changing, cracking up, reforming... a bit like me. The second, 'Pulling Myself Together', was made much earlier, from silks and cottons which were hand dyed and painted. So many depressed people are told to 'pull themselves together', often by professionals, who ought to know better (but clearly don't). It's difficult to pull yourself together when there are parts of your memory missing; which bits do you pull first, and how would you make a complete picture without the missing bits?

I find myself working more and more with these ideas. What does it mean to be well, to be ill, to change? I've talked on the blog before about scars; seen as negative things, they are, to me at least, signs of positive change, healing and growth. The same goes for erosion; you can see it as a loss, or as a gain. Certainly, it is a sign of change. And change is a good thing. If nothing else, it means we're not dead yet...