Gift Of The Nile

I wrote before that the current Stitch Club workshop by Vinney Stapley is not enough to draw me away from focusing on my girt by sea/ little landscapes right now, but students in that very good workshop are doing some really wonderful things with sheer fabrics using mostly motifs from Nature.

I was somehow reminded of the sheer pieces I made ages ago, 2007-8, and often written about elsewhere in this blog, particularly from the point of feeling a bit dissatisfied with hanging options. Time’s flown though, and I think if I were doing these things now I’d fit them with grommets and hang with clear nylon fishing line – a method much more acceptable than it was way back then.

In 2007 Mike and I travelled to France for a some delightful travel with several Aussie friends on canals in Burgundy, followed by another week in and around Paris. We then left them to continue on their trip, and we made our way to Cairo, Egypt, where we had a wonderful introduction to that country under the guidance of a friend who was living there then. I did write about this at the time, but didn’t continue with some of the things that impressed me most visiting some of the tombs, very special archeological sites, wandering through some of the impressive and very ancient temple ruins. We visited the wonderful Egyptian museum in Cairo with all the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb and other archaeological sites laid out on display, albeit rather crowde. A new musuem, The Grand Egyptian Museum now set to open in 2021, will be a wonder of the modern world, I think. With every step, every day, we were aware of the ancient history of that country. Back in the C5th BC, the Greek historian Herodotus described Egypt as the ‘gift of the Nile’ river, and it is as true today as it has been through the five thousand years of its history. Perhaps no other country on Earth has ever been so profoundly shaped by a river. My head was brimming with all this and the thrill of having actually been to that ancient country; and soon after arriving back home I became absorbed in making this piece, Gift of The Nile:

Gift of The Nile, 2007 120 cmw x 100cmh
Gift of The Nile, collage of details.

I’m sometimes amazed to see something for the first time in years – so long in fact that in this case, I somehow neglected to include it in the illustrated catalogue of my textile art that I put together 2-3 years ago, and after working so hard on that, I really thought I’d dug up absolutely everything – but as a recent post demonstrated, I need to remain alert and open minded!

In 2002 I attended Fibreswest, a week-long festival of residential workshops and fun in Western Australia, and took a workshop on Korean bojagi with Chunghie Lee, We used silk organza which eventually prompted me to think about experimenting with sheer fabrics. In 2008 (what on earth took me sooooo long?) I made a couple of wall hangings, which have never hung – the same old hanging method ‘problem’:

Right away you can see the bojagi patchwork influence in the incredible amount of seaming!!! (which was done in metallic gold thread) as is the quilting in each block of each quilt. However, if I were doing either of these again, motifs sandwiched between layers of probably nylon organza, and (sewn together block by block) I’d set the pieces in a grid style layout, baste them into place onto the backing piece of fabric, carefully place the top layer over and baste that into place, then do free machine quilting on the front/top, and finally remove the basting.

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