In response to yet another question on working in a series, on which I have written before, I wrote a few comments on the Quiltart list this week, including: “I think it is important to write about each work. I don’t mean how you made it – those technical details aren’t the important part of a series. I mean writing your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, concerns, fears maybe – anything about your work, put onto paper, or into a digital visual or artist’s diary of some kind. This writing, in whatever form, is not for publication but for yourself; the act of thinking about why you are doing what you are doing is part of the series process. And when a meaningful artist statement is required, you have already done the groundwork! I’ve occasionally had what I felt at the time were one-offs, and yet with some, hindsight, there are really only two that don’t fit in one of my series. But, even as I wrote that sentence, it occurred to me that those two almost forgotten works, made almost 20 years apart, have something strong in common… perhaps I need to think about that and write something about what links these two very different looking works…”
Life’s Rich Tapestry 2, 1990, 160cm x 160cm
I can’t find anything I’ve written about this old quilt, although if you have a Visions 1992 catalogue handy you’ll find something in that – that artist statement would refer to the role of chance, in how our lives weave through highs and lows, as nothing stays the same for ever – we exercise skill navigating the swings and roundabouts, but there’s always temptation, the quirky hand of fate, the wheel of fortune, and so on – all these things are alluded to in the images on the quilt, which itself is a patchwork background of brights and darks signifying highs and lows. In many ways this contains the germ of the much later and still current ‘Ebb and Flow’ series.
Arbol de la Vida, 2008, approx 150cm x 100cm
This morning I went back through my blog posts (aka something like ‘artists diary’) and read here what I’d forgotten about this second quilt I called Arbol de la Vida. It was a exhibited in some exhibition I was invited to take part in – I just don’t remember – and I didn’t write much about it at the time, perhaps I didn’t think it was important enough, I’m not sure. But I can tell you that in the preceding few months or weeks I had seen a fabulous exhibition of the ceramics of very important Uruguayan artist Jose Gurvich some of whose works can be seen today in a dedicated museum in the old city on Plaza Matriz. I love his work which is literally everywhere here. Note the Life theme, and the pictographic symbols on the leaves – I was definitely on that same hand of fate/role of chance track 18 years later.
This morning I watched an interesting profile of Egyptian jewellery designer Azza Fahmy whose beautiful dramatic modern jewellery references her nationality and cultural history – she commented that while designing her Pharaonic collection over 10 years she was constantly combing through museums and archeological sites all around Egypt re-familiarising herself with all elements of ancient Egyptian decorative design that she was using as inspiration. It can take much time and thought to build a series!