The Eyeline, for tACTile
With my lovely daughter hurt everything went black and white. It is interesting the way this happens - you need a near-tragedy to realise how unimportant all the other stuff is. I took my work back to the bones in many ways for this. It is unusually personal and I must admit, seeing it hung together was an unpleasant experience, like walking naked through a room full of men in suits. It also took me back to a period in my life that I woudl hate to repeat, so I cannot decide if I like the work or not.
I had to make a body of work for the tACTile group of which I am a member. We all originally - and the others still - live in Canberra in the ACT, hence the capitalisation of the state in our name.
The task was to take a line at 1.5 metres above ground level through all the work (the Eyeline) - from the last person's to the next and through your own. It could do whatever you wished inside the work, but had to emerge at the same point. Four small - tiny - square quilts formed a 'collaborative' linking the works like punctuation marks. I forgot to photograph these and am annoyed as mine are small and detailed.
I was limited in space as I moved from one hospital hostel to another. Then Bob had his hip operation. I stayed with a good friend for a week. A relative lent me a flat for a week so I moved to that. Bob went into a repatriation clinic for his hip so I moved in with him to help. I had seven moves in six weeks and made this body of work in the process. Bernina (my beloved company) lent me a machine. I had a plastic bag with a few key fabrics and homespuns - plain cottons in one colour only. I had minimal working space. These were the result.
I include the formal blurb to avoid rewriting!
I wanted to make a series of quilts based on events in my life, and I wanted them to feel thoughtful and autobiographical. I was travelling at the time these had to be made, and in a way this affected several factors. The quilts had to be small so that they could be worked in any location. I also needed to carry minimal fabric and a limited palette helped to hold very different elements together and carry through a story line as well as the Eyeline.
1 Shimmer - the first seven years
Gold threads on this piece are left hanging loose - hence the name. Leaves stood for passing days, with some stronger in my memory than others, but most pale against the background like most days of childhood.
2 Flowering - puberty and partners
Not a well ordered piece - it wan an untidy time for me!
3 My Cup Runneth Over - my beautiful children
No particular link as one bowl to one child. They are all wonderful, and all different and I love them very very much. They are the things I will leave behind me and I am so proud of each one.In this quilt (and I did not even take photos of each quilt, just details) the background colour is light, like the second photo.
4 Long Cold Winter - the difficult years
Sorry - no individual detail - but look at the top photo for the tree losing its leaves.
Divorce and economic hardship.
5 Patterns Sliding through My Fingers - the making of work and creativity
6 The Perfect Pattern – I have always loved this pattern. While I am aware it looks like a memorial I have always loved the way the crosses fit together like jigsaw pieces so perfectly, complex, but simple at the same time. I have had good and bad times, times which are mundane and times which are spectacular. All of them lock together to make me what I am, and there is not one thing that I would change.
I first found this pattern in the halo of a saint on an icon in the church of Shepherds' Fields in Bethlehem. I drew it, with two there black and white cross patterns, into a notebook. I have used it often - and have seen work by other quitl artist's, notably Michael James, who use the same pattern. I was miffed at first as I thought I had discovered it, then realised that it was never mine to begin with and just accepted that many will use it. It strip pieces easily as each line is the same, short dark, short light, long dark, short light short dark, long light and so on. So you make one great slab, and slice it it, shuffling the strips along and dropping beginning bits onto the ends at will. It is a tad more complicated though when changing colours.
Snippets – four tiny quilts for some of the personal symbols I used.
No photos - and I did some interesting ones too! If I ever see them up again I will take some better shots.
I welcome comments, as usual.