Tuesday, March 10, 2009

As Promised - New Finished Work

There are three stories and I am going to tell them - bear with me as the quilts are only intended to be the tip of the iceberg, a memento.

Jenny Bowker

My pieces for Collections started as work based on the things I own, and in these quilts I have featured things from Egypt.

I love my cluttered home, and every object has a story. Each is a starting point- it evokes a memory of people or places, maybe one specific time, or a long period of multiple visits. As I made the work it became important to include some of the people I loved in the city
of Cairo.

Hassan and the Glass

Hassan blows glass in a tiny room in the centre of a square opposite the Qaitbey Mosque in the City of the Dead in Cairo.


The room is overwhelmingly hot, even in Winter, and shelves around the room are packed with bright treasures. Colours are so vivid that they seem to trap the fire inside the glass. I went there often and each time I would buy some small pieces.



I wanted some sense of the ordered ranks of jewel-like glass in its silhouetted shapes, and the incredible heat of the room and that Hassan continually worked with. I worried that the quilt was too rigid as I started the racks of glass, but it seemed to improve as I started free-cutting elements of fire.

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I noticed that as he started to work with the molten glass, he focussed and became intent. I wanted that concentration and I wanted his face to be really strong.


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Ittayer - The Friday Market in the City of the Dead

Ittayer has a junk stall in the City of the Dead. It is not tidy - it
is grotty and cluttered and he rarely has things I actually wanted to
buy. He has a wonderful welcoming smile. I have a collection of old
keys, and a few locks, and hamzas - the hand-shaped protection against
the Jealous Eye.

I do not actually have an image of his stall - but I am using bits and pieces from many places.

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He has a marvelous relaxed smile and a joyous attitude yet he lives in one of the hardest places in Cairo.

He usually sells metals and I have found some treasures over the years.

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Abu Ali and the Gilded Chairs

Abu Ali is usually strikingly dressed in black and white in the area
where he carves and sells chairs.



He is guaranteed a living as this is one thing even the most wealthy Egyptians will spend money on. The chairs are gilded and covered in elaborate fabrics, silks and satins and flocked velvets. It is so strange to walk in the tiny overcrowded streets of the furniture areas and see, among the dirt, these chair frames gilded and glowing.



On this day I had arrived to bring him some photographs and found that
he was not well. The escort I gathered in asking for him took me to
his window and I handed up the photos. He was moved and thrilled to
get them, and this is when I took this photograph.



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Now you know what I have been doing for the last few months. I have been missing Egypt and have been working my fingers off trying to re-create some elements in my house.

I decided to blog these when I realised that none can really be competitive in the States. All are committed to the Collections for two years of travel. By then they are just too old for Houston and many large shows in the US.

So - you might as well see them.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Thanks from Alice

Alice has sent me a letter to put up for everyone. At the last count she had about 120 parcels. I will let her tell you.

This is her letter.

To Jenny and Scquilters and Friends,

We are presently renting a two bedroom house in Buxton (our own home having been destroyed by fire). The second bedroom is bursting at the seams with quilting fabrics and quilting accoutrements, everything from pins and needles to cutting boards, coffee cups and crayons. The room is overflowing, my heart is soothed and delighted by your kindness and notes of comfort and both Jan and I are overwhelmed by the gifts and your outpouring of care and concern.

Jan is still taking delivery of the parcels, and very kindly records each giver's name and gifts. I feel quite unable to reply to each so I am hoping all the girls in America, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, and England who have sent parcels will read this and know my thanks are plentiful and sincere.

My next task (when I finish unpacking) is to find a venue and invite interested quilters to come and partake of these gifts. We are hoping to be given space at the Marysville Golf Course, the clubhouse has been converted to a centre for community reconstruction.

Today I will send to "The Triangle News" a news item coving the story of your generosity hoping it will reach all the quilters and 'would-be' quilters in this area so devastated by the fires.

With much love and gratitude to Jenny and all who responded so warmly.

Alice, Buxton.
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