For the first few months of the treatment I lost all creativity, only managing to start feeling any inspiration at all, once I had started to do a little bit of gardening and a little bit of garden art by way of making a woven nest for a large stone because my sister said that a certain bush looked as if it should have a nest in it.
Thank goodness I did, because I was committed to finishing a piece of work for our " Between the Lines" WW1 inspired EAST exhibition at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexander Palace and Harrogate in October......and I did finish it...in fact, I am certain that having it as a goal really helped me to stay positive and focus on things other than feeling ill! I have always known that for me art...especially stitching also works as a therapy and I have often talked about stitching myself better.
I wasn't able to steward our exhibition but went up on the coach with friends last Sunday and thought that our ladies, who work so hard to hang all the work well had done a wonderful job....and everyone's work shown to its best.
"Between the Lines" goes 'on tour' in 2015 by which time I will have three pieces ready....I was just happy to have finished the major piece in time.
So, I thought it was time to start my blog again....I think it helps me in that it is another goal and point of focus which will hopefully drive the practical work forward as I have a lot of ideas buzzing about in my head for new work, but no clear direction yet....I know that I want to make a visual journey of my last 11 months of surgery and chemo, but in what form I have not yet decided....I may start with some lino cuts first of little drawings I did in hospital and see where that leads, but for now, here is my work for the exhibition, it is called "The Solace of Larks:
|"The Solace of Larks"|
At the other end of the wildlife theme were the rats, who were responsible for a huge amount of deaths through disease, but they also provided a great deal of sport as the soldiers would be killing as many as they could in their quiet times and proudly displaying rows of them strung like bunting, so I knew they had to be a part of the piece.
Finding an old First Aid kit, built into a suitcase was the starting point too; it still had very old medical items, and the wooden splints and tourniquets could even be from that era..
I decided to make a textile panel to fit in the lid of the case, which would show the shattered landscape by using tree bark. The piece of antique quilt that I used was already full of holes....like craters, so I filled them all with tiny stitched crosses to represent the soldiers.
The mother of pearl Dove was a very old brooch, and seemed perfect to represent the purity of her and the song in contrast to the devastation and horror below, and gold beads 'rained down from her' over the crosses.
There were three empty compartments in the suitcase, and I knew that I wanted to make rats to put into these. In fact, the part I found most difficult was the making of the rats....first in finding a fabric that I was happy with and felt I could mould well, and secondly....I had never made animals before and I didn't want them to look like toys....they needed to be a little sinister, but not ugly. After many trials with unsuccessful fabrics I sacrificed a very old black cashmere cardigan which was almost beyond repair, and this worked really well.