I am pleased to announce that this very large goldwork piece is finally finished. (I blogged this work in progress here, here, here and here). This work is the second in a series of 3 (you can view the first work, "Who Watches the Child, here) and is approximately 55 cm long x 40 cm wide. Those of you who have attempted goldwork will appreciate just what a massive undertaking it is to make such a large work featuring this technique. I must admit that I found it rather arduous (and to be honest, tedious) work. As a result I walked away from it for a number of months, something that is uncharacteristic for me as I tend to only have one artwork on the go at any time. It turns out this was a good thing as I returned to it with renewed vigour and enthusiasm and was able to finish it in a sustained burst of activity over about 3 weeks.
The girl who is a subject of all three works in the series is no longer a helpless baby, but is now a young girl of 10 years. The Shadow remains, but she is determined to resist him.
These photographs were taken while the work was still on the frame. Much to my disappointment, the disparity between the width of the top edge and that of the bottom is not an optical illusion. I have since corrected this by adding in extra goldwork on the left side.
The goldwork is geometric and textural and the appearance changes when viewed from different angles and depending on the direction and intensity of the light source.
The 2 photos above show how different the work can look from different angles.
Various gold threads also add colour and textural variety.
Notice the red motif in the upper right corner? This motif is present on each of the sides and is worked in Or Nue. This is the Adinkra symbol "Aya" or "Fern". It is the symbol of endurance and resourcefulness. According to the Adinkra Dictionary, "an individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty".
Children should not be exposed to adversity and difficulty and yet so many are. This little girl is a tough cookie. She is haunted by the Shadow, but she has learned how to survive. She may not always be safe, but she is determined that no harm will come to her beloved pet rabbit. Despite the Shadow's best efforts to break her will and confidence she stands defiant and strong, burying her hurt in a deep and private place.
In these next photos you can see the different colours and types of gold threads used.
The gold threads really make the girl's eye sparkle.
Bunny nestles safely in the girl's arms surrounded by golden opulence.
To me, the arms tell the story. Bunny is held close and safe. The gold frame proclaims loudly that they are both precious.
Life and its many dramas has got in the way of a number of things in my life being temporarily put on hold and one of them has been writing blog posts. It seems this year has thrown up one challenge or disaster after another and as a result studio time has been severely curtailed. What has held me back? Well sometimes I have just not being physically able to get to the studio because of other, more urgent matters that needed attending to. Sometimes I had no emotional space for sustained creativity.
Despite all the crap going on I have managed to make some art. You'll remember that I started a new series of works on that amazing woven cotton paper (see here and here). Here are 2 new works in the series.
The title of this work is The Shape of Pain 1. I have to disclose right here, right now that the title and general idea for this work was shamelessly stolen from a friend . My friend, who for the purposes of anonymity I will call Sarah, is not an artist and so I don't think she'll mind that I stole her idea. Besides, everyone knows that's what artists do. We are gleaners, we gather ideas and turn them into something new. Some, such as Picasso, were bold enough to call it stealing. Yeah, he's probably right.
Sarah has a very dear friend who lost her husband when a helicopter he was travelling in crashed. She was telling me how she had seen her friend recently, about a year or so after the accident and that her friend had developed an unusual wrinkle in her forehead that had never been there before. It was a square-shaped wrinkle on her forehead that extended to another square wrinkle over her nose. Sarah went on to say that she had recently been thinking about the "shape" of pain and that her friend's newly developed wrinkle struck her as a stark example. In my work I have drawn the helicopter blades in ink. The right hand column is fractured, breaking the rotars apart. The "wrinkle" shapes, as interpreted by me from Sarah's description, are stitched over the top.
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I am a hand embroidery artist living and working in the rugged and wild Central HIghlands of Tasmania.