I am taking part in Horsham Artists Open Studios art trail on 8/9th and 15/16th June. See flyer below. Excited!
This quilt is called “Incandescence” because it looks like masses of light and flames bursting out from the centre. But it could also be called “In the Beginning, God….”, the first few words of the Bible. That is because it looks like a self-starting, outward-moving design,
constantly giving forth, growing, creating. And a totally new beginning.
I’ve just finished moving house. Exhausting! (and apologies for no new postings for a while). I had definitely accumulated too much stuff over the years. Had to throw out a whole lot of things representing long past lives, projects never completed or even started, souvenirs, even going back to childhood. Things I hadn’t been able to let go before. A sad and thoughtful process…. But now I have a new beginning in my new home, which I am thrilled with. Actually, it isn’t my real home, it is a mobile home parked permanently very near the sea, a summer home, but I love it. I am doing it all up, and it is all new!
I hope to do loads of creative work there. New beginnings energize me, make me full of hope.
But new beginnings can be deceptive, too. For some reason we think that just by moving, new job, new home, new school, new relationship, we will avoid all our issues and problems, and become an all new, much better person instantly….. We think that with this new start, we will instantly be cured of addictions, bad habits, bad temper, bad ways of treating people, or whatever the problem has been in the past home, job, school, relationship etc….. But sadly, we soon find we are relapsing back into the same bad ways in our new start. We need to be realistic, and work away at all these issues, one at a time maybe, over a longish period of time, and with any necessary help, not expect instant geographic cures.
Nevertheless, a new beginning can be a real kick-starter, on any of these problems, and real encourager to get going and make yourself and your life go better. To grow outward, be creative, touch other people’s lives in a good way, to be “incandescent”, but not with rage, with light and energy.
So I can’t wait to get out there, walk by the sea, make the new curtains for my new home, start a new sketchbook, plan a new series of quilts, etc…!
The picture above is of my quilt wall hanging called “The Net”. Some people think it is my best work. I designed it from a photo of a fisherman mending his net, but my design shows the net underwater. The net appears to swirl and billow out, moving in the swell, and you can see the light falling through the water from the surface. If you look at it you can just see a net design, or if you half close your eyes, the shapes between the net strings are the shape of fish in the net, swimming up to the light at the surface. Lots and lots of fish, of all sizes. Can you see them?
In the gospels, there are stories of Jesus doing a miracle for his fishermen disciples, who have been fishing all night but caught nothing. He tells them to cast their net into the deep water the other side, and when they draw it up it is so full of fish that they can hardly haul it ashore, and the nets starts to break.
I love this story. On your own you can work hard but get nowhere, probably working within your comfort zone, in safe, familiar, shallow waters. Jesus tells you to get out of your comfort zone, casting off into the deep, the unknown, the risky; but out of obedience and trust in him. Then you get rewarded with miraculous, plentiful results!
All good, you think. But what about the fish? A whole shoal of them have swum into a net, at Jesus’ bidding, and are about to die. No I am not arguing for strict vegetarianism here, though it has its point. What I think happened here is that the fish swum voluntarily into the net, as a willing sacrifice, at their Saviour’s request. For a sacrifice to be of any value, it has to be done willingly, not forced. Sacrifice is not a concept at all appreciated in our “Me, me, me, instant gratification” type of society we live in. It is really a forgotten concept. But it is there in all of us as an instinct. A mother, protecting her infant. A father protecting his family. Leaders protecting their tribes, soldiers dying for their country or their faith. And of course, Jesus sacrificed himself too, dying on the cross, for us, for mankind. He was willing to do what he asked the fish to do, what he asks his disciples to do.
Sometimes we need to make sacrifices, small or huge, willingly, in our lives. It goes together with getting out of our comfort zone, casting out into the deep….. Huge rewards can come, both for us and for our family, society, nation, or whatever, if we do this. Tiny rewards, if any, come if we always put ourselves and our needs first, and keep to a safe, comfortable lifestyle.
So my picture is about sacrifice, as well as the miraculous. In deep, but beautiful waters. But people see different things in it. I have made and sold three quilt versions of this work now, as well as several printed versions, and people have asked me to do more; they can’t get enough of it. A surprise to me!
This quilt is part of my money series, dealing with different ways of getting and handling money. The golden goose is a fable about finding a special goose which lays eggs of gold, thereby making you a fortune by selling the gold. But if you get greedy, overworking the poor goose, it dies and then you’ve killed your golden goose and get no more money. So it is about good handling of your resources, not flogging a thing to death, killing a great idea, over exploiting something. it is also about spotting a great idea, or niche in the market, and turning this into a good little business.
Do you have a great idea or skill which you can use to turn into a nice little earner, even if only part-time? Why not give it a go and see if it becomes your golden goose. I have done that with my quilting. I started by making just one quilt which I saw demonstrated at a textile fair I was attending for quite another reason. It took two years, while I was still working as a lawyer. And when finished, it astonished me, and I said Yes! This is it! I am going to give up my other main activities and do this full-time. No I don’t get much gold from it, but it is gold in a different way because people seem to like my work, it means something to them. I’ve sold a lot and most importantly, this creative outlet is energising and fulfilling more than I ever expected.
So I recommend trying to find your own golden goose!
My quilt above uses a pattern known as flying geese, going round and round in different directions, round the central four blocks of gold fabric, representing the golden eggs. it is a sunshiny bright cheerful quilt, bought by a friend of mine who loves yellow.