Sold a Mountain!

Thrilled to have sold one of my “mountain” series of wall hangings, from my Etsy online shop.  The first of my larger wall hangings to be sold on Etsy (selling on there is really, really hard, by the way, but I am gradually progressing, patience and constant work required).  I was having a nap and my phone went “Kerching!”, the sound it makes when a sale has occurred.  Caught napping by a sale!

I have spent a lot of time living among mountains; for years in Austria, where my family had a chalet for skiing in the winter and walking in the summer.  We used to travel there by train, winding through the high mountain passes.  This quilt above is the view from the train as you come out of the long Arlberg tunnel, in winter.  It feels like the snow and rocks are about to hit into the train windows, they are so close. High snowy peaks, rocky ravines, frozen waterfalls, deep blue shadows in the snow….

I saw the Alps in all seasons, close up.  Years ago now.  But it suddenly came out in my art, decades later.  I unexpectedly did  a series of five quilt wall hangings of mountain landscapes.

Well, that is “Winter”.  I will miss it.  Next mountain quilt, watch this space….

Naked Moments

I have had three “Moments of Nakedness” recently.  By this I mean moments when you feel so close to something, a thought, an understanding, a person, a moment of seeing or hearing, that you feel like you are naked within this moment of before it. 

The first one was while watching the commemorations for the First World War battle of Paschendale, on the TV, held at the Menin Gate in Ypres in Belgium, through which hundreds of thousands of British soldiers, mostly very young, marched to their deaths at the front not far away a hundred years ago. One of the worst and most wasteful battles ever.  This ceremony, with a relatively few involved, was grief-stricken, moving, beautiful, tear-jerking, in a way that the larger scale commemorations at a huge battlefield cemetary nearby next day didn’t match.  At the Menin Gate, it was intimate, a “naked moment” for all involved.

The second one was listening to a piece of music composed jointly by Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, called Passages, performed live for the first time at the Proms in a packed Albert Hall.  The piece is meditative, sad,  uplifting and fun at different times, a merging of Eastern and Western music and thought.  For all the hugeness of the Albert Hall, it was a moment of intimacy, a special moment between all the players, which reached the audience, and even to me watching on catch-up TV….  a Naked Moment.  I’ve sent for the CD of this work, but it won’t be the same as this engaging live performance…..

The third moment was at the end of a tough summer school in New Testament Greek I have just been doing for two weeks at a cathedral near me.  Sweating it out with all that difficult Greek grammar, nearly gave up at times, and was one of the worst in class. Nevertheless, all worth it on the last afternoon, when we slaved away at two short New Testament passages translating the Greek.  One was from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel, and the other was from the Last Supper account, in Luke’s gospel. It took us hours just to work at these short passages.  And yet, it was so real, you felt like you were in the same room while the Last supper was going on, or beside the Sea of Galilee; you could smell the sea, see the large crowd, it was that close and real.  Reading it in translation doesn’t have the same effect as this, and it was quite unexpected!  A real moment of nakedness…..

In the above quilt wall hanging, called “Presence”, I  tried to depict a feeling of closeness, presence, of another person, a spiritual moment of closeness.  No pretenses, no hidden agendas, no formality, no polite conversation, just you and them. What I call a  moment of nakedness.

Happy Birthday!

It’s my birthday today, so Happy Birthday to me!  Just went out for cake and coffee and the waitress gave me the cake free for my birthday!   So I  am feeling thankful and fortunate for everything, including that.  Small gestures can make a big difference.

I thought my quilt called “Treasure Trove” was appropriate for today, in my series of quilts on the theme of money.  These seven quilts deal with different aspects of getting and handling money.  This one is meant to represent a huge lucky windfall, such as finding a huge chest full of buried treasure.  I have made it using blocks of sparkling stars in different jewel colours.  It’s a very cheerful quilt. In real life, these sorts of windfalls don’t often happen.  But there are some: a  redundancy package, a  promotion, scratch card win, unexpected legacy, unexpected refund, a big saving made on something, etc., etc.  Even a free cake with your coffee…..

Last time’s quilt dealt with the culture of greed represented in my quilt called “Bankers’ Bonuses”; this time, in “Treasure Trove” the money comes to one by luck or good fortune.

Of course, as Christians, we have a huge treasure trove in God himself, and all his blessings and gifts to us. Luck has got nothing to do with it, windfalls are a gift from God.  These blessings, gifts and treasure from God go largely untouched, un-opened and unrecognised, sadly. Why do we not spot them more?  Use them more?  Appreciate them more?

Today, I feel,  is a good occasion for me to say thank you and make a mental list of all the ones I can think of……  Starting from before I was born even.    Yes, we should celebrate all these wonderful gifts, blessings and treasures.  Mental note, put the champagne in the fridge for later.  (Actually it is only sparkling wine, but who minds eh!  It’s all good.)