Monday, December 29, 2014

The Year That Was

We are fast approaching 2015, and it's a time for reflection and review of the year and then looking forward to 2015. In some ways I feel as if 2014 has been a year I would rather forget but when I look closely that is not strictly true. It's a year of  almost two halves- my personal life and my professional life as an artist.

My personal life has made me sad indeed with losing a beloved  cat and a favourite aunt and friend- we had so many plans of what we would do together- she had been my support  the times I have come to Europe- she made teaching in Europe possible in the beginning and we laughed and made merry. When my uncle was still alive and Parkinsons was starting to  debilitate him we all went to Italy for a holiday, driving, and then after he died she was dreadfully lonely and went through a very  heavy abdominal operation for an infected intestine which should have been picked up way earlier by the doctors but wasn't . She survived, and recovered remarkably well, and we had a little holiday in Normandy earlier in 2014 and then cancer struck her down, and I wasn't able to get to Europe in time to see her one more time- we did talk on Skype, but it all went so fast that I feel like I am only now coming to grips with it. I feel a bit cast adrift as her home was the home  I do not have at present- and it was familiar and the door was always open.

 Yes I could rent a home but there is not much point as I will be returning to Europe in March for 3 months so I have been trying the house sitting gig. I do get the distinct impression from the  housesitting organisation I have joined that most  house sits would prefer couples- there seems to be some impression that a woman alone can't manage it somehow- little do they know ! So so far I have only done housesitting by the word of mouth route and have  looked after a menagerie of animals and gardens. So if you  know anyone who needs a house sitter in Melbourne- I am your person!And then there is the bureaucratic  shenanigans  going on with my block of land- but I am leaving that alone until January after the latest round of ridiculously long bureaucratic replies, saying absolutely nothing.

However my artists life seems to be going well. I had a successful solo exhibition at Palaiseau MJC in conjunction with the wonderful Sentinelles ( and I will leave you a glimpse of them in my next post). The sentinelles were shown in many of Australia's capital cities to much acclaim.
The sentinelles will be shown one last time at Copacc in Colac from 10 January until the first week in  February 2015. It will be your last opportunity to see this entrancing collection of work by many together- then they will all go back to their makers.

I also exhibited at Quilts en Beaujolais, and at Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe and in October at OEQC at
Eindhoven. My work was published in  many magazines, especially french ones and last but not least- many of my readers made a dream come true with your incredible support of our Pozible campaign, which saw us achieve our goal of self publishing a book. I also rented a studio at Appleton Street Studios in Richmond.

I also started the medieval project. There is still time for you to buy a panel to join this project ( there is more information under the Medieval project tag at the top of the tool bar of the blog)

And yet despite all these good things I felt as if I had fallen in a hole. You feel as if everything should be looking up and somehow it doesn't seem to. Though I have promised myself that it all begins again with the way I always  come through these things- small steps , little things, just be busy working on something, the doing leads to other things even though no idea is really wanting to jump forward, and the doing also seems to somehow trump this feeling- so that is what I have been doing this week , small things.

I said there would be five panels in the medieval project- at present there are four- I have been working on the final one inspired by the Books of Hours of Anne of Bretagne- a dragon, but in the medieval style- also a bestiary of sorts.

The page in the book you can see is form the Book of Hours of Anne de Bretagne with miniatures by Jean Bourdichon published by Editions de Cremille in Geneva in 1989. I tried to draw the  dragon in a way that could lead to lots os stitching- and there will be some more changes made as I cut the lino later today.Is it too close to the original though?

And then there are these lovely pages from the book- as always the pomegranate calls to me, and is also a timely reminder of the cycle of things- things will move on...

These images from the pages of the book are just beautiful and make you wish you could actually sit with one of these books for an hour or two. But in all reality they are so precious that we can only really ever see these  through facsimiles or through the dedicated study through  a university or medieval centre. And also notice the caterpillar which may burst into a beautiful butterfly one day.
And then as I have been tidying the studio and trying to find a place for things I came across a started linocut , which I had not finished, and as I finish things I decided to finish it. More Cocteau's cat- but a smaller shaped version. I shall try printing it today.

 Then there is a new project to look forward to , apart form having to create new work for  exhibitions with Through Our Hands and some other commitments- I made 2014 the year I would say yes to everything. I have now created a rough guide for Form and Variation- an online course which I will run throughout 2015 and which will start in early February 2015. The rough guide sets out  what I have in mind and some of the things we will explore. If you would like a copy simply email me or message me. The  course will cost $100 AUS- and I hope will inspire you to develop a body of work.

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thank you for this look back at your year, both the highs & the lows. The story of your house sitting rang true. I too had to do a lot of convincing of a landlord to let me rent the caretaker house on his vacation property. He was envisioning a retired couple & was only convinced that I could handle the responsibility of running off trespassers, I think, because I had a dog & also a gun & knew how to use it!

As always, enjoyed the pictures that inspire your art, a theme not often seen among quilters. And yes, you must finish that linocut - it has so much character!