1 September 2019

From Deep Sea to Deep Space

For quite some time, I’ve been thinking about making a series of art quilts that form a cohesive whole. The problem was that I couldn’t make my mind up what the theme should be. I’ve felt strongly that I want to do something with mermaids and the ocean, but for some reason my ideas felt superficial and childish, lacking depth. I love mermaids and sea creatures, I love swimming, I care about the state of our oceans and lakes, but it didn’t seem to be enough to push me into creative mode.  I didn’t want to make just pretty stuff: I wanted heart and soul. But not politics. I made a mermaid doll, I made a small mermaid art quilt, but it stopped there and my creator’s block continued.

At this point I came across an astronomy course, A Galactic overview, and decided to sign up. Since I was a child I’ve had some interest in space and the starry sky, but because most of my adult life I’ve lived in places where you couldn’t easily see stars and my life has been filled with plenty of other interests, I haven’t really devoted much time to space-related matters. Therefore it came as a surprise to me that this brief course led to a veritable explosion of creative ideas, and a new imaginary world where strange concepts were born: I painted comet ladies, astromaids, moon ladies and Celtic knotwork galaxies. I started painting nebulae on fabric and making purses and garments with a space theme. I took an interest in astrophotography, and took funny selfies with the full moon. I read books about astronomy and gained new knowledge. And in time an idea began to form in my head, which eventually led to my first space-themed astroquilt, Cosmos.

For me, the work on an art quilt brings the deepest satisfaction if it is a journey of learning. Dyeing fabric and sewing isn’t enough. I want more. I want challenge and development. I want to learn new skills and gain new knowledge. And I love to mix concepts, play with words and symbolism and create new meaning and alternative realities. Astronomy turned out to be a deep well to scoop from, and my head is swimming with ideas.

So I’ve decided to start working on a space-themed series of art quilts and mixed media artwork, and as a working title I’ve chosen to call the project ‘From Deep Sea to Deep Space’. The space theme will run through the whole project as the connecting idea, but I also want to introduce other concepts. I want space and the ocean to intermingle and the boundaries between them to blur. I want mermaids and astromaids to play in this environment. I want starfish and star-shaped fossils to twinkle in the deep. I want to explore the universe deep inside the human body.

To spur me on, I’ve set a date for an exhibition in September 2020, and I’ve created a special Facebook page for the project, which will bring together everything I publish on different social media platforms.

Would you like to follow me on this adventure?