Thursday, 13 October 2016


After working on a series of quilts inspired by the behaviour of different bodies of water I found myself bereft of ideas of what to do next. Such a drought is an uncomfortable feeling. Creating keeps me sane. When I don't know what to create the absence looms large and feels claustrophobic, my sewing room door beckons and then it dawns on me that I don't know what I'll do if I go in. For me, it affects my life, I'm slightly off kilter not quite right. I have suffered this for most of the summer.
I tried to do something positive, went looking at gorgeous gardens, full of amazing colours, with sculptural leaves and plant shapes, visited ancient houses with stone work and carving, tapestry and ancient tomes, and still I remained uninspired. I even tried to go back to basics and make a traditional quilt top, this too was hopeless, it's a grim piece in fabric that's not really "me" and will probably end up as a Linus quilt. I couldn't even muster the enthusiasm to go to Festival!

The drought was ended when I spent a week in north west Scotland facing telling the lovely group I belong to that I wasn't going to be able to make any pieces for our exhibition on the theme of Journey. It was an odd saviour, reading about General Wade, sent up to garrison the wilds of the highlands, he first had to build the roads for his army to march on. These constructions passed through some of the finest scenery, through birch wood and over heather moorland passed villages later to be 'cleared' to make way for sheep. I felt a connection. My imagination fired. Three very different possible pieces took form in my mind. There followed a frenzied period of creation and joy at being back to something like normality.
I embraced the creative process, took pleasure in making samples, trying out ideas, dyeing my fabrics, finding the right threads and an intense six weeks of stitching has resulted in three pieces I'm really pleased with. I think I'm back again, but the acid test is about to happen. What do I plan to do next? I'm really hoping that I can manage to move on to new work without the long fallow period I've just been through returning.

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