So I began working on another idea - the fine line between joy and pain, between living life to the full and giving in to despair. Heavy, I know, but it's something I have lived and something I have observed, and I felt it would give me the opportunity to work more abstractly. Which I did. The upper portion of the quilt was mostly grey, and the lower portion was mostly black, with a line of colourful almost-windows dancing across the horizontal division between the two. I pieced it, I hand-quilted it, I bound it and labelled it. And then I stood back and had a really good look at it again, and it just didn't do what I wanted it to do. So I withdrew from the group's proposal, and moved onto something else.
But then a few members of the group extended some gentle encouragement to me, and graciously extended the deadline, so that I could still be a part of the group's exhibit. I decided to try one more time, this time focussing on an Africa-inspired piece. I thought about the line between the sky and the earth - the horizon line - that magical place we watch on clear evenings as the sun goes down, and again the next morning as the sun rises again. I thought about our years living in Lesotho, which is also known as the Kingdom in the Sky, and about the sunrises and sunsets I saw there. I thought particularly about the sunset I saw on the day of South Africa's elections in 1994, which saw Nelson Mandela elected as president and scores of people voting who had never before had that privilege. And I decided that it was this feeling that I wanted to capture in fabric.
This image was taken before the squares were stitched in place and before the machine quilting was added, but it gives you an idea of the piece. The colours are pure-Africa, inspired by Lesotho, while the setting was inspired by the work of Heather Lair. It's called "Where Heaven Meets the Earth" (30" X 40"). I then made two much smaller companion pieces (10" X 10") that will hang on either side of the main piece. When all our work is hung, each of us having made one large piece and two much smaller companion pieces, there will be an implied and continuous line from one work to the next.
The first of the smaller works shows two women walking home together at the end of the day, while the second shows a shepherd boy, watching and waiting - a fairly typical sight in Lesotho. Both are pictured against the backdrop of the Maluti Mountains, in the arid and dusty red-earthed landscape. These three pieces, and the work of eight of our group, will be part of our August exhibit at the Ladysmith Art Gallery - an exhibit that will showcase both our A Fine Line pieces and our Indigo pieces. I have so enjoyed making these, and wonder if they will end up as part of a sub-series of Africa-inspired work. I rather hope there are more to come . . .