While doing the Artist’s Way course I wasn’t sure where it would lead. I had no idea what form my creativity would take. I did start a degree in textiles (until I got pregnant with my twin boys) but for my first artist’s date I decided to create an ambitious appliquéd cushion cover, and somehow although I loved the idea, I got bored after a few hours and still haven’t finished it. So I wasn’t sure that textiles was the right path for me. But towards the end of the course an idea started to materialise, I didn’t force it, it just lay in gestation and slowly formed into something meaningful and whole. I think it’s the first time I’ve let an idea bubble up gently without forcing it out. I love Julia Cameron’s comparison of creativity to birthing, I have always felt like creativity is a really painful process – like childbirth, but this time I let my baby of an idea grow until it was ready to pop out more gracefully.
I am going to describe what I want to do, to set the intention (and so I can’t wriggle out of it in fear of failure). The person in my family with whom I identify most with is my maternal grandmother. I was very close to her and unfortunately she died when I was only 17, so I never knew her as an adult. As she lay slowly dying of cancer, she told me about her youth in the 20s and 30s, when she was an avant-garde bohemian, way ahead of her time, who had all sorts of exciting escapades in pre-war Europe and hung out with the Bloomsbury set. It must have been an exciting existence, cut brutally short by WWII. My grandmother was Jewish and her parents did not survive the war, she only managed to through a few synchronicitous miracles. She showed me her beautiful photo albums from the time but I was only a teenager and I didn’t fully take in all this information. Sadly I don’t remember any of her stories. She left me her photo albums which my mother eventually gave to me when she trusted that I was mature enough to look after them properly. It took quite a long time for me to reach that level of responsibility!. The photos are delightful and some of them not what one would expect of one’s grandmother (who would have been 100 if she was still alive). I put some of my favourites on Flickr but I’ll reveal a few here.
So I have decided to use these photos to make some textile pieces, probably in the form of art quilts, as for a long time I have been fascinated by the precious heirloom quality of textiles that have been handed down through generations and where women have taught their daughters to sew. When I was pregnant, my aunt found a pile of fabric scraps in her attic that were left over from dresses that my grandmother made in the 70s. There are lots of beautiful Liberty floral prints that I will use in these quilts. I am so excited to have finally hit on a project that I really feel from the heart. I will keep you posted on its creation.