Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Psychopomp Skull

I came up with the idea of making a richly decorative 3D quilted skull during a meditation. Thanks Deepak! My initial inspiration for the skull was from reading about psychopomps (from Wikipedia: literally meaning the "guide of souls" psychopomps are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife). I intended to make a psychopomp skull for my beloved grandmother, to whom I was very close as a child but sadly she died 30 years ago. As the project progressed it emerged that it was more about transformation. The skull represents death and darkness - I made it in the depth of winter while feeling desolate and heartbroken after the end of a brief but intense relationship. As the warmth and light of spring approached and I found some acceptance for my situation, I created the flowers and butterflies which represent growth, hope and transformation. I was inspired by Carl Jung's theory of 'the gold in the shadow': his belief that what consciousness rejects is often the stuff of life that may give it its highest value.
"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious" - Jung. 
I wanted to transform the skull (an object that is generally regarded as morbid and creepy) into a thing of beauty. 
Psychopomp Skull
Profile of skull

Close up of flowers

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mini Quilts inspired by my grandmother

I haven't updated my blog for a long time but I have been busy creating. Last year I enrolled on a year long textiles course at the City Lit in London which I found very inspiring. The quality of the teaching was incredible and I was lucky enough to be taught by a textile artist I already admired, Louise Baldwin. I stitched two mini quilts inspired by my grandmother.


This piece was made from a selection of my grandmother's old fabric scraps alongside some others I have in my extensive stash. I printed a photo of her on a scrap of the nightdress I wore when I was in hospital after giving birth to my twins. The embroidered text is from her epitaph, written by my mother. You can find a larger resolution image on my Flickr page.

Fragments of memories

The mini quilt above was made entirely with fabric that belonged to my grandmother. The hexagon fabric is offcuts of 1970s floral fabrics left over from dressmaking projects, some of it Liberty prints. I used copies of old photos from her photo album and postcards and letters that I had received from my grandmother as a child as templates and kept them visible instead of just using their shape and discarding them as it usually doen with hexagon quilts. The hexagons were then sewn onto an old lacy textile piece that I inherited. A larger resolution image of this is on my Flickr page.

There is an earlier post about my grandmother, Kate Frank AKA Omeli here. Yes it took me about five years to get around to starting on this project. It isn't the end either so watch this space!