My abstract works are inspired by colours — their interactions, spatial relations and shapes. The small details of textured metal and painted symbols refocus the energy of the painting after I rigorously work the colours of the background with very wide brushes and large body movements. By applying real silver or aluminum metal leaf to the wooden board before painting with acrylics, the work gains an internal glow. To me, this glow portrays the inner light of our existence, yet is also a symbolic spotlight falling onto the current moment.
Using hand worked doilies and crochet items honours the unknown woman who gave a part of her life to create intricate, detailed and often delicate work with her hands. Work that at a time was honoured, appreciated and loved – yet now has lost its value – and with it the value of the part of the life the woman used to create the piece has diminished.
Much of the lace I use is found at auctions and thrift shops. It is sold for pennies. I am amazed at the delicate nature of much of the work – knowing how to crochet, embroider and knit, I fully understand the skill involved in creating/making the pieces.
With my traditional needle working training I received and even more so the training that my mother and her sisters were given – there also used to be a value to the woman herself based on the quality of her handwork.
By incorporating these pieces of handwork into my mixed media paintings, I attempt to place value back onto the lives of the unknown woman creator. To our maternal ancestor. It continues my desire to layer meaning in my work – to have each part contribute to the overall meaning and appearance of my work.
Although handwork such as sewing and crafting has seen resurgence in the past decade, superb quality of the work is often not appreciated by the viewing/buying audience. Our general acceptance of unclean/shoddy/shabby/low quality work has become the norm – further invalidating the time women used to spend on their handwork.
I don’t agree that a woman’s value should be dependent on the quality of her stitches, the fineness of here needlework, however, the work should be honoured for what it stands – part of a woman’s life – each minute spent stitching is a minute of her life given into the work.