Friday, May 23, 2014
I am so pleased to share a close look at my new collection of quilting Cotton, Pretty Potent. Here is the write-up that I've offered to describe my inspiration for the collection in short:
I've always considered sitting in front of a plant with a pencil and paper the best drawing class one can take. Looking to nature for inspiration and instruction on beauty is an old and welcome practice in all forms of making art. Using the natural world for healing is perhaps even an older practice. In my Pretty Potent collection, I drew inspiration specifically from plants and flowers that are often used for healing. While they possess properties to heal our physical bodies, the very beauty of the plants themselves seems intended to be a balm for the soul. Potent and pretty. The duality enchanted me
That is most of the story. There is always a bit more to it. Sometimes I feel compelled to share that extra bit, and this is one of those times. As misplaced as the back story might actually seem in the realm of cotton fabric (for heaven's sake), I have always felt that there aren't any real rules to any of this so no imminent breaking of them I suppose either. Roughly a year ago I had a newborn baby who needed milk and precious undivided attention around the clock. I had the sting of shock with every move that I made having just lost my mother only weeks earlier, and in many ways was suffering from post-traumatic stress as the recurring images of the very intimate details of losing her slowly over several days by her side, as blessed as I was to be there, appeared in my eyes in my sleep and with every possible trigger of memory in my days. I had contracted MRSA from the hospital where I delivered Mary Anna that was unbelievably painful and required a great amount of care to prevent giving it to the baby as the main infection site was right in my underarm very near where her sweet head rested as she nursed. I had torn a ligament in my left knee by slipping down my father's stairs the night before the 40-day memorial for my mother, rendering me limp and unable to go on long walks that I desperately needed for my recovery of body and soul, without intense amounts of pain. I had a vascular anamoly that would not stop bleeding for more than a month that finally required plastic surgery to remove from my sternum. And I was behind on work. Which was a pittance in comparison to all of the above, however it was work for which I so wanted to be joyful and healthy and glad. It was designing my fabric collection. I was in need of healing. In so many ways. Specifically never in my life had I been in more need of physical healing, let alone the rest. I was bankrupt of the typically deep well of inspiration that I have for making art. I settled then, very mechanically at first, on allowing my work, my drawing, my coloring, and my inspiration to derive itself from subject matter that was very specifically about healing. But also beauty. Desperate for both. My colorway names are derived from a prayer for travelers, as the tiniest additional plea from me. And yes it is attached to something that certainly does not require such an outpouring of emotion or even thought, only being fabric. But you see, there was no other possible way for me to do it if I could not create all of it at once, just like this and convince myself (a lie perhaps) that doing so in this exact way would certainly help. I was so in need of help. I prayed continually for it. I asked my dear mother in prayer for it in a quiet room where I got no response other than a sweet baby making little slurpy nursing noises, and I would then have to force a response in my head, holding so closely to the imagined sound of my mother's voice, fearing if I didn't I would lose it forever. I needed even this work for hire to be a process, a story, a prayer, and even a recovery. And so it was. A little. And a joy now to feel how much I have indeed in every physical sense healed since then, across the months since the first drawing to now finally the sewing. I will continue a little now, as though I have not indulged enough, and share each of the prints closely.
Echinacea is commonly used to heal a common cold and boost the immune system.
Chammomile is commonly used to heal inflammations of the skin and bacteria on the skin.
Eucalyptus is commonly used to heal wounds, ulcers and burns.
Mary Thistle was used in the first century to protect the liver and treat cancer.
Primrose is thought to have benefits for many different ailments including autoimmune diseases.
Aloe Vera is most commonly used to heal burns, but has uses for numerous ailments.
Banner Days is a design inspired by the Mexican folk art, papel picado which is used to decorate family celebrations like baptisms, weddings and even funerals.
Family Unit is inspired by the group of us that are commonly used to heal ME.
thank you, xoxoAM