|When I Was Twenty-One|
Thursday, February 21, 2013
When I Was Twenty-One....new fibre art piece
This work was inspired by the theme of aging and the way our individual journeys through life are so influenced by the times in which we live. It focuses on the major social and political events that influenced me personally. I finished this one in January and submitted it for jurying but it wasn't accepted so here it is.
This is the second piece I have done with a sixties theme (the other being 'Flower Power Revisited')
I came of age in the sixties with all its turbulence, freedoms, protests, optimism, change, and hope for a better world. The focal point of this piece is a couple of flower children with tambourine, guitar and protest sign (I used to hate how the 'girl' in the band always had the tambourine while the guys had the guitars and drums). I arranged symbols to spiral around these central figures with embroidered messages about the people and events that influenced my own life - from Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and John Lennon to Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and International Women's Year. From civil unrest, environmentalism, 'big brother', to globalization and the world wide web. Of all the external influences over my lifetime, I believe that coming of age in the sixties was the most profound. I find it interesting that some of the themes just keep coming back (peace, civil unrest, environment).
I end the circle with a red hat ("When I am Old I shall wear purple") and a drifting autumn leaf.
This piece is appliqued and quilted by hand and I used paint and fabric markers for their features and the dress and guitar. His afro is made of french knots.
In researching this piece I found myself remembering details about events that I had long forgotten. It really made me think about my values, which have evolved and matured over the decades, while my core beliefs have only grown stronger over time. I think what I did learn as I matured is that it's okay to live fully in the present and feel the joy even while we work for change. That served me well when I was a social worker - to be able to rejoice in the small victories and the joys of life and not let the negatives get me down.
Here are some close ups of the piece. Note to me: next time I use a black background I will use black batting as well. It didn't beard while stitching but the hairs began to work their way through the fabric itself.
Maybe this work will spark some memories for some of you.....