Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Normal service will be resumed in the New Year

There have been many things about being a Twelve which have been 'sweet'. The friendships, the personal challenge and development, the publication of our book and, oh yes, the fun of signing autographs in restaurants whilst at Festival of Quilts with the quilts. Life is such that good times like that are usually balanced with bad days but I can honestly say that looking back there have been none for me.

That is because they are not in the past. They happened this week. I am living the horror right now. I knew from the start what I was going to do for this theme. The story was about how the Ethiopian Government is forcing traditional pastoralists off their land in the Lower Omo valley to make way for sugar plantations. Human Rights organisations are concered about land rights, the loss of traditional ways of living and military quelling of dissent. Eco groups are concered about the effect of the associated hydro electric dam on the valley ( which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and further afield on Lake Turkana. I confess I was feeling a little proud of that interpretation of the theme.

Yeah. Pride. Fall. You know how that goes.

I have made an abysmal excuse for a piece of art and there is no way, reveal or no reveal, it is standing as my last 20/12 piece. I had the feeling early on that it was not working but I thought if I added the hand stitching it would come right. It didn't. So I got pen and paints out and made it far worse. Now, this happened to Diane too so I should not be suprised it happened to me as we are so alike. But it happened to her when she had time to make another one and I - wail! - simply do not. Nor will I until the holiday rush is over.

But seeing as you are all nice readers I will humilate myself and show the Dog for your amusement. It has no contrast. It is too literal an interpretation of a map of the UNESCO site with the sugar plantations superimposed and the rivers as my series-required thin blue lines. It is visually overcomplicated and distracting. You can't even see most of the writing and handstitching that I wasted hours on. And the paint dobs look like, well, to be honest, I am not sure what they look like but I am sure they do not reference the Omo tribe's body paint in the way intended. It does not even deserve the time for a decent photo so here it is trapped in my microwave door on its way to the kitchen bin.

 

There comes a time when one needs to walk away from the quilt and this is it.

I am sorry.

 

10 comments:

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Don't worry about it Helen, it's not the end of the world. That's not until 21 December according to some doomsayers. If you wanted to show us something before the lights go out, you could always shoot for the chronologically pleasing date of 20/12/2012 20:12!

But,seriously, even with vision and planning, some pieces just don't work so thank you for sharing your experience.

Deborah Boschert said...

No need to apologize. It happens. I can see what you are saying about this piece... especially about the lack of contrast and the fact that all that hand stitching doesn't really show up. (I've made that mistake many times over.) I can also see how the story may have been lost a bit. But... I don't think it's a complete dog. I love the graceful black lines. I love how some are connected and some not, some go off the edge and some don't. I also really like the dots and the idea that they might refer to facial decorations. You've set a very long list of expectations and parameters for your work. This has been really successful and generated a beautiful series... but is it too restrictive?

Thanks so much for sharing. Really! It's very instructive to discuss our less than successful works.

Kristin L said...

If nothing else, it's obviously a map and that's a good part of your story. I hope that if/when you revisit this idea, the map will stay. I suspect your color scheme and surface decoration are what's betraying you as I remember your inspiration photo being more green and white, as is sugar cane itself. I sympathize with your disappointment in the work, but really, it does happen to all of us. You are in good company. :-) I look forward to seeing where you eventually take this idea once the pressure of time has passed.

Diane Perin Hock said...

Well, you do know I totally understand how this sort of thing happens, and actually while I see the problems you refer to, I don't think it's as BAD as you think it is. (Are you SURE Neocolor crayons couldn't save it? Har har -- investing magical properties in those crayons again, that's me.) So I look forward to seeing where you end up with this idea. As Kirsty says in her post, sometimes the bad ones are necessary to lead to the good ones...

Gerrie said...

It is definitely not that bad. It is a wonderful piece, waiting for a focal point or a bit of something to make me go ah ha! The elements that you have are working very well - it is textural and evokes a bit of mystery. You need to push this design a little further.

Helen Conway said...

Crayons! Oh the one thing I didnt try! Maybe if I coloured it in all black then scraped away some of the wax... Or maybe not!

Françoise said...

That's okay. You're going to make another one when you have time, and it's going to be great.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I am leaning toward agreeing with those who stated that it really isn't as bad as you might think. I see shapes and contrast between the oranges and the dark lines. It does, indeed, look like a map. I totally understand, though, if you are not pleased with it. Don't be hard on yourself. We will wait patiently to see your new creation.

Anonymous said...

When I first looked at this piece, I thought it rather interesting but I thought that the parts of the microwave were part of the piece. Those bits of color and the number graphic are in sharp contrast to the graceful black lines and subtle color changes in the piece. Don't throw it away--I think it needs to be bigger.

Terry Grant said...

Nooooooo! Not the kitchen bin! This is a background for something, or a piece to be cut up and combined with other things. There is good stuff here, just not what you wanted today. Stick it in the back of a drawer and someday you'll find it and be surprised.

Meanwhile, I can't wait to see what this is all leading to.