Looking Back. Looking Forward

This has been a year of extreme contrasts. and even more uncertainty, on both a work and personal level. The realities of earning a living as an artist has its ups and downs, working on projects, exhibiting, funding applications and teaching to sustain a living. A role made even harder during the last two years of the pandemic. Yet equally, the last two years have also been one of extending friendships, resilience and community, and of course, creativity.

September marked the launch of my fifth book, Embroidering the Everyday'  (Batsford publications) which I celebrated whilst teaching at West Dean College, little did I know that within the week, on the home front, things were about to change radically when my partner Derek suffered a massive Stroke. 

He is home now and working hard towards recovering as much of his independence as is possible. I now know why the term 'Stroke Survivor' is used. To survive and gain some movement and control requires courage and hard work. It is where I found another 'community' of friends who have given us support, as well as agencies, charities and the wonderful NHS who worked with us as we continue to find our way. (Some are listed at the bottom of this blog if you want to find out more about them and support their work)

Derek's Boots. I worked in the garden in the Autumn whilst Derek was in hospital.

Some of the skills I have learned during the 'pandemic years' are helping me now on a professional level. I can see a way forward to undertake some limited teaching and talks on-line until it becomes possible for me to travel and return to the classroom. 

So of the creative year. 

I spent the early Spring working on a new course Making Connections with Fibre Arts Takes Two in the garden studio. Beautifully filmed by Gary Weston . The introduction video which see me cycling through Mote Park reveals the importance of outside spaces in my life and work. This course will be repeated in the Spring of 2022.

I did get to exhibit and teach both live and virtually. These are selected highlights:

With Art Textiles Made in Britain in Found at the Festival of Quilts and later at Queen Street Gallery Neath. I also exhibited in the touring exhibition For the Love of Gaia. This exhibition will have it final show at the New England Quilt Museum from January 18,  2022

The Downs, Wind Torn alongside Betty Busby's Fire in the Sky at Festival of Quilts
Shadows at Queen Street Gallery

Painting with Cloth at the National Needlework Archive

Health and the Climate & Ecological Emergency Exhibition at the University College Hospital London with North Kent Marshes

Detail of North Kent Marshes 

Places, Spaces and Traces on LV21. 

The work reflects on my Romani heritage and the commonalities we have as people, the need for a place of our own, family and food 

This travels to R Space Gallery in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in January 2022 before moving on to Antwerp, where other collaborations relating to the theme will be on show in the Summer (further news to follow).

Interviews, teaching and lecturing : 

In Conversation with Wendy Gardiner at the Knitting and Stitching Show talking about creating in adverse times.

One of the inaugural Making Meaning Podcasts with maker and writer Ruth Singer.

In person workshops at West Dean College, and at Beth Morris Workshops. As well as Zoom lectures and courses with guilds, groups and organisations as well as teaching a blended course (studio and Zoom at same time at Kent Adult Education

So, in terms of an an aphorism of the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich NietzscheWhat doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I am still here, not sure I am stronger, but believe I am more resilient.

These are the charities who have helped along the way:

The Stroke Association UK

Crossroads Care Kent

Involve Kent a branch of Carers UK 

See you in 2022.


Popular Posts