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I’ve been a student of the Enneagram for about 4 years with UK-based teacher Karen Webb. I’m a Type 4 – The Artist or The Romantic. I can’t possibly (nor would I attempt to) go into an in-depth explanation here. Briefly, the Enneagram is a model of human personality which is principally used as a typology of nine interconnected personality types, which are represented by the points of a geometric figure called an Enneagram. I think of it like the Meyers-Briggs, but with many multi-facets and spiritual depths.
The virtue of my type is Equanimity – mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
About three years ago I had designed a new fibre art piece with the words ‘As it is on Earth, so it is in Heaven’. The piece would combine stones and feathers, opaque and transparent material. A synthesis of seeming opposites, but balanced. The words surprised me, as they come from the Lord’s Prayer. I’m not mainstream religious and don’t care much at all for Christian texts.
I went to a 3 day workshop with Karen Webb before I started to make the piece. Unusually, there was a representative of each of the nine Enneagram types among the participants. At the end of the workshop, Karen recited the Lord’s Prayer to illustrate that each line corresponds to the virtue, or gift, contained in each of the types. Lo and behold, mine was the very line I had chosen for my piece, or had it chosen me?
Anyhow, following the workshop, I made the piece which I call Equanimity as a gift for someone who is a Type Four. It is made from bleached mulberry bark, beach-gathered slate, two layers of silk organza and seabird feathers. The words are written in metallic silver paint.
I used a clear perspex lath to hang it from so it could be in front of a window or a light source. The threads from the feathers dangle several inches below the piece.
I like the juxtaposition of earth and air, and the combination of materials.
Today I led my first Stuff Your Inner Critic workshop. In our kitchen. While my artistic explorers were stitching, I read a little bit out loud from the chapter ‘The Imagination works slowly and quietly’.
There was time for some writing and reflection on some of the sabotaging messages our Inner Critics whisper or shriek to us.
At the end of the workshop, I presented each doll with a milagrito, a little miracle. They are only small, but muy powerful.
This weekend we threw open our doors and windows and invited guests into our penthouse home and studio for Devon Open Studios, 2012 which runs from the 8th to the 23rd of September.
It’s great fun. I love meeting people and talking with them about my artwork, their artwork, creativity, technique, risk-taking, artists and places which inspire us. In short, everything. This is my 3rd Open Studio at 20 Court Street. It’s a great way for me to show my artwork. We love having people over and I feel very confident and comfortable because I’m at Home with what I make. At other times when I’m ‘out in the world’ with my artwork, at a gallery, show or fair I take the confidence which began with my Open Studio experiences with me.
Visitors first arrive in our foyer hung with some of my earliest art quilts and my first experiments with hand stitch.
When I greet people, I offer a guided tour or to let people wander on their own. All of my work has a story associated with the making of it. We’ve put short descriptions up next to each piece and I’ve put a book next to a couple of my art quilts for people who may want to learn more.
I love the hanging rails and multi-directional light fixtures which allow me to quickly style the gallery spaces in the hallway and the foyer.
I’m normally in the north wing where my studio is and Steve floats between the living room and kitchen, where we serve tea, coffee and homemade cake.
We have artwork in every room in our home. People are very respectful of our space and wait to be asked over the thresholds of my studio and our bedroom.
I love to tell the story of our wedding quilt ‘Cleaved’, illustrated with the actual pieces of river-gathered slate, our wedding invitation and a ‘just married’ photograph from our wedding day.
I also have a few retail opportunities. As Steve said to one of our visitors, “This is what our home normally looks like, but with price tags.’
Pop-up business cards: just pull the tab and your card will magically appear!
Beside my art quilts, I’m showing some smaller works with my photographs printed or composed onto silk or cotton sheer fabric.
I’m usually up to some sort of work in my studio in between visitors
and take every opportunity to show off my new lamp to people!
We’ve set ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ up in our living room.
Steve usually shows the bed. I’ve been so involved in the construction and making of it over the past thirteen years and nine months that I’m still getting used to it as a finished piece. Whereas Steve, who is a natural-born writer and story-teller can weave a tale about the bed from its inception in 1999 through today. So I usually perch somewhere on the edge of the room and listen and watch.
We’ve put my templates for the valance on the wall near the bed.
And when there are a few people gathered round, we will remove the bed quilt and mattress and show people the knight and his lady who rest beneath the forest floor and the river of dreams.
So it has been a great start to this round of Open Studios. A couple of people asked me if it has been a ‘success’. I’m not quite sure where they’re coming from, but my definition of a successful Open Studio is setting a good vibe, meeting some amazing new people, spending time with familiar friends over the kitchen table and knowing that many of my visitors leave with a full heart.
Oh yeah, I’ve finished my Inner Critic and have been introducing it to people and letting then know about my ‘Stuff Your Inner Critic‘ workshops on the 15th and 22nd of September.
I’m open for the next two weekends – details here.
Today I’ve been playing with light and transparency in my studio. I’m using one of my Southbank photos as a starting point.
BTW, these are the ‘Stuff Your Inner Critic’ leaflets that Steve designed and wrote for me. I am so lucky to have such a talented and supportive husband!
Oh, maybe I haven’t mentioned this. I’m leading a Creativity workshop in my home studio during Devon Open Studios 2012. You can find out about it here. If you’re interested, give me a shout via the contact page of my website, pronto! I already have a few bookings on both days.
My Quilt Creations entry was too big to post in or drop off at a concierge’s desk, so I was able to take it direct to the NEC. Big thanks to the organisers – esp. Pam & Amanda! Steve and I wrote an assembly/instruction manual, hired a van and delivered it directly to the Hall.
It was a rainy day, but we had clear roads and smooth sailing all the way up.
I packed a Dukan lunch into my trusty lunchbox.
We stopped into Gordano Services for fuel.
When we arrived, we walked through the empty, nearly set up halls. It’s going to be great this weekend when the NEC is filled with beautiful quilts and wonderful people!
In one corner of Hall 9, white gloved Quilt Angels were busily unpacking this years entries.
We carried my bed to a quiet corner of the hall and headed back down the road. If I have one wish for Enter the Forest of Dreams, it is that it will touch people in a place of beauty.
On the way back home, I kicked off my sneakers and curled up for a kip on the front seat.
I’m really looking forward to Friday when we go back up for the show!
Scriptorium, literally “a place for writing”, is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying of manuscripts by monastic scribes. Written accounts, surviving buildings, and archaeological excavations all show, however, that contrary to popular belief, such rooms rarely existed: most monastic writing was done in cubicle-like recesses in the cloister, or in the monks’ own cells. References in modern scholarly writings to ‘scriptoria’ more usually refer to the collective written output of a monastery, rather than to a physical room.
Well, the Schwakhoferian Priory has a pop-up scriptorium where I’ve been scribing the words to the poem written by Brother Steve onto the valance for ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams‘.
I’m using a font called Stonehenge from dafont.com. I had briefly considered ordering Thermofax screens and screenprinting the poem. When Steve and I were in Dublin last month we went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. I quite liked the idea of scribing the poem, even though it would be more laborious. As Steve said, ‘The monks had bugger all else to do (besides scribe)”, but I figured that I could take some time over it and do it à la main.
I printed the poem, taped it into stanzas and placed them onto the valance to make sure I was happy with the placement.
To transfer the text onto the fabric, I ordered a couple of brown fabric pens. I did a trial run on a scrap of fabric to test the crispness of the line and the colour. I decided to go with Sharpie Ultra Fine.
Next I pinned each stanza onto my Cut n’ Press ironing board.
Then I pinned the valance over the words and traced over them with my fabric pen.
The natural light in our kitchen cum scriptorium is pretty bright, but today I used our newly installed kitchen light to direct a beam right onto my work surface.
I’ve been scribing just a few lines at a time to keep my hand steady and my concentration fresh. Once I’ve finished I’m going to design a booklet to display with the bed, so that people can get an idea of the story behind it and to see the valance, which will be hidden beneath the river and the forest floor of my River of Dreams bed quilt.
Enter the Forest of Dreams
Sleep. Let the forest enfold thee.
Watch. Let thy eyes see light in shade.
Hear. Let thy ears be open to silence.
Dream. Let thy soul be still.
Love is imagined.
Walk. Let thy soul be thy compass.
Feel. Let thy heart be bold, and cautious.
Know. Let hope take root, deep anchor.
Touch. Feel the river flow, and its bounty.
Love is found.
Sleep. The world is done.
Sleep. Thy love is found.
Sleep. The dream is made.
Sleep. This earth is thine.