Enter the Forest of Dreams

Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas.

It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”.  However, there is currently some confusion as to which night is Twelfth Night:  some count the night of Epiphany itself (sixth of January) to be Twelfth Night. One source of this confusion is said to be the Medieval custom of starting each new day at sunset, so that Twelfth Night precedes Twelfth Day.  In some cases the 25 December is the first day of Christmas, so therefore 5 January is the 12th day.

At any rate, tonight we’re celebrating Twelfth Night by taking down our Holy Day decorations.  We ate, drank and made much merry over the festive season and it’s time to get back to business, look forward into the New year and see the deepest, bleakest part of the winter through.

I’ve set myself a couple of important quilting goals.  I’m entering a juried quilt show in Germany at the end of February and am working on a piece for that, based on one of my South Bank photos.  Techniques include digital imagery onto fabric, machine stitch & applique and painting.  I’m working on a very large scale with cotton organdie and it’s exciting, challenging, frustrating and rewarding.  In that order!

Suncast Shadows - detail and palette

I’m also going to have my studio open to the public on 10th March in conjunction with the 4th annual Moretonhampstead Festival of Food, Drink and the Arts.  I’ll display the bed I made in furniture school, ‘Enter The Forest of Dreams’ for the first time since 1999.   I’m making a beautiful quilt to cover the bed from silk, taffeta, corduroy, silk velvet and other sumptuous fabrics.

Enter the Forest of Dreams

It all feels really good and I’m really ready to focus on the hands on, material (tee hee!) work.  Tonight, I got my pretty, new (just a few months old)  Canon G12 out and played around with the tripod and some lowlight night shots of our Twelfth Night.

I made a little altar to some of my artistic heroines:  Georgia O’Keeffe –  painter, represented by ‘One Hundred Flowers’ , Red Poppies, 1925; Lee Miller – photographer, represented by ‘The Lives of Lee Miller’; Tracey Emin, artist, represented by the postcard ‘Running Naked, 2011’; Diane Arbus – photographer, represented by the photo ‘Melinda Schwakhofer in Tiger Costume, 1966’ and my Muse – represented by a plaster cast I made of my face.

‘Fortitude’ is the word which has chosen me for 2012.  I think of strong tree trunks and stout hearts of oak.  I feel that I am entering the forest of dreams.  Shortly before his death, Robert Schumann dreamt an angel, possibly the spirit of either Schubert or Mendelssohn,  dictated a “spirit theme” to him.  What a beautiful gift and vision (even if he was going ‘mad’).  I wonder which, or if perhaps all, of my artistic angels will inspire and encourage me on my Journey and what gifts they’ll bring.  I know I’ll be rewarded with Fortitude, because each of these remarkable women either came through some tough times, or pioneered right smack over the edge of what ‘everybody else’ was doing, or both.

My Guide to the Deepest Depths

Blessings on your Journey into the New Year.  May your guide(s) be with you.

So we take our Holy Day decorations down and sing ‘The old year now is fled away, the new year it is enteréd  .  .  .  .  God send us a happy new year!’

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