Monday, December 13, 2010

Why the 13th of December is an important date for me

I was about to post a link on to Facebook about why today holds significance for me but felt it deserved a blog post. More personal then normal, then again my artwork is personal...
Today is my maternal grandmothers birthday, she died the summer before last . My Grannie Egan would have been 94 today, I miss her energy on the earth.
As an artist I paint those feeling or find ways to express, treasure and hold memories for myself and others. It gives meaning to experiences and helps me process my world. Others find solace in that also either through my work or through the work I do with them.
My grandmother grew very frail as she moved into her nineties, she became lighter on the earth and I knew her energy was lifting from it. I could not keep her here and she did not want to stay.
I painted this little piece to represent the fact that I knew she would be missing from the earth soon. I blocked out two 'doorways' with masking tape, wrote in the background and painted my hearts piece.
After the painting was dry I lifted the masking tape off revealing two white unpainted paces.
The second door was painted for my father who was very sick at the time but thankfully has now recovered.
I've used the image of the painting twice;
1. as an illustration for a blog post on Finding success through failure over on my business blog CreativeDynamix. Where I combined reversed text over the painting.
2. using the illustration I combined it with a map of Venice, text and typography printed it on to cotton and beaded it as part of my Of earth and soul exhibition at the Wexford Fringe 2010. Where it got a lot of attention and was sold. The text that was used with the typography to make a visually playful emphasis was a quote
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Leo Buscaglia

...and you see thats is what happens. Life goes on - work and thoughts, pictures, images, crockery and wool merge and mold beyond grief and loss in to images and remembrance and holding the essence of those memories.
Today I remember my Grandmother with fondness.
I continue to hold her memories and treasure them and craft images to tell her story, our story. I weave the contents of our story in and out of my ideas around the Legacy Series that slowly takes shape into a future exhibition. Even now she inspires me to live my life to express myself and I find touchstones which inspire me in the everyday things that have found there way into my home and my studio since she died. They are not heirlooms or priceless things of great inheritance but fragments of a life lived, of a woman called Olive Egan she lives on in the memory of those who loved her.

My studio like my memory holds fragments of my grandmother; bags of wool, orange knitting pins boxes for knitting needles, knitting patterns and crochet instructions, bought or kept from magazines. The oldest one from 1940 others from 1950's right through to the mid 1980's.
Womans Weekly January 1954
I've been spending some time stripping out my studio and this morning I stopped to look through a large black refuse sack full of wool and patterns. It seemed apt.

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