You may recall that back in January I spent some time messing about with some walnuts I found in the park, which I turned into some lovely walnut ink. If you want to read that post you can find that post by clicking here.
As I was testing out the ink I drew a face in my sketchbook - it was just a quick drawing - more of a 'let's see what this ink looks like' sort of thing. This is it.
A few weeks later I began work on a quilt for an exhibition that is scheduled to debut at the International Quilt Festival in Houston later this year, entitled 'Turmoil'.
The concept of the exhibition captured my imagination, as Turmoil will be hung in the exterior space created by paneled walls, with Tranquility, (a parallel exhibit) in the interior space. This environment will mirror the chaos depicted in the artworks.
The moment I read the exhibition brief I knew that I wanted to tell the story of those who suffer great turmoil in their lives as a result of witnessing very traumatic things; those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress. The disorder is suffered by millions, if not billions of people worldwide. It consumes the brain of those who have been profoundly affected by witnessing or experiencing great trauma. For them, what follows are turmoil, pain and torment. Whether asleep or awake, demons from the past are ever present, echoing on and on, tumbling around in the mind’s eye and hindering the sufferer from freely going about their daily life.
I decided to use the solemn looking walnut ink drawing as the starting point. I scanned the image and began playing about with it on my computer. I don't use Photoshop - but instead the free version known as GIMP. As I played about with layers, rotation and colour I was able to create the image below.
This is the image I used as I planned my quilt. To recreate the layers I made a stencil from freezer paper and repeatedly screen printed it onto a piece of white cotton poplin.
Gradually I covered the whole cloth and this was the result.
From here I continued the idea of adding layers of dye and paint, creating something that to me looks very unsettling.
By adding further layers of voile and stitch the quilt became more visually disturbing. My neighbours do not like it one bit!
I decided to name the quilt 'Echoes of Demons' - those images that keep returning to those who experience and suffer with PTSD. The overlapping tormented faces emphasize that suffering is unceasing; often dark and raging, at other times quieter, but ever present. They are the demons that need to be dealt with before recovery is made.
Today I discovered that 'Echoes of Demons' has been selected to hang in the exhibition. I am so very pleased. Not just because my quilt was selected, but more importantly because it continues to build awareness of those who experience the debilitating and terrible effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Thank you for reading.