Thursday, 31 January 2008

Sumptuous surfaces

I have enrolled in Sharon B's "Sumptuous surfaces" course via

In week 1, we must think about the design we wish to embroider and do some research on paper. I wanted to do something with the colour blue and began doodling around "blue eggs", a meditation on the subject of self protection. Also around tonglen which I sometimes practice.

Then, probably because Sharon B is Australian and also because I am reading a history book about textile dyeing, and am bewildered by all the weird interdictions that have been enforced in the past, I decided that I wanted to do a hommage to Helen O'Connell's discovery. She is an Australian scientist that has revealed 19 years ago that a special part of the female of anatomy is quite different from what we had been led to believe for the past centuries. If you feel comfortable with anatomy you can read more here. There was a documentary made on the subject which I saw a few years ago and dreamt about...

And so this is my design : 3 blue eggs and an anatomic border. The concept is : I am mother to two girls and protection of my young includes ensuring that they are in good physical and spiritual health and are not afraid of who they are. As a teenager I remember meeting artist Heidi Story in school and how she told us that she hadn't dared represent the middle part of bodies until she was about 40... Power over women is inflicted on their bodies and also on representation of their bodies. I have found it difficult to represent only the anatomy, so I see that I am not a very liberated woman...


Tally said...

Wow, Hélène, what a project!
How good for you that you go deeper and deeper into your journey with embroidery etal and Sharons stuff.
What a topic!
I will later read the contents of your links and follow your progress for sure.
< hugs >

PS. Just after typing my mind raced back to a book that was so very important to me some 20 yrs ago and started me to discover art. This book is deep buried somewhere in my boxes but as usual internet helps in theses modern days. I did not find this book so far but a link to get you started and I should think it is quite interesting for you.

freebird said...

You are more open than I am! I am somewhat shy to begin with and I just don't get bodies very well. I much prefer our brains but that doesn't always go over so well (like when my sister talked about "saving" our sexuality till marriage and I said if we don't save our minds which are our essence, why should we save our bodies?" Guess I'm not the greatest at socializing correctly! Hope you succeed in passing your feelings on to your daughter.

KV said...

I think you are more liberated than you think you are with such a topic to work with!

Kathy V in NM

Hélène H said...

Hello Tally, thanks for your enthusiasm, I was afraid that it would be a shocking subjet. Thanks for the links, that seems great. Look forward to hearing about the book !

Hélène H said...

Hello Freebirs and KV :o)

Thanks for leaving comments. You know, I started with circles and paisley motives, then I opened a book and saw this bird pattern... and then I sort of got carried away... The following day, I felt shocked by what I had drawn.

I feel it is interesting to explore the contradiction between my women's lib side and my "prudish" side - because these two sides are equally part of me. And also to mediate about body, mind and soul :o)

ACey said...

what a fabulous theme - so perfect for the lessons in Sharon's sumptuous surface classes! Layers of self-discovery and revelation as well as the layers of stitches and embellishment.