Even taking the dreaded lurgy out of the picture, it’s been a tough year – the toughest. I’m not always sure how I manage to keep making work but somehow it’s what saves me, time and again. It’s a valuable lesson to keep creating, in spite of circumstances – it’s very definitely therapy. I may not be creative every day but there is generally something on the boil to keep me moving forward. I have found in the last couple of years that I am stitching into my work more than I ever have – perhaps an analogy for keeping things together.
The South African portrait award was held again this year, hosted by Rust-en-Vrede Gallery in Durbanville, despite losing their major sponsor. All kudos to the team for keeping things going under very difficult circumstances. I took the plunge and entered my stitched self portrait with the title “Every Woman in me is Tired!”
My portrait is stitched with single cotton thread on a paper monotype collage. I used a local grass to make the monoprints – a nod to the saying ‘Don’t let the grass grow…’ I’ve probably made myself look older and one friend, who’s known my family and I for many years, commented that I’d made a portrait of my Grandmother, my Mother and Myself all in one. I think she’s right!
The Portraits – nearly 1000 of them, went through a rigorous judging process starting with a couple of digital rounds where 250 were chosen for physical judging. Mine was among them, much to my delight. After another couple of rounds I was informed that I’d made the top 100 and I was gobsmacked! The top 40 portraits went on exhibition at Rust-en-Vrede and the other 60 at the beautiful Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. It was an extraordinary exhibition with really amazing work and I am grateful to have hung amongst them.
I used simple straight, overlapping stitches, chain stitch and couching in the hair. While not that big at 25 x 38 cms, it took many, many hours but was very cathartic.