An imagined life….

Embroidered Dwelling 2 , originally uploaded by gilfling.

I created these dwellings a short time ago and they have just returned from an exhibition. I have only made two of these intricately embroidered houses and was not sure that I would ever make any more – the embroidery is simply too time consuming to make them something that I could do alot of and actually sell…………. but do you ever have those moments of serendipity, when something you have been pondering falls into place……….

Reading through some of the blogs I like to follow I came across this post this morning from Rima at The Hermitage – a place I often like to visit and spend a while…….. ‘Old women who paint on their walls’ – really it is a revelation and a beautiful read and I urge you to visit there too.

The thing that struck me the most is the way in which these woman came to create……. as if by accident, through emotion and desire to express something within their environment….perhaps no-one else would ever see these incredible images…but no-matter, they created them anyway and who knows what they were dreaming and imagining as they took brush and paint to their homes and walls.

Lately I have been pondering the things I make, the images I create and the methods I use, wondering if they are trite or childish. Perhaps I should seek to create more ‘serious art’… perhaps my art should ‘grow up’ or I should be progressing forward more than I am… (this usually happens when I am in awe of other artists and their development and tenacity) and as always there is always the dilemma between making art for sale and making art for me (dah di dah di dah – the ongoing internal conversations that muddle my brain…)

…but these woman paint on their walls. They paint because they want to, because their heart tells them to. They came to this later in life and are creating for them and no-one else. I think in my dreams and imaginations I would like to be a ‘woman who painted on walls’ …if I could let go of my insecurites and inhibitions and let my imagination wander at will.

Even my characters show a desire to express themselves through their environment such as Constance (you can read here story there) and Eve and these characters are really an expression of who I would like to be and how I would like to live my life – living in an old stone cottage, surrounded by fields of wildflowers and wild animals and allowing nature to creep in through open doors and windows whilst I meticulously embroider my heart and soul onto the interior of my home.

In a round about way I guess this brings me back to my thoughts on these embroidered dwellings. They take hours to make and the time spent on embroidering these stitches in and through an awkward 3d object can never be accounted for in their material worth….but for me it is the process, it is the expression of something deep within and even if I am the only one ever to see them or hold them, or understand them….perhaps I should continue to create them anyway…………

Sorry for my rambling thoughts, for that is what they are …and perhaps only meaningful to me…..

PS the dwellings reside in a virtual way here whilst also making me smile in my studio and think upon ‘old woman who paint on their walls’ and girls who embroider on their walls too……….

PPS – I in no way mean to compare myself to these wonderful woman who put their heart and souls into their own dwellings but it just caused me to ponder on my own art for a brief time…and also to be inspired by these outsider artists.

3 thoughts on “An imagined life….

  1. Great stuff Gillian! Glad you found my post inspiring 🙂
    Yes I think there is something particularly free and true about this sort of artistic expression.. and house magic too.
    I love your embroidered house 🙂
    All good wishes to you and your works x Rima

  2. I can appreciate the amount of time and of course passion that goes into these houses. They are beautiful small art objects.

    I loved Rima’s post too….To own a home of your own is such a valued thing for anyone, especially women who often struggle to find housing and safe shelter in the world. I think of all the women who just pray that they can find a stable roof for themselves and perhaps also their children…. to be able to be creative in your own home is a blessing indeed…. I wish one day to own my own space but in the mean time ‘borrow’ and wish:)


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