It’s been a busy week around here, to say the least, with one elderly mother, mine, in hospital having many tests after a fall and an eye problem which amounts to partial blindness, which she has been keeping quiet about for several months, we have discovered. Then there is another elderly mother, my husband’s, who needs a lot of attention, lately out of hospital after a fall and an emergency hip replacement.

So many thanks to those understanding people, although I know it is a great pain, who have responded so well when I had to cancel some 3 day courses which involved me being away from home, as I will need to be around for the foreseeable future to provide care and support. I am an only child, but my  husband is such a great help; I know though that even in a large family the care of a parent can easily fall to just one of their offspring.

But, in between things I have been able to do some work, which is highly necessary as I have some exhibitions on the near horizon. Work has always been a sanctuary, and a bedrock in my life, and as I am slowly finishing, by hand, my series Natural History, I felt the need of a little laying down, no, not lying down, although actually that does seem to be quite a good idea, of a few more pages of my book Shadow and Light, which will be in the Art Textiles: Made in Britain gallery, at the Festival of Quilts this year.

I’m hoping to finish the putting together of the pages of the book quite soon, and have managed to put together a few of the autumn pages. This was quite relaxing as I had already made quite a few of the elements.

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Some stuff laid out neatly, ready to go. Don’t worry, it didn’t stay tidy.

Below, some of the new pages, constructed from printed and dyed Khadi paper, fabric, some of my drawings, printed and cut up, computer printed acetate and Khadi, text and gold leaf.







They all all just glued together at the moment; some machine and hand stitch will bring it all together. Hopefully, [ I tend to start most sentences with ‘hopefully’ these days! ] I will be finishing another couple of autumn pages today and tomorrow, and then it’s time to move into winter, which will be fun, as I think there will be a lot of black and white, favourites of mine.

20 thoughts on “Sanctuary

  1. Sorry about your elderly parents’ situation. I know just how you feel as I have two elderly ladies to care for too. Like you, I think it vital to have the type of work which can absorb you and give your caring role a little break. Best wishes

  2. I’m sorry to hear about both your mothers. It’s very hard as we get older having to cope with parental care needs. Do remember to look after yourself while you are caring as it is easy to be pulled in many directions at once. Thank goodness for supportive husbands!

    1. Thanks Julie, it is difficult, as there is no ideal solution, or way to make everything good again, but I suppose we have to accept that is the nature of these situations. I have friends in the same boat too, so that is a great help. Looking after yourself sounds self involved, but it really is the basis of keeping everything functioning.

  3. Big hugs to you two and your Mums from across the seas. Aren’t Mums the most precious people in the world? They care for us for such a long time and then before we know it, it’s our turn to care for them. Aaah…the cycle of life. I bet your Mum is so very proud of you and the work you produce…I love it! All the best in all facets of your life…

  4. Lovely pages, I look forward to seeing the finished pages later in the year. Well done for managing to fit your art around your caring duties, I hope both continue to go well. It’s so important to keep the creativity in our lives.

    1. Thanks Anna, I couldn’t imagine not having creativity in my life, could you? It’s my job, and my income depends making work, so it’s also important in that respect too.
      I did manage a couple of pages today, it’s good to have a project that is well on the way, it does ground a person.

  5. Love the autumn pages, Steph. Very soothing. Especially like the honesty heads… their shape and silvery, translucent quality. Look forward to the winter contrast! Hope your week has not been too fraught. ,Jane

  6. Really feeling for you Stephanie, it’s a tricky time of life – lots of emotional upheavals and calls on us from different directions. Just have to motor on I suppose. The penguins from the Madagascar films have a little phrase that’s my mantra in times of stress… “smile and wave boys, smile and wave…”

    1. Hi Anny, yes it is tricky, there seem to be a lot of us in the same position, you really do just have to take it a day at a time whilst working out some sort of system, as not everything can be organised at once. I’ll think of those penguins.

  7. Hi Steph,
    Your work as ever is gorgeous and inspiring. I love your autumn colours and the lay-outs – particularly page 2 and 3, The gold leaf work is exquisite and that slender black line and row of dots just pushes up another level. I love the leaves on your tree (and the half drawn half collaged aspect). I can really see that as a free motion quilting pattern.

    I’m really sorry to hear about your mum. Caring for others can be very energy and time consuming. As others have said, I think it is vital to have something to nurture and recharge oneself at such times. Your art work is ideal and I can well believe it is your sanctuary.
    Hilary Florence

    1. Hello Hilary,
      Many thanks for your compliments, I’m pleased you like the work. I do intend to do more of the drawn/collaged work in the future, or even printed/collaged pieces. I have a lot of thermofax screens which would really get that sort of project going, but not yet, I must finish ongoing work first!
      My mum requires a lot of help now, it is becoming clear what has happened to her and fairly instant adaptations have had to happen. It’s ok though, my work is fitting in with the new demands and it’s good to do as much as possible for her.

  8. Steph, your Mum sounds typical of her generation. They are a stoical bunch and I suspect she didn’t want to tell you about her eyesight and she knew you would worry. You’ve got to that stage where we become the ‘parents’ and take our turn to return the love and care we had from them. Both mums sound well loved and with a supportive family, anything is possible. I have to comment on that bit of bling. Love the gold leaf with the black and white and keen to see those next pages you hint to be working on. The honesty seed head pages are wonderful too!

  9. Hi Lesley, yes, she is a tough old boot! Not that she looks like a boot, obviously. She is trying really hard to manage but needs a lot of help.
    I do love a bit of gold leaf. It’s real too, none of this pretend stuff! I was really fortunate as a friend gave 2 books of it to me some time ago. Luckily I want the patchy effect, as trying to stop it flying away and actually getting it stick down is not easy.

  10. I have a mother in a similar situation, but unfortunately I unable to look after her as She is so far away. she is lucky to have you. Also I love all the work on your table. Beautiful

    1. It must be difficult for you when parent or parents are far away, proximity is useful in so many ways.
      I must say those shots of the table with all the ingredients laid out ready to go into the work are my favourites too, I love laying everything out. I’ve always worked like that but happily admit to tweaking the composition more these days since I started to blog….

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