Life 8 – Motherland finished

 All done bar the twiddly bits and any touching up I might need to do as I look closely at the finishing etc.

The story is one of reflection, thinking about what might have been, but being happy anyway.

Once again, although my father did say these exact words to me, it is a work of fiction….I have never varnished my toe nails and am a dreadful cook.

The words are:

“When I was 10, I asked my father what subjects I should take at school and what I should be when I grew up.  He said it didn’t matter because I would be a wife and mother and my husband would look after me.  He said it was important for me to learn to cook and to look pretty.  My brothers were furious at my escape from supposed drudgery and toil.
So I made sure I fulfilled my parents expectations and married at 16 to the first man who’d have me. I made a really good sponge cake, and varnished my toe nails.
My brothers were stupid. What could be more demanding and time consuming than being a mother.  It’s the ultimate career and every other career exists to support it.  I did the work of 20 for free, and lived in heaven and hell at the same time.  I was racked with self-doubt, panic, insecurity, tiredness and indignity. I found strengths I didn’t know I had and suffered fears I didn’t know existed. I found that happiness is made up of tiny moments and wasn’t an ultimate destination.  I learned how unselfish I could be, and forged chains of flesh and blood.
I often used to wonder what would have happened if my father had expectations beyond a wife and mother for me, say, an astronaut.  Now I’m older, I wonder if he chose the hardest career of all.”

At the end of the Birth To Death Super Highway is a small sign that says Here Be Dragons.

In Medieval England map makers habitually used this phrase to cover areas of a map that they didn’t know about; that hadn’t been explored.  It sort of turns the geographical map into a spiritual one.  As none of us knows for certain what is at the end of life, it seemed appropriate to put this at the end of the Highway.


  1. Your work is so amazing I love all that you do. I have not been here to visit for a while an your work never disappoints me.

  2. Hello m’dear. Another stunning piece! Just heard a piece on R4 about ‘outside art’ – ie not in the mainstream art world. I think this is outside art and deserves wider recognition. I just love this series. Hilary xx

    • I missed that Hilary – sounds interesting. Wouldn’t it be great, if instead of trying to get from the outside to the inside, the inside came and visited the outside? 🙂

  3. I enjoyed looking at this quilt and it is very inspiring, only when you get in closer and look do you truly see just what women, mothers, wives have in common when it comes to the road of life. Thanks for the look-see.

    • Ah yes, I was just telling Julie that it’s better close-to! Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment Karla 🙂

  4. Inspired Annabel and I do love the figure, it’s fabulously observed. I love the ‘Here Be Dragons’ too. As others have said, a very moving artwork.

    • Thank you Julie…it’s probably got more impact close-to to be honest. I’m not a very good photographer! The Here Be Dragons just seemed to fit so nicely! x

  5. My favorite line: “I found that happiness is made up of tiny moments and wasn’t an ultimate destination.” Reading through some of the words in the different sections gave me chills. Life really is a scary place to navigate. Well done once again.

    • It is indeed a scary place. I just put whatever came into my head and am surprised how one street seemed to connect with another.

  6. oh my goodness I am totally blown away by this, its like youv looked into all our heads and plucked our lives out- well done you, so emotive, brilliant

  7. This quilt is as beautiful as all the others in your series. I love the story on it and you gave me a new perspective with the idea of all other careers supporting the career of motherhood. I always thought of it as vice versa. I so admire your work and …. I can’t believe you finished this already!

    • Thank you Martha, it was a difficult one – career versus motherhood. Many women have careers and are very happy and fulfilled. They may also have children. There are some who don’t want or who can’t have children. Everyone has their own viewpoint of course. But, when you have a child they do seem to take over your time, your energy, and you love them and they love you. Your focus turns and your child becomes so important; more important than going to work, but we need to work to support and nurture the family…working to live rather than living to work.

      So motherhood becomes your career by choice, and if your lucky, you and a committed partner, work to support your child and he/she/they take priority.

      As to speed, well, I’m thinking of a calendar so need to step on it to get 12 done by the end of the year!!

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