“Murder” is one in the Life Story series of quilts ( made a few years ago. I’m updating records, and trying to explain some of the thinking behind the work.

(Sold UK)

The quilt, number 11 in the series, tries to narrate a tale of chaos and disruption. A murder of crows descends upon a feast— meticulously laid out on a table covering made up of other Life Quilts, with fruit, vegetables, flowers, books, china, a tape measure, and a skull; turning beauty into havoc. The crows, with their beaks sharp and ready, peck at the spread, spilling wine, leaving their droppings over everything, and tearing apart the carefully arranged still life. Amidst this destruction, one crow, paintbrush in beak, drips paint onto a pile of books, their titles stitched on the spines reflecting my personal journey and experiences within the quilting world. Above, more crows linger on a chain, eager to join the fray.

I confess to being a little cheesed off at this point with the world of quilting, in particular shows and competitions which I had entered without any success. I realize that may be because of many reasons, but I was horrified at some of the hostility shown from all around the world to seeing life studies on a quilt. Why? Is the quilt something so sacred that it can only be used in a certain way?

This quilt is a stark critique to that reaction, and if I’m honest, of certain sections of the quilting community and the broader artistic domain, but things move on. I was being defiant and I hope resilient. It did and I suppose still does, challenge the entrenched belief that quilts must adhere to traditional notions of beauty, instead asserting that they can, and indeed should, embody political statements, shock if they want to. It’s a bold declaration that art is not just for adornment but can be a powerful medium for commentary and reflection.

“And They Came To The Feast And Destroyed The Beauty,” is stitched onto a defiant hand displaying a finger, and it sets the tone for a narrative far removed from the quaint and comforting.

Images: The bird on the book

That finger

A small mouse and my best china

Droppings and mayhem.

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