Here’s a new piece of work. It’s for a group show called Migration at the Wishbone Gallery in Grassington. The set of embroidered cushions are housed in an old collector’s cabinet rescued from The Manor House Museum in Ilkley by a friend. The box is lined with a copy of a 16th Century map of the Mediterranean by Diogo Homem.
Each of the cushions is constructed of embroidered silk stuffed with lambs wool and each depicts a ‘folkloric’ creature – although some of these have roots in traditional tales they are my own interpretations. I made a set of sketches, transferred them onto delicate silk and embroidered them. I also made a set of 3 fragile origami silk boats that sit on each of the heart shaped pieces and on Poseidon’s head. At one corner is a vintage wooden boat with fabric sails.
“Alcyone, daughter of Eolus, the wind-god, impelled by love for her husband Ceyx, whom she found dead on the shore after a shipwreck, threw herself into the sea. The gods, rewarding their conjugal love, changed the pair into kingfishers.” My Alcyone wears a nest of birds as a crown, the birds nest has frequently been used historically as a symbol of madness, most often in women…
One of the oldest customs regarding Kingfishers, popular in England and in France, was to turn this bird into a weathercock. The body of a mummified kingfisher with extended wings was suspended by a thread to show the direction of the wind. In that position it would always turn its beak, even inside the house, toward the direction of the wind.
Stories say that once the Kingfisher was dull grey. One flew straight up to heaven to look at the water, and flew so close to the sun that its breast was scorched red and its back absorbed the colour of the skies.