I remember vividly being really upset when someone said to me "you only made that quilt because you know the Americans like it"
They were talking about the American Gothic quilt that went on to win many awards.
The reason for making it had been a journey since I was 11 years old and I just couldn't believe that someone would make a comment like that without knowing the facts.
I make quilts for personal and emotional reasons not to win prizes. I could never sell a quilt because I have poured too much of my soul into it.
Today I had to write an outline for this quilt.
This is not a beautiful quilt.
However, it has more meaning than most of my quilts. It tells a story that is quite emotional for me.
I travel a lot.
I carry my quilts with me and at the airport I’m always nervous until the case turns up on the carousel. (that's why I now carry bright green ones)
A few years ago, traveling from New York to London. I arrived in good spirits but tired. I was looking forward to getting to my hotel and relaxing before my scheduled film shoot.
The Carrousel went round and round…. No luggage.
I didn’t panic because it has happened many times before.
I we assured it would be on the next flight which arrived in an hour and I was given a place to sit in the terminal where I could wait and see the luggage arrive.
The next flight arrived…. No luggage.
A slight panic set in.
The next flight arrived…No luggage.
After waiting for 5 hours, I was told they had no record of my luggage. Despite having the bag tags, American Airlines had no Electronic trace on them.
Shattered I left the airport for my hotel and in a state, I inadvertently left my camera bag on the trolley. I realized that I had done so as soon as I was through security and tried to slip back through the secure section but the bells and sirens went off and I was hauled off to explain my actions… could it get any worse.
3 hours later I retrieved the camera bag.
At the hotel with nothing, but my computer and camera I fell into a deep sleep, imagining that the bags would arrive that evening as promised.
4 days passed and still no information.
I missed my film shoot.
I had to buy the basics to get through and on the 5th day, in deep depression and with the loss of 100 quilts, I decided to go home to Australia.
I thought I will do one final photo shoot and took off for the Spitalfields Markets which was near my hotel.
I shot photos relentlessly, I never aim the camera a people, but I did on this occasion. Many scuttled away as if trying to hide their persona.
I talked to people who asked why I was photographing and I lost myself in the moment.
One man followed me around for an hour, chatting aimlessly.
I had four hours of relief from stress and when I returned to the hotel, there was a note to say my bags would be there soon.
I laid down on the bed and slept for 5 hours straight.
My bags arrived late in the evening.
What does this have to do with the quilt?
It was made to heal from that trauma.
The stress doesn't leave you when you're home because you have to do it over and over again. I figured I would work my stress out by creating a quilt.
The Graffiti images are my photos taken on that day and printed them on canvas. They were bright, faceless and provided a clear image of hope in a sea of gray urban-ism.
I enjoyed creating my own personal tag PKH, in fabric.
It was the first time I had used the cheese cloth to create a textural image.