Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Juggling around

Patched pastime
After the exhibition in Margate I have been thinking more about things round in general, but also relating to my own work.  The most obvious link is with the juggler - which is a figure who comes round again and again.
At the Turner Contemporary there were examples from the ancient classical world as well as those modern and contemporary, and thinking of this sent me furtling into my postcard boxes.  I was looking for postcard pages from a calendar I had been given by an elderly German family friend.  She was from Berlin, was passionate about Ancient Greek art, and as a Friend of the State Museum in Berlin in the early 60s received an annual calendar.  She gave me one of these which features terracotta figurines.
I was delighted with these, as museums in Greece itself were not in the excellent condition they are nowadays, and I had seen hardly any figurines.  My love affair began with these postcards (just two of which shown above).  The girl on the right is playing the tambourine and came from the Black Sea area (as did my maternal family).  The child juggler on the left is described as probably coming from Thebes.
Whether influenced by these, the juggler has come to mean a kind of frivolity, a stepping away from serious concerns, how society is perhaps more interested in meaningless trifles.  Maybe it's just me not being able to accept that I no longer have the meaningful role I occupied previously.  Whatever it is, the desire to employ the image of juggler comes round again.
I was so pleased with Patched pastime that I am repeating the exercise with similar strips of knitted silk yarn, but in a different orientation and another colour.  I'm delighted to be using printmaking (the juggler herself is a carborundum print on tissue paper, scanned then digitally printed onto cotton), knitted strips I designed and made during my short-lived days as a knitwear designer, and hand stitching as well as machine stitching.
I was further delighted to find that this piece not only fell firmly into the SAQA Europe/Middle East theme for an upcoming exhibition, but for the one and only time so far in several years of membership I fit the size requirements for submission.
But as I worked on quilting the patchwork I got to thinking.  The idea of the exhibition is to tour to at least four venues which means much handling even with the greatest care.  This is not a conventional quilt, and I'm concerned that the knitted element might just tempt fate.  So once again I shall not be submitting my work for selection.  Hey ho.
Meanwhile, however, I am preparing a second piece of hand work to take with me on an imminent trip - just in case I finish the piece I'm stitching at present. I've printed a small, slightly different version of the juggler to take with me.  Appropriate colours for the onset of Autumn.

And then, rather than getting on with processing tomatoes I was distracted by an urge to doodle.


  1. The terracotta figurines are exquisite. Seeing them makes me want to visit the Archaeological Museum in Athens again, but I'm not sure if we will have the time, as we don't have long before departing for the UK.

    I have always liked your jugglers and the latest piece is a particularly fine one. Good luck with the trip.

  2. Eirene, I was delighted on one of my last visits to the Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki that they sell exact replicas of some of the figurines, and I indulged myself. I do love her, and in any future downsizing she will come with me.