Today is a perfect spring day in Madison, and days like this always make me feel more fully alive--the warmth of the air, abundant sunlight, and vast swaths of blue-violet scilla blooming all over my neighborhood simply make me happy. It's as if some part of me that wearied during the winter has been healed.
One of the activities that got me out of the house and enjoying some sunshine was delivering artwork. I delivered two of my bead embroidered quilts to a hospital and one piece of art to a private collector. "A Grotto for Spring" (below) and "Sun Salutation" (below that) were both recently purchased for the new U.W. Health at the American Center hospital under construction on the northeast side of Madison.
There's something very special about the process of delivering artwork to a new home.You live with artwork so intimately during the process of creation. Then, in the cases of these pieces, have the joy of living with them and exhibiting them for a time before they leave the nest for good. Packing them up to take to their permanent homes provides an opportunity to revisit memories of intention and process and to say a little farewell.
"A Grotto for Spring" (9" x 12"; above) was one of my first heavily embellished quilts. Hand-dyed fabrics were pieced and appliqued before I covered nearly the entire surface with hand stitched glass beads, silk threads, and hand-dyed cotton threads. As I developed the design and title, I remembered back to grottoes and even bathtub shrines I'd seen as a child, and I thought that surely the coming of spring deserved celebration and even adoration. Spring--with all of its colors, textures, and fragrances, as well as its associations with rejuvenation and vitality--is one of the annual treasures of the human experience. It seems to bring both humans and the plant world back to life.
"Sun Salutation" (9" x 11"; above) was created in celebration of the arrival of summer, the long hours of sunlight, and the privilege of experiencing those. I've found that practicing sun salutations, as a series of yoga postures, can be a wonderful way to greet each new day and the arrival of sun and light into our lives.
Together "A Grotto for Spring" and "Sun Salutation" celebrate life and light, warmth and rejuvenation. Certainly the act of creating them brought these things into my life as I stitched. One of the definitions of the Latin root for "medicine" is "the healing art." The new hospital will be filled with both literal and figurative healing arts. As all of the members of the hospital staff do their parts to provide care and healing, I believe that having the staff, patients, and their loved ones surrounded by art can also play a part in uplifting and healing.
As I think about these two small quilts hanging together in their new home, I say farewell with a little benediction:
* May you bring at least a little bit of life and light into your world.
* May you bring at least a little bit of warmth and rejuvenation to the people who see you.
* May the love and care that went into creating you radiate out to those around you.
* May you play your part well in the ongoing healing arts practiced at this place.