Equanimity: A Textile Collage

At the end of the summer, when I was finally able to sneak into my studio to work, the quilts that waited in my head began squabbling for attention. Behold the Future! ended up winning, while my panel for The Covid Chronicle paced eagerly at its heels. I posed for pictures for the latter while working on the first. Then printed the chosen picture several times before I was happy with it. First on paper, then on printable fabric. I ended up with more fabric prints than I needed, and suddenly a new, unexpected quilt pushed itself to the fore. Another version of The Covid Chronicle panel, but without the mandatory design formula. A version that also called for flames, just like Behold the Future!, because California was still burning and I guess I wasn’t done playing with fire.

I started working on it right after Behold the Future! was finished, before I actually got to the Covid Chronicle panel (though I already knew exactly what it will look like). First, I auditioned fabrics in what by now became my colors of doom: reds and grays.

Then I worked on the flames part in more detail. Just like in Behold the future!, I attached the flame bits onto interfacing first. This was the dangerous sphere of “outside,” the diseased, burning world that surrounded my safe space (for more on that see my post about The Covid Chronicle panel).

I cut a circular bubble that represented my safe home cocoon, and slid the picture of me meditating into it.

As first I thought of cutting my image out and stitching it onto light gray fabric. But, despite having ample amounts of fabric, I couldn’t find the perfect match in my stash. The colors were wrong, the pattern wasn’t right, or else the texture was off. I somehow found fault in every swatch I had… Finally, I decided to paint the printed picture itself with acrylic paint, and that’s what I did.

My Covid Chronicle panel didn’t require a name, but this piece did. This art is about surviving. It’s about doing what we needed to do in order to get through multiple lockdowns. It represents the survival mechanisms that each and every human had to develop in order to continue functioning in these times of peril. At first I thought of calling it “Self Preservation.” But I wasn’t quite happy with that name. Then, during a SAQA Zoom meeting, Nancy Riffle suggested “Equanimity.” Being a non-native English speaker, I wasn’t familiar with that word. So I looked it up. Equanimity, it turs out, means “evenness of mind especially under stress.” Perfect! Thank you, Nancy!

Here it is: Equanimity, a textile collage (or art quilt, you pick) about staying sane in an insane world. 

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