“Absence,” a Textile Collage Series


Some artworks take a long time to plan and/or execute. Others come together quickly. Some drain the artist emotionally, others give energy back. This quilt series belongs to the second group. I never planned it. It just happened, spontaneously, intuitively, and relatively quickly. And it was fun to make. 

After I finished my Loss quilt, I wasn’t sure what to do with the few practice silhouettes I didn’t use, and those that didn’t turn out quite right. Being committed to zero waste, I never throw anything away. Besides, despite being imperfect, I still found them charming… So I decided to put them away for future use. As I was about to do just that, one of the human forms fell to the floor, right onto the pile of scraps that still lay there. Before I knew it, magic happened.

I stopped whatever it was I was doing, and started playing. I moved fabric scraps around. Diving into my scrap drawers, I pulled out more, selecting, cutting, juxtaposing. Then, over the next few days, I found myself stitching, stitching, stitching, by machine and hand alike, listening to artist talks all the while…

Before I knew it, a week had passed, and a series of small quilts was born. They are all 10″ x 13,” and will one day be mounted onto 11″ x 14″ canvases.

Why “Absence”

When I started working on this series, I didn’t have a pre-conceived idea in mind. But when I finished, I saw before me six artworks with six echoes of people, lonely, lost… These human figures felt like memories, but, unlike in Loss, I realized they don’t have to be memories of the departed. They could just as well be memories of loved ones who are still alive, but are not here. Close people who are absent. Figures of our longings.

For many of us, after all, the last two years of Covid were marked by absence. Absence of the people we normally see, be they close family members, coworkers or friends. During the various lockdowns, some of us were lucky enough to be confined together with our nuclear families, yet others were all alone. No matter the particularity of our experience, though, we all had something in common: each and every one of us missed someone (or someones). Some of us missed the people we used to see every day. Others missed those we normally spent holidays with. Yet others missed the people we used to meet for coffee, have lunches with or do activities with… 

I realized these silhouettes could be those missed people. Like my grown child who went off to college, and whose absence I still feel every day. Or a good friend who moved away. Or the family members we can’t see as often as we’d like, due to circumstances. So I decided to call this series “Absence.” I haven’t named the individual pieces.

The Artworks

I really enjoyed working on these little collages, which are abstract but with a hint of form. I enjoyed reconnecting with my textiles, finding use for their bold patterns, and feeling their delicious textures with my hands. And, as always, I found hand stitching oh-so-very relaxing…

So, here they are, without further ado, the six pieces that compose the Absence series: 


After several months of working on artworks that came out of deep emotions or which dealt with serious, sad issues, working on pieces concerned with the elements of art alone felt refreshing.

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