To mark the 20th anniversary of my first baby quilt, I have been reflecting on what I have learned along the way. This is the final installment of my Creative Backstory series of blog posts. I invite you to share YOUR creative backstory. Leave your response as a comment below or on my Serendipity Facebook page or use the tag #creativebackstory or Instagram and I will add your name to my Creative Backstory Giveaway. I look forward to reading about what has shaped your creative life.
My highlight from 2019 was travelling to China, at the invitation of The China Fashion & Colour Association, to exhibit at the Third China Shenzhen International Quilt Art & Handicrafts Exhibition from 10-13 May 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shangwei, Shenzhen. One of CFCA’s goals is to promote the popularisation and development of quilt art in China. For me the trip was a joyful affirmation that the quilt art form is an international language.
Australian textile artist Sue Dennis and I each had 10 quilts featured in the exhibition. Other exhibitors included: Gabi Fischer, Barbara Lange and Gul Laporte from Europe; Kim Changsook, Oh Kyungha, and Yoon Hyungae from Korea; and Chinese master quilter Jin Yuanshan.
My exhibit was drawn primarily from my Botanica series, abstractions of plant and floral forms in vibrant hand-dyed hues. Sue brought a collection of new works featuring colour and texture. These quilts were a departure from her previously exhibited plant foliage, printed work.
Shangwei village, where the exhibition was held, is undergoing urban renewal and attracting a lively arts community to the area. The spectacular outdoor opening of the exhibition and promotion of Shangwei was part of the overall mini arts festival.
Time and technology constraints mean that I did not write any contemporaneous blog posts. We had access to wifi at the hotel and I had a VPN to get around the great China firewall so that we were able to report on our adventures via Instagram and Facebook. Here we are getting our social media fix and catching up with the outside world.
As brilliant as Instagram and Facebook are for immediacy and visual appeal, they are imperfect archive tools. Here is a selection of images to remind me of some of the other activities we enjoyed including:
- exploring Shangwei village including taking tea with hospitable locals; a serendipitous calligraphy lesson; and visiting a museum with over 100 clothes irons with distinct and exquisite patterns demonstrating craftsmanship from different periods in the Chinese history;
- an excursion to Guanlan Original Printmaking Base (hometown of famous printmaker Chen Yanqiao) and the adjoining ancient village of Da Shuitian and monumental Guanlan China Printmaking Museum where we had a preview of the 7th Guanlan International Print Biennial;
- an excursion to Splendid China Miniature Park & China Folk Culture Village 82 miniaturized reproductions of iconic places of China and 27 ethnic villages (in 1:1 scale) in a park-like setting. A wonderful way to spend my birthday!
All the while in the generous and warm-spirited company of our hosts and fellow artists and accompanied by great food. A highly memorable adventure.
Sharing Stories: Prompt #11 & Giveaway
I invite you to share your creative backstory. Here is an optional prompt: if you could travel and explore textile traditions, where would you like to go?
Leave your response as a comment below or use the tag #creativebackstory on Facebook or Instagram. I look forward to reading about what has shaped your creative life and will put your name into my celebratory giveaway. On 4 July (US time), after I have completed Creative Backstory posts, I will select one commenter and, pandemic postal system permitting, this King Parrot textile sketch will wing its way to a new home.