Sunday, November 11, 2012

Joe Slovo Township

My latest map quilt is finished. It is called Joe Slovo Township. it is 39 x 50 inches.

Some time ago I visited this informal settlement which is on the edge of Llanga Township in Cape Town. There we met a small boy , about three years old, in a sunny yellow T shirt who kept grabbing at my camera. Unlike all the other children who loved to have their photos taken in comical poses and then look at the result on the digital camera screen, this child wanted to be behind the lens. I showed him how to do it and he happily took photos of all his neighbours' houses. Good ones at that!  I always remember the child we know only as Joe Slovo Boy.

So when I was thinking of what the next quilt in my maps series would be, Joe Slovo came to mind. I began to read up on the history of it both before and after our visit. These shacks lie along side the Settler's Way, the main road in from the city to the airport and in the run up to the FIFA Word Cup attempts were made to improve housing for the residents. Cynics would say to make the road less unattractive for passing tourists.
Of course, to build better housing on a densely populated area of shacks means people have to be moved out so building can begin.  The plan was to remove the residents to transitory accommodation in Delft some 30km away. This was strenuously opposed as there was no transport or jobs in Delft and a High Court case ensued. When some building work was completed there was controversy about who was being allocated the housing. I often wonder what, in all of this, happened to Joe Slovo Boy.

The details of this story are  written on the city blocks part of the quilt which was then darkened with Neocolour Crayon and stitched over with freemotion quiting in the shapes of shacks. The writing is therefore a little more obscured than in my previous map quilts but still readable close up. The background is stamped and scraped with screen inks, the road painted with textile paint. Most of the fabrics for the shacks are either my monoprints of fabrics from the African Fabric Shop. The fence is paint and abacca tissue. The rail road and river is couched embroidery thread.

Of course, now it is finished, all I can see in it is its faults...!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Sometime ago I decided I needed a challenge. Having had some very nice comments on my guest post on the Philofaxy blog, I decided it was time I went beyond the fall-off-a-log type of blogging that Blogger enables and work out how to self host a site on Wordpress with all the associated anayltical and tracking bells and whistles one can add on. I had great fun researching and applying and figuring out how best to run my new project into the future and some days ago scheduled the resultant blog Plan•Create•Succeed to launch today. Today Philofaxy is hosting a post on the process I went through setting it up.

With Plan•Create•Succeed I hope to introduce my art quilting friends and readers to the people who share my love of filofaxes because although you have different passions I think you all have a lot in common. On Plan•Create•Succeed I will be writing regularly, to a fixed schedule ( I said I wanted to challenge myself, remember!) about some of the things I love; art,creativity, goal setting, confidence building, personal development, creating food, journalling, planning and organisation, design and generally living life to the best.

As I say, I always planned for the first post to go live today. I did not plan for yesterday to be the day of the funeral of my beloved Granny. She died at the age of 91, strong in her faith and content to go to the arms of her Maker. Endings are always sad but it can be comforting to think not of a cessation so much as a handing on of a baton. It amused me and heartened me to learn that Gran had planned her own funeral in detail, having had several consulations with my cousin's husband who was the minister she asked to lead the service. Apparently, she went through several drafts of her order of service, right down to specifying the version of the Bible I was to read from. She will never see Plan•Create•Succeed but I think she would approve of the planning and organisational elements of it!

( Certainly when I went back just now to get the link to my guest post, I see there is a certain irony to my opening line!)

Of course, planning is a good thing, but so is spontaneity and being open to new things. Given that Gran's claim to fame was that as a child in Edinburgh she knew Sean Connery when he was still known as Tommy, I think she would been happy that we creatively embellished her plans with a bagpiper at the end!

I hope you will pop over and subscribe to Plan•Create•Succeed. I very much want it to be a community site so if you have opinions on what you would like on the site let me know. After all, it seems there is a family history of revising plans until they are perfect!