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A Day In The Life Of Someone Who Makes The Odd Quilt - London, 25th March 2014

My dear friend Laura has kindly produced a newsletter for Through Our Hands about the exhibition in London which I'm very honoured to be part of. 

To blog about a day which turned out to be quite special to me seems a little immodest but I've decided to anyway. Let's be honest, it's only really me who's interested!!  I met some cracking people and had a fab time. Another experience to add to the list anyway.

I don't have many photos and those I do are blurry, so I've taken a couple which are freely available on google images and hope the people involved won't mind.

(Left) standing with fizz, in front of the quilt....but I'm racing ahead.

Diary of 25th March

Private View: Spirit of Womanhood Exhibition, The Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, London.

I prevaricated as I usually do. To go or not to go - it's such a pain to catch trains to London and then have to battle with the underground.  Generally speaking I have no sense of direction and I have no idea where I'm going most of the time. I blindly follow G like a faithful old dog trying to please.

But we went.  And apart from needing help to get into and out of all the stations because the ticket machine wouldnt read the ticket it was fine.  NB I was told politely by one station manager, that I should try using my train ticket in the machine and not the seat reservation ticket which really couldn't be expected to work.  I told him that's what happens when cousins marry.  He fell over.

We had oodles of time to spare so went for a bite to eat and spend an hour at the Tate.  This involves a walk along the south bank, next to the river.  I hadn't twigged that it was called the South Bank because it was on the South Bank of the Thames. But then I only recently found out that Banoffee pie was a mix of the words banana and toffee. What can I say?

This photo is waaay too blurry to make sense of really, but it's the only one I have of the quilt in situ. It's to the right of the pillar.

We had to pass the Oxo Tower, and can you imagine my shock - and joy (if I'd have been a child the teacher would be hurrying towards the spare pants cupboard) at seeing my quilt in a glass sided gallery on the main walkway, for all to see.  I just like to say to all those show organizers who refuse to show the Life Quilts or have hidden then behind curtains...... BLAH (raspberry sound plus tongue stuck out) and Get Real.  Everyone regardless of creed, religion, sex or age was free to see the quilt in full.

The Tate was fab and of course what a view from the restaurant window. (St Pauls Cathedral in the centre of the photo and a close up for those who haven't seen it)

We made our way back to the Oxo tower and a were allowed through and handed some fizz.  I donned a name badge and was whisked away to do a filmed interview about the work and have some photos taken.  I was introduced to lots of people and they were all lovely about the quilt.

I'd been there about 20 minutes when I began to recognize a few of the visitors  - not to put names too sadly, but I'd seen at least one of them on Eastenders.  I did recognize Lord Levy who came across to the quilt with Cherie Blair and began explaining the work and pointing out the stitched words.  He turned to ask for advice and I was introduced.  Cherie hooked her arm through mine and we talked for a few minutes about how to free machine, what the words were about, what was being sewn on the machine, the slippers (she has a pair the same!) and biscuits (which she doesn't eat). She was very kind indeed and said how much she and Lord Levy liked the quilt

Melvin Bragg arrived and he like the humour apparently. Then the speeches began.

The whole evening was to support the Charity, Women's Interfaith Network, a very worthy cause and I hope they do well promoting their message.

It was odd being in a glass cube in the middle of London with these people, and lots of other people looking in from outside.

We left quite quickly as we had a train to catch, but I had a lovely time and am so very grateful for the opportunity to exhibit with other well established, and emerging artists like myself. Tracy Emin was exhibiting, and there was some fabulous, thought provoking work on show.  I'd love to show you but don't have permission to put up their photos.

Here's a quote for you about the quilt from a newspaper - it might make you laugh!  Wrong on so many levels, but "am I bovvered?" No not really. I'm just happy.

"All different kinds of art are on display: sculpture, oil paintings, ceramics. There is even a quilt. Annabel Rainbow’s bedspread is quite extra-ordinary, depicting an elderly women sitting naked surrounded by books, revelling in all the unconventional beauty of her old age."

The exhibition's been extended to 6th April though, so if you're down in London do go and see a quilt in an unexpected place.- it's free.

Plans now done up to Life 18, a bit of a haze after that!

(Just because I like to clarify things to myself!)

Life 12 - A Murder

and Life 11 - The Glass Ceiling

Also coming soon:
Life 13 - Making Time
Life 14 - Roots
Life 15 - Herstory
Life 18 - unProfessional Wife

And The Tip Field - a series of works based on the year in the life of a field. 

The last leg (snarf)

Apologies for the colour on this one, my printer card reader broke this morning and I took this one with the phone.

The legs have been stitched with words and the painting has begun.  To keep uniformity I've approached all the portraits and legs in the same way with the same mix for the flesh colour, and have just added tints to each person to make them different.

I took the edge of the glass which said "The Glass Ceiling" off and haven't quite decided how I want to carry on with it yet.

The stitched words are taken from Government stats and World Health Stats as well as articles in the Independent and Guardian. Most of the cementing text is my own though. I have had people in the past saying I should state my sources, but I've refrained thank you.  It's a piece of art work and my voice not a GCSE history essay!! 

Leg 1 "Silly Girl, Silly Girl, you're only good for one thing" My God says that it is a woman's place to have babies and look after them and obey her husband. It's the mans job to protect woman by marrying her. In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands. 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment. 38% of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman's intimate partner.

Leg 2 Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women and sexual objectification of women.

Leg 3 In the UK the gender pay gap is 15 percent  On average women earn £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues. For part time work it rises to 35 per cent. Globally only 24 percent of senior management roles are filled by women. In 1997 9 out of 10 senior civil servants in Northern Ireland were men.

Leg 4 The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have said it will take at least 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of male and female directors in the FTSE 100 companies. Closing the gender gap in agriculture and using the skills of women, we could reduce the worlds hungry by 12 to 17 percent.

Leg 5 There are as many men in the cabinet who went to Eton as there are women MPs in the whole of Westminster, which is 147 female MP's  out of 650 or approximately 24%.

Leg 6 If the skills and qualifications of those women currently out of work in the UK were fully utilised the UK would have an extra £15 to 20 BILLION, which is double the value of the UK exports to China.  Females out perform males at 0 level and A level, and undergrad and post grad qualifications by approximately 1.6 to 1.0. There are 1705 male and 1090 female staff in higher education establishments.

Leg 7 73% of the Police force are male and 82% are male above the rank of Chief Inspector.  There are 10,100 male barristers and 5,300 female.  77% of UK parochial clergy are male and 89% of senior clergy are male. The UK is rated at 59th in the world for numbers of women in Parliament under Rwanda, Andorra, Cuba, Senegal and Nicaragua.  SHAME on the UK.

Portraits finished.

Well, it's been a bit of a slow slog hasn't it?!!  Still the portraits are finished now. On to the rest of it.

...."such a perfect day"......wriggle, wriggle.

Such a lovely day here in the Midlands, and rather than go out this afternoon for a walk and refreshments, we decided to stay in the garden and catch up on some work.  I love a gentle potter, but I haven't done anything on my own little plot for ages and ages....  I've been to parks, schools, roundabouts, forgotten bits behind bins, and on the corners of thoroughfares, but nothing in my own garden and it's a disgrace!  Shame on me. Go on Rainbow, into the corner with you and put that plant pot on your head and cast your eyes downwards, and be thoroughly ashamed. 

Mind you, this gardening lark can be quite alarming and I did have a bit of a shock - ghastly goings on in the compost.  Eeeeeyouuu.

I lifted the lid of the black bin in which DH stores the leftover raw veg and trimmings, expecting it to be empty.  No, no snakes or toads, but there were worms.  Not just say, a hundred, but a thick layer almost 2 inches deep of small red wriggly things.

Well, dear reader, I confess to a muffled scream. The lid was flung upwards in my haste to escape. Sadly, I failed to notice the thick lining of worms on said lid, which soon parted company from the plastic once the correct velocity was reached.  Unfortunately for me, most of them landed on my arm and head.   I confess, I ran. Pointless of course, as worms are not known for giving chase but there you go. I shook my head until my ears rang and tore off my clothes doing a passable impression of a Life quilt as I hastened to the shower and a slug of gin. Phew and yuck.

I've also put a coat of paint in the background of the portraits.  No worms here.

Progress and the start of portrait number 6

I have more work to do on some of these portraits but I can't finish hair etc until the background is in.

I shall tuck one more half portrait on the left and then move on to the rest of the quilt.