I had a full day at work yesterday, and in the evening I blobbed out with a couple of hours of hand quilting in front of the television - it was a special two hour edition of "Grey's Anatomy", the one with the bomb (which all you North Americans probably saw weeks ago). My fingertips are a little sore and chewed up. I use a thimble on my top hand, but haven't found a satisfactory way of protecting the underneath fingers without feeling that I lose control of what I am doing. But I do find hand quilting very relaxing. In some ways I prefer it to machine quilting, but if I stuck to hand quilting only I wouldn't get half as much finished.
In the mail yesterday was my newsletter from the National Association of New Zealand Quilters. It included the news, which I had missed in the papers, that textile artist Clare Plug was one of this year's two succesful applicants for Artists to Antarctica. It's great to see that textile art/quilting is being recognised as a valid art form by the powers that administer the funding in this country. Also, that it went to Clare, who has been working full time as an artist since 1990. She and her husband live on their income from art, which isn't always easy, and she has always been a person who pushes herself to keep learning and stretch her boundaries. Check out some of her work here.
One of the 2004/2005 participants in this scheme was poet Bernadette Hall. Bernadette was the tutor on the summer school course which started me writing poetry again, many years after high school. She also graciously agreed to be a tutor and editor for the Poetry Chooks, when we brought out our first book. One of her poems that resulted from her visit to Antarctica can be found here.
It would be great to think that one day I might apply to this scheme and be successful. When I think about it though, I realise that, talent or not aside, I am never going to spend the necessary years and years applying myself to one art form. I want it all. I quilt, I write poems, I am dabbling in photography and playing with Photoshop, then there is that family history book to write, and I'd like to try calligraphy, and mixed media collage arts, and... and... Not to mention the demands of home, garden, family etc. If I want to get to Antarctica one day, by far the most reliable method would be to save up and pay for a cruise! Then again, I may just decide to go somewhere else instead. These people really aren't getting a free ride. When I think of all the years and years of work that it took to get them there, I realise that it would be a very expensive way to go, if it weren't for the passion behind the effort. The art is pursued for other reasons, schemes like this are a bonus.