It's hard to watch all the natural disasters unfolding around the country without becoming disheartened. Even if we don't live in that area, it's hard not to be saddened for all those whose lives have been turned on end.
Like usual, when I'm in need of uplifting, I look to art and this week I found artists who found inspiration not from a feeling of discovery or joy, but from that which breaks our hearts.
Diana Savona works in fibers, making maps to "hold stories and feelings about a place." Often these places no longer exist. Her piece Hurricane, New Orleans is based on a map of the Chalmette area of that city that was largely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
See more of her work here.
In December of 2015, Storm Desmond caused historic flooding due to record rainfall in Great Britain. Last year, artist Rosie Galloway-Smith created a textile piece showing the extent of the floods while she met with people in Carlisle who were affected. As they told her their stories, she embroidered their names on the tapestry as a record, using creating as a means of healing.
You can read more about her and the Floodmap project here.
This week in Northwest Oregon has been a particularly sorrowful one as we watch the beautiful Columbia River Gorge go up in flames from a human caused forest fire. As I write this, towns and most historic sites in the Gorge are being successfully defended by almost 1,000 firefighters from across the country. It's only 5% contained with the weather not cooperating, though. It was hard for me to look at all the artwork depicting forest fires - some extolled their beauty, some their rejuvenating influences. While this may be true, it's too soon to see any good that might come from this fire.
I found an amazing quilt by Northwest artist Virginia O'Donnell - that she's from the Northwest is fitting. Forest Fires depicts the energy of fires in this area of steep mountains, rough terrain, and winds that can whip anything into a frenzy - fire included. She writes she started out making the quilt to show a single element, fire, but in working on it realized that fire does not work alone but works with the other elements, air, water, and earth, in creating its inferno. Read more of what she has to say about this piece here.
In closing, please take care all of you recovering from Harvey, waiting for Irma, or dealing with one of the many forest fires this summer. And if you were flooded by Harvey and are wondering if any textiles you have, antiques, keepsakes, or favorites, are salvageable, take a look at this article on textile restoration after flooding from the Historic Textiles Studio.
Keep Creating! Deborah