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Before I go …

April 12, 2019

I had a great plan to tell you all about my next steps as regards my ‘going’ to university; but  I felt I hadn’t quite finished about the sacks.  In the end I completed 10 and they have been exhibited and enjoyed.

I didn’t have big plan but I was ‘angry’ about the slave trade, aware of a cover up on all levels and my un-knowledge. With a lot of carefully selected embroidery threads and some gathered knowledge as regards the coffee plant at least, I began to stitch.  Not to make the sacks beautiful or hide their use.  They were the result or product of an industry that is reflected in Rio itself; with its grime, oppression and guilt and then its beauty, taste and surrounding culture.

Gradually they grew, blossomed and remarkably finished and as the sacks were noticed and I talked about my journeys.

The stories, with the sacks and the heartache of leaving my daughter in her home so far away year after year was difficult to reconcile.  Some people tried to connect the two and suggested that the grief, sacks and their embroidery where symbiotic and that my art was therapy   Believing that embroidery was a bit like water colour to oil painting as restful and therapeutic.  That too, took some explaining, missing your daughter is one thing and doing embroidery is something else.  Like drawing or any art, embroidery takes skill, practice, focus and determination. I don’t just pick up a needle and sew.

Then, there is expressing one’s self without words and that I did find hard; so, I had to add narrative in the form of haiku.  Not to just tell the story but to say more that this is not a table mat to drape and look lovely, it is not here to hide the vacuum cleaner, its telling you that all that glitters is not gold, coffee (and cotton and that’s another story) may delight the many it has harmed many more in its production.

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