Self Isolation

by Catherina Petit van Hooey

April 2020

Being a textile artist, I often have several stitch works on the go. Some were started but, for whatever reason, never got finished. So when I had to choose what to bring over from our house in the UK, when we made our temporary move to Valencia a year ago, I decided to include a few of my unfinished stitch projects.

This one is all made in hand-stitch and was started in 2007 during my night-shifts as a community carer. It was not even half-finished and laid rolled up, isolated on a shelf in my UK workroom for the last 13 years!!

As it happened it fitted the brief for the October 2020 UK exhibition, A Sense of Place, organised by the artist group, ERTF. So I took it to Valencia where I am finishing it, whilst we are in lockdown. I have called this work “Self Isolation”.

The Labyrinth is created with cotton knitting yarn in a composite stitch, double raised chain band on linen.

The surrounding garden is made of all kinds of scraps of green fabrics, pleated, crumpled and stitched down. Further embellished with embroidery stitches, buttons, braid and beads.

The windows and door-openings in the four gatehouses are painted and stitched.

The meditation figure in the middle is made in French knots. It sits in the centre of a Labyrinth, a single path which twists and turns but, unlike a maze, leads straight to the centre and back out into the world again. The maze, however, is like a complex (mental) puzzle with multiple choices and dead ends, where you can get lost, anxious and confused. Perhaps a bit like the current world wide pandemic situation we find ourselves in.

Meditation, sitting back in stillness and isolating myself for daily periods of time from unhelpful mental and emotional thoughts gives me peace, clarity and space to be creative. It is especially helpful now, in this worrying time.

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