"Abyss" was originally conceived as a representation of depression. Yes, I entered it into the SAQA exhibition "I'm Not Crazy" but I realized that it probably wouldn't be accepted for a variety of reasons, one being that it was grey and black...and monochromatic quilts often don't make it into shows as ones with brilliant use of color attract more attention....Yes, this is an oversimplification, but it does have a part. The other aspect is that when the extended description came out, I knew that my quilt was a tad too subtle for this. "Abyss" was to represent looking up from the dark hole, seeing some hope, and figuring out a way to pull oneself up. I don't suffer from depression, other than the teenaged angst, except for one time. After I finished my treatment for breast cancer in 1994, I slid into depression and didn't realize it until I recognized that having a Christmas tree up in my living room for a week and not hanging any ornaments on it even though I had a 2 1/2 year old...was probably a good indication that I needed a prod into the right direction. I had no idea that I was depressed until I saw what I was doing. This quilt was my representation of what I remembered it feeling like. Veiled...deep...
So...I thought my "conversation" between the pieces would also include "Reaction" --how I have been dealing with my stage IV diagnosis this time around. I knew that I wanted to have lots of loose threads, coming unraveled as it were. I knew I wanted it to be on a quilted white background representing the happiness and fluffy life that most people experience. I wanted to have a sliver of shiny gold representing my life, getting progressively narrow as my time runs out. A red line would run through the gold and it would be on a black background. But...what black?
I quilted the background with interweaving lines of gold thread. I was snarling greatly at my Bernina because it has a habit of having too tight a tension just before you hit the needle....not the upper tension, but inside. In addition, the large cone of thread constantly had the bottom whipping around the core and catching, causing the thread to break. Not fun. Plus...it always takes me a long time, especially with metallic as you need to keep your speed a little slower than if I was quilting with cotton threads.
I don't know if this is enough "conversation" between the two pieces or not, but it does fit into my series on my journey with breast cancer....I regret it has become so much a part of my life-I was first diagnosed at age 34; the initial stage IV diagnosis was in December, 1997 and I know I have lived longer than most, but I'm not too thrilled with the fact that I've failed on three protocols so far with this recurrence...four if you count the Zometa/Faslodex shot.
Here's what the "View from the Abyss" looks like now that it is 32" wide rather than the 27 it started out as.