‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’ and ‘Autumn – A Dirge’

I have finished two pieces of work, ‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’ and ‘Autumn – A Dirge’, as well as their handling samples and Artist’s Statements, all before Christmas – it’s good to have a deadline!

They will form part of a travelling exhibition, ‘Connection’ by a group I belong to called Cwilt Cymru.

‘Autumn – A Dirge’ – Percy Bysshe Shelley’


Leafing through a book of poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley, I discovered one poem written in 1820, which appealed to me: it began to conjure up images in my head as I read it.

For me the darkness of this poem, relating to the end of the year, is strangely comforting. The imagery is tragic and melancholy but beautiful and I was inspired to take the opening lines and incorporate them into my hanging. I have used colours and imagery suggested both by the poem and my own observations of the changing seasons. I have also incorporated crows because of their dark associations, and because we have crows, jackdaws and ravens living on our land, and their calls, and something about their visual aspect somehow feel appropriate to this season and this piece of work.

The hanging is in three sections: the wholecloth centre is painted, printed, stencilled, and machine quilted with appliquéd letters. It is divided from the first border by couched threads. This border is created in a similar way but the colours are lighter and less intense and I have used a simplified lithographic process to print the birds on the upper and lower sections. The final border is a commercial fabric which is machine quilted, with the addition of two skeletal leaves which unite the two borders.

Cotton fabric, cotton, silk and metallic threads, painted transfer adhesive lettering, lithography, machine quilting, appliqué leaves.

‘We stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’

I was naïve enough to be horrified by the greed and corruption exposed during the financial ‘crash’ within the banking sector. What makes it worse is that although massive sections of society have suffered because of the banking crisis, the people at the centre seem to be undisturbed as though at the ‘eye of the storm’, still wealthy, still greedy and still in control.


Greed and corruption, of course, are not only evident in one sector of society, and stung by these thoughts and feeling impotent in the face of them, I set about responding through my work.

The work is blue and understated, hiding its serpentine message in intertwining words which are subtle and need to be searched for in the same way that the manoeuvrings of the powerful are disguised and secretive. There are also words which appear in the background machine quilting, though many are difficult to decipher or simply illegible.

Falling through the image are appliqué silver discs suggestive of coins. There are flashes of red in the painted/printed background and around the lettering. Red is used to symbolise danger or threat.

The border is foundation pieced but with no apparent pattern or regimentation and separating it from the centre is a confusion of couched threads, distracting the eye from the message within.

Cotton fabric with used with small amounts of metallic net, cotton, silk and metallic threads.

The wholecloth centre was painted, stencilled, printed, appliquéd, couched and machine quilted.

The border was pieced, machine quilted and couched.