"Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can ...."
Inspired by Homer's classic "The Odyssey, Patience is both a narrative and a metaphoric textile art tower celebrating one of life's virtues. The four pillared structure tells the story of Penelope, the loyal wife of Odysseus. She spends twenty years at home waiting for his return from war and his travels and rejecting the attention of 108 suitors by pretending to weave a shroud for her father -in-law. She was able to ward off the suitors by stating that when she had finished weaving, she would attend to them, but little did they know that every night she undid her day’s work and the shroud was never finished. I have always been fascinated by Penelope's story - her patience, her loyalty and of course her cleverness. I printed the story on tea bag paper and used the paper as the warp of the weaving to emphasise the transient nature of her waiting.
For the “walls” I chose wool and felt because of its association with warmth and "home". Touches of purple and pink were specifically included in the palette - purple, the colour for "waiting" and pink for "unconditional love". The floor is covered with hand dyed paper but its feature is an embroidered fabric tile depicting a seed head .This is also a symbol of "the passing of time".
The severed 108 polymer clay heads tell the story of the suitors’ sad demise at the hands of Odysseus and his son, Telemachus. The stylised heart, also made of polymer clay, is an obvious symbol of the enduring love of Penelope and her hero husband, Odysseus.
This tower features hand dyed and waxed fabric and paper, needle felting, photo transfer on organza, polymer clay sculpture, paper clay sculpture, machine and hand embroidery and bead embroidery
The next in this series will describe the making of "Prudence" - narrative textile tower celebrating the life of Telemachus.