Happy New Year from Ann Rippin, Academic Quilter

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get this blog going.  So, I thought I would start with an update on the Body Shop quilt.

I hung up the BSI quilt before Christmas just to have it up for a bit and to live with it.  I can’t see the bottom of it, so I am only living with the top half really.  I immediately began to see flaws in it.  Immediately.  I need to get some DAS and start making some figures ‘from early Europe’ to paint gold.  It needs some big showy pieces which I might wrap with threads or wire or beads or sim.  Just surprised how the gaps showed up instantly.  There are quite large bits of fabric which need focal points.

I have made a male figure, because there is so much male energy in the quilt.  When I saw the male figure in the exhibition in the Ashmolean I was very taken with it.  I thought it was really sexy, which is not a word I use that often.  Sitting here thinking about it now, it strikes me as an example of what we used to rail against in the seventies: the dismembering of women into their sexual parts rather than portraying them as whole women and whole human beings.  My lovely little figurine is full of sex and life, but it is just the torso, the bare minimum of a man you need for sex.  Rather weird.  But he is lovely.  I might make another one to paint.

Ann Rippin's rendering in DAS modelling clay of an Early Europe Figure.
Ann Rippin's DAS Early Europe figure

I saw these little figures when I went to a fantastic exhibition at the newly refurbished Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in the summer.  I had a lovely time there making sketches, which I always enjoy.  This one is the inspiration behind the figure above.

I might spray him gold or I might paint him.  Either way, I know where I am going to position him.  I have some other female figures which I am going to include as well.  I really loved making them, and I can see why people made them even if they have no ritual significance at all.  There is something about the fact that they are so small and sit in the hand so beautifully.  Douglass Bailey writes about this in his essay in the catalogue to the Ashmolean exhibition

Bayley, Douglass, W. (2010) ‘The Figurines of Old Europe’, in David W. Anthony The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC , New York and Princeton: Institute for the Study of Ancient World: 113-127.


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