Wednesday 27 March 2024

Talking Heads - The Harmony of Difference 1

On the board this morning, ready for layering up and a lot of stitching before I start the painting bit, is this first piece in the new series.

I think the stencilling at the bottom provides a lovely 60’s vibe which I wasn’t expecting - I put it on to make the stitching easier and was going to “frost” it afterwards with some white acrylic paint, but now I’ll just wait and see what it needs.

What are these pieces about?

Here’s an extract from an earlier post on

You may already know that I’m working on a very old piece called Talking Heads, inspired by a visit to an art gallery many years ago, and some roughed out ideas in a sketchbook. Below is an image of the first effort at Talking Heads that has long since hit the bin!

I have moved on slightly in the last few days as the new piece has come together, and it struck me that it ties in well with the other quilts I’m making for Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, about the Windrush generation. My starting point as far as the upcoming exhibition is concerned, was the collection of wooden dolls stored in a box in the gallery’s vaults. I don’t think the gallery were sure what they were for, but they’re Indian, and probably advertising or marketing tools of some kind, and were donated.

It made me think not only of shape and colour of them, but also that there is a profound beauty found in the diversity of humanity they represent, and I hope these colourful abstract people I’m making for these new quilts will reflect that diversity in some way.

My new working title for the pieces is The Harmony Of Difference.

You can see from the scrappy piece of paper pinned on the board, that I’m not a great planner, relying on the old synapses firing from time to time to take me forward with an idea. I was just sitting in the studio thinking about how colourful and how different people can be and the connection was made.

So, my hope is that each of the abstracted figures on the quilts will represent a unique expression of identity, embodying this rich human diversity, but I have a long way to go and much research to do! Words and art are an important and a powerful way of confronting prejudice head-on and as a stitcher of words I feel this is a tool I should use. I’m not a wonderful artist tbh, just someone interested in using art to evoke an emotional response of some kind, and one of the many things I get concerned about is the unjust prejudice from race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, disability, class and age and want to tackle these biases in my own small way, perhaps using my quilts (there will be at least 2) to try to highlight my thoughts and perhaps move towards a more inclusive and equitable world by celebrating the values that unite us as human beings, in the public arena of an exhibition.

The way we see ourselves and our sense of social identity shape our interactions, and sometimes it helps to step back and look at differences again.


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