Until I was almost 60, I did very little traveling. Then my husband and I flew to London, and Paris, and even Japan! My sister and I flew to Ireland, and Turkey and Israel. I went alone to Australia and New Zealand. I began to feel like I really knew my way around the world. Then we went to India, and I realized I knew nothing.
This was the only trip going with a tour, and, coward that I am, I'm very glad we rode encased in a white bus-bubble. We traveled the part of India called the Golden Triangle, the section most visited by tourists: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Yes, there are marvels to see - among horrifying poverty, disgusting filth and insane roads.
There are NO GARBAGE TRUCKS. People sweep trash up into piles, animals rummage through the piles, and it stays there. Along the banks of the Ganges River, women do their laundry, in the filthy water.
Dried animal dung is used as fuel. I watched women use their bare hands to form the dung into patties and pile them up to dry.
I could see the handprints on the drying fuel.
Women cooked on small fires in rural villages, and in city gutters.
I saw these pumps everywhere: water for drinking, washing, laundry, everything. People bathe right along the roadside at these pumps. There are no public toilets, so people urinate and defecate everywhere.
In urban areas, it was common to see shanties like these, often huge groupings of these improvised buildings. When I discussed this with someone, they said "you think this is bad, you should see Mumbai!" I can't imagine.
My sister and I, and our fellow tourists, rode along in air-conditioned comfort, drinking chilled bottled water, sealed off from reality, going from one gated, guarded, luxury hotel to the next.
I've read travel accounts describing the wonders of India, the spirituality, the beauty: that's like describing the beautiful face of a starving woman. We should be sending aid, not tourists. Look, I don't have this set up so people can leave comments easily, but I'd really like to hear what other people think about this. At the top of the page there's a CONTACT you can click and write to me, and I will answer your email.
Tomorrow, the quilt.
From the rabbit-proof fences to the crocheted jug covers, Australia has spent a LOT of effort controlling pests, varmits and various imported problems. Since the whole place started as a penal colony, I suppose we could include humans as one of the species Australians have tried to control. The story of the rabbits is well known, but they also imported cane toads (in an attempt to control native cane beetles), cats, feral goats and pigs.
Fenced (28"h x 34"w)
The materials...well, I made a fairly large piece of reddish felt, and attached that to a piece of red wool, then sewed everything else on that. The kangaroos and emus are woolen outlines. Rabbits and sheep are phototransferred. I know - most people don't like phototransfer for art because of the shiny, plastic-y feel. But try it on burlap. Or wool. Or silk! I've ironed phototransfer material onto 2 layers of silk - most goes on the top layer, but enough comes through to the bottom layer of silk to be interesting. These rabbits and sheep are ironed on various wools, burlaps and anything else in the studio. The toads and flies are on silk.
If you look way up in the top right corner, you can see a fly, printed on silk, on the jug cover. The jug cover is itself a type of fencing, and adds a nice white punch in the midst of all that red.
In an earlier blog (a dead end...early work) I described my efforts with lint, which were truly ugly. However, that experience actually came in handy here: I used old badminton rackets as paper-making screens through red lint, let them dry, and cut out the netting from the frames. And here - unlike my other attempts - it worked! The red lint on the red badminton webbing works as a perfect layer with the felt and the rabbits. There are other fencing materials here, which I collect as I walk along the streets in New York, past construction projects.
Another photo of the same piece, which shows the textures. I sometimes think that all my art should be photographed in bright sunlight - harsh, but you can SEE it all.
In another post - Strata and Markings - I explain how I transfer color on wool. I did that on the kangaroos and emus here.
The next 2 posts will show a piece based on India.