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“The Best Way Out is Always Through.” –Robert Frost

Layered batiks on cotton batting.

You know, I’ve had better weeks.  As I was packing some things up to work on at the studio today, I found this piece that I started a couple of months ago. Sometimes I create happy sea stars and fun octopuses.  And then sometimes, I am inspired by life and how it changes.  How it pushes and pulls you in these different directions, forcing you to either change with it or hold steady and fight it.  And the best solution isn’t always the same choice. Sometimes it’s about the happy things that inspire us–cute animals, beautiful scenery, vibrant colors or a great new piece of fabric.  And sometimes, it’s the not-so-happy things and in those moments of pain and struggle, I often visualize images that seem to parallel what I’m going through.

My rendering for “The Mouth of Hell” for “La Pastorela” at The Adobe Chapel in Old Town, San Diego.

One of those moments reminded me of this painting I had created years ago for a primitive styled production of La Pastorela.  In this little Christmas play, there is a very literal mouth of hell.  For this production, the director just wanted a very simple, fantastical design and this was my rendering for that backdrop.  I don’t know why I thought about it all these years later, but I pulled it out of my stash of paintings and decided I would turn it in to a textile piece.  It seemed symbolic of where my life was and I wanted to create something a little less happy-beach-day and a little more true to what I was experiencing.  That said, I am an optimist and I always like to feel there is hope.  I’ve been contemplating a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel piece for quite some time, and thought it might be cool to combine those two ideas and have the tunnel be this demonic mouth of hell, as that’s what it felt like I was faced with at the time.  I came across this Robert Frost quote that I felt fit so perfectly:  “The best way out is always through.”  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the difficulties of my life these past few years, it’s that.  There are no short cuts.  There are no easy paths that will allow me to circumvent the pain and stress and sorrow that my situation brings me.  It is only in walking through the fire that I will be able to pass my demons and step out of the darkness, over those sharp teeth and into the sunshine that awaits.  I don’t know how long it will take to feel that fresh air again.  Sometimes I feel the breeze and the warmth of the sunshine and know it is getting closer.  Sometimes it seems to take forever.  But, through it all, I know there’s only one way to go, and that’s to face it head on and walk straight through.

The finished piece. 19″x19″. Indonesian batiks, lots of free motion stitching, including red and gold metallic threads. The eyes and the sun are embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Love this little sun clearly bold and visible through the mouth. Lots of thread and a handful of Swarovski crystals make it shine and draw your eyes through the mouth on to something better.
Lots of free hand stitching and a beautiful red and black binding.
One more view.

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