‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’
by Dorothy Russell
I was naïve enough to be horrified by the greed and corruption exposed during the financial ‘crash’ within the banking sector: it was not even contained within one country, but was world-wide and its repercussions echo through our lives today and will for a very long time. What makes it worse is that although massive sections of society have suffered because of the banking crisis, the people at the centre seem to be undisturbed as though at the ‘eye of the storm’, still wealthy, still greedy and still in control.
Greed and corruption, of course, are not only evident in one sector of society: the expenses scandal among our Members of Parliament was shocking and further undermined faith in the quality of our ‘leaders’.
Greed, bribery and corruption, like the poor, it would seem, are always with us. It feels as though the relationship between greed and the societal imbalance of massive wealth/poverty are directly related.
Stung by these thoughts and feeling impotent in the face of them, I set about responding through my work. I felt a need to mark and communicate my distress at the system and its major failings which are founded in greed and theft.
The work is blue and understated, hiding its serpentine message in intertwining words which are subtle and need to be searched for in the same way that the manoeuvrings of the powerful are disguised and secretive. There are also words which appear in the background machine quilting, though many difficult to decipher or simply not legible.
Falling through the image are appliqué silver discs suggestive of coins. There are flashes of red in the painted/printed background and around the lettering. Red can be used to symbolise danger or threat.
The border is foundation pieced but with no apparent pattern or regimentation and separating it from the centre is a confusion of couched threads, distracting the eye from the message within.
Although this piece of work has not ‘changed the world’, it has offered some little satisfaction to me in knowing that I have made a statement and expressed my frustration.
Cotton fabric with used with small amounts of metallic net, cotton, silk and metallic threads. The wholecloth centre was painted, stencilled, printed, appliquéd, couched and machine quilted. The border was pieced, machine quilted and couched.
This quilt is part of the Connection touring exhibition by Cwilt Cymru currently showing at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.