Thread Talk

© 2007, H. Hunter, Polihaliai Beach, mixed media

How often, after all, do we take the time to look back, review and in this way, renew our relationship to our work? Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to a local guild of embroiderers about my artwork. I decided that if I was going to share some history with them, I needed to do some digging.

After some searching, I came up with three separate images: a stack of books, a marsh and an Amish quilt. Pretty disparate images--but like reducing a fraction to the lowest common denominator, I had come up with the structural bones of my creative process, each one grounded in some vital part of my history.

The books: I often spent my summer days stretched out on a sofa or a hammock, after carefully arranging a pile of books beside me which I devoured one at a time.

Michigan Marshland

Marsh: a scene from early childhood in Maine where I spent time chasing peepers and later, growing up in Michigan, where instead of peepers, I gathered reeds for weaving.

"Amish Abstractions"

Amish quilts: when I saw my first one in the University of Iowa Art Museum, it struck me as a visual form of haiku. With only a few colors, a quilt conjured a landscape.

It tickles me that as I look at my present work, I find traces of the words, reeds and quilts which informed my early visual blueprint.

©2007, H. Hunter, Dancing Rings 1, mixed media

It makes me think that there is something something mysterious yet inevitable about the images which dwell within us and arise out of our experience, recombining in powerful ways that we cannot predict.

Succeeding experiences build upon each other and yet, as we work with them in our studios, they come into being, slowly but surely, like a photograph appearing for the first time in its alchemical bath.