Bridging time, past and present, by Anne Bellas
When I started to think about the theme, what came first was the role of "time bridging" in our lives: bridging the ancient and the new, the continuity of what we were and what we are becoming, old habits turning into new ones but not erasing them, older people being influenced by younger ones and vice versa. In short, the action of time on us (I don't mean to force philosophical thoughts on you).
Then I found pictures of actual bridges all over France and decided I would try and mix-fuse-bridge them into one same entity.
I wanted my textile painting to be brightly colored, drawing a connection between two archetypal bridges that are part of our (French) common shared heritage: the old ones, such as the Roman “pont du Gard” or “pont de la Vendée” in Nantes, and the more contemporary ones such as “pont de Térénez” near Brest, the "pont de Normandie" or “the Millau viaduct”.
Here are some pictures of my work in progress, when I didn't quite know where I was heading. I was auditioning self-dyed and self-printed fabrics.
Here is what it became. The new bridge is on top of the old one, making it more elegant but letting it be and not contradicting it. Both fit into the picture and bring a distinct element. I have this deep feeling that it is the same in our lives : it's not necessary to destroy the old to make the new, both can live next to each other and influence one another for the best.
The back of the quilting (I used an unsuccessful hand-dyed piece)
But the result was not making me happy: it was too representational, way too static and the colors were somewhat too “sad”. But it was already quilted and had the facing, so it couldn't really be modified. That's when I decided then to make a second version.
But as I was working on #2, a solution popped into my mind out of nowhere and showed me how to change what was making me unhappy. OK, I couldn’t “restructure” it, but I could add some appliqué pieces to add movement and joy, couldn't I?
Here is the photo of the modified version: "L'ancien et le nouveau", 60 x 40 cm (24" x 16")
hand-dyed cottons, machine pieced and quilted.
I am now happy with the colors, with the movement, and it added a depth that I had not been expressly looking for but which does good to the whole.
PS: I will finish #2 soon and will post it as well.