Friday 26 November 2021

Louise Donovan and her textile art exhibition at the Crypt Gallery in St Ives - November 2021 - Part One

 Louise's exhibition was called 'A Textile Art Journey Through The Pandemic And Interconnections'. It ran from Saturday 13th to Friday 19th November this year. There were 147 attendees and 22 comments were left in the visitors book. Here's a flavour of those opinions: 

"A very strong show."

"I love the use of colour in these pieces. They work together so well."

"I love the shapes, the colours, and the sentiments attached to the pandemic project."

"What extraordinary work! Beautifully displayed." 

"Thank you for sharing the beauty of your work. The meditative quality and the challenging thinking is inspirational."

And here is the artist herself:

Louise Donovan - April 2021

The pandemic series of nine pieces was begun in March 2020 and completed in the summer of 2021. Here they are with their story:

My Pandemic Journey - 1

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 1 - by Louise Donovan.

Silver-grey and red – plain black quilting thread – triangular, spikey designs in the quilting.

The silver-grey represents normality and calmness – but within this calm the warning signs in red appear – the red squares

represent the coronaviruses that are flowing our way.

My Pandemic Journey - 2


About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 2 - by Louise Donovan.

Black – with red and blue squares – multi-coloured quilting thread – triangular, spikey designs in quilting

The black represents lockdown and the threat of the virus that brings death and long-term illness in its wake for scores of thousands in the UK. The red and blue squares are inspired by the coronavirus emblem on Channel 4 News. My fear and anxiety shape this piece.

My Pandemic Journey - 3

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 3 - by Louise Donovan.

Red – with black and green squares – back to plain black thread – now the quilting design has become circles emphasising chaotic movement.

Red is the primary colour to show my own alarm and fear. Black is there to represent the ever- present threat of death. I have used green because I believe in the power of hope.

My Pandemic Journey - 4

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 4 - by Louise Donovan.

Navy-blue – with green and red squares – same quilting thread and designs as in 2 above.

Black has changed to navy-blue as we emerge from lockdown and restrictions begin to be lifted – the country is being encouraged to return to normal for the sake of the economy. I am still very wary of the power of the virus and self-isolating except for medical appointments. This is the summer and the height of my pollen asthma season. My respiratory system is vulnerable; this will be the focus of the coronavirus attack if I am infected. The red represents this sense of danger. The green represents the hope that was there as we got on top of the virus due to those weeks of total lockdown in late-March through into April and May.

My Pandemic Journey - 5

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 5 - by Louise Donovan.

Dark green – with dark blue and red squares – the quilting design has returned to the circles emphasising chaotic movement.

Green is the dominant colour. It is now approaching Christmas and the prospect of a vaccine is being heralded. My artist friend Jessica in the USA writes ‘The piece seems really seasonally appropriate with the red and green – I don’t know if this was intentional or not – while the black patches are a stark reminder of all the lives lost and evoke a sense of grief amidst all the bright and festive trappings of Christmas. This will be a grim season for many families. At the same time the overwhelming presence of green indicates a sense of hope and rebirth … interestingly timed to coincide with the start of distribution of the vaccine.’

My Pandemic Journey - 6

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 6 - by Louise Donovan.

Bright blue – with black and red squares – same quilting thread and design as in 5 above.

Hope is even more justified. We are into 2021 and the vaccine is being rolled out with brilliant NHS efficiency – bright blue is the colour that captures the zeitgeist. But note the warning flashes of black and red. This war against the virus is not over.

My Pandemic Journey - 7

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 7 - by Louise Donovan.

Pale green – with pale green and dark green squares – same quilting thread and design as in 5 and 6 above.

Calmness is the key emotion in this piece – I take comfort in the green shoots of recovery, but I am still aware of the chaos that this virus brings.

My Pandemic Journey - 8

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 8 - by Louise Donovan.

Pale blue – with royal blue squares – same quilting thread and design as in 5 and 6 and 7 above.

When I created this piece, I had in mind Dame Vera Lynn’s song from WW2 with its words: ‘There’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover’. This is my offering to Hope – that one day I will no longer be living in fear.

My Pandemic Journey - 9

About This Quilt
My Pandemic Journey 9 - by Louise Donovan.

Deep purple – with pale purple and black squares – same quilting thread as in 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 above.

This last piece expresses my grief and mourning for all those who have lost their lives in this pandemic. It is also shaped by my awareness of the pain felt by those who have not been able to attend funerals and wakes.

I hope you have found this journey as interesting and thought-provoking as others have done. 

Part Two in this series of three, all focused on Louise's exhibition, will be published in a week's time.   

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