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One More Thing: In Life and Art

Most of us, if not all, will be touched by cancer during our lives, either directly or indirectly. I personally fit those statistics in more ways than one.

I lost a good friend almost two decades ago. She was in her 30′s and a mom to a beautiful toddler. She won her first round with breast cancer and thought that she would be able to see her son grow into a kind and strong man. But the illness sneaked back in and took her away from her boy and everybody else far too early.

Recent medical research points out that the probability of getting cancer is the luck of the draw for many people in the otherwise low-risk category. Being diagnosed with any kind of cancer, and going through a treatment, is one of the life’s most altering experiences. Over the years, cancer has affected the lives of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances; young and old; physically fit and not quite so; indiscriminately. I faced it as well, and I consider myself very lucky to have discovered it early enough for treatment to be effective.

At the end of 2014, Virginia Spiegel, a fiber artist and humanitarian, made a call for participation in “The 100,” her Fiberart For A Cause online fundraiser to benefit American Cancer Society — one hundred artists donating one artwork each. I joined instantly, without needing to think about the decision at all.

It is usually simpler for me to create a new artwork from scratch. But this time I decided to work on an old piece (5.5”x7.5”), that Dale Rollerson of “The Thread Studio” might still remember, and see how far I could get with it. My reasoning behind this decision stemmed from the harsh reality that cancer changes lives in incomprehensible, irreversible, and often in devastating ways. Still, at the end of the recovery process, people often find the strength to reinvent themselves and build something new and good out of their freshly shaken lives. Subconsciously, that is what I wanted to do with my art piece: to give it a new and vibrant “life” through the creative process.

The foundations of my donated artwork hail from a few years ago when I was exploring organic lines and trying machine needle-felting for the first time. At that time, I needle-felted some silk and wool roving, and a piece of hand painted cotton organdy to black felt. I also stipple-embroidered the felt (with grey thread), did a little bit of beading, and added very little hand stitching. For this project, however, I wanted to bring more color, light, and movement into the original piece (pictured below).

Red IIMy old work as a starting point for the new one

I kept painting, adding hand and machine stitching, adding always “one more thing” to the piece, so much that I started to jokingly call my piece, “One More Thing.” When I thought more about it, the title took on a new meaning. To me, the human battle with cancer itself, and with any health issue in general, can be seen as a whole series of “one more thing(s)” to deal with: one more doctor’s visit, one more specialist to see, one more second opinion to hear, one more day in pain, one more medication to try, one more alternative medicine therapy to give a chance, one more day with your family taken away, one more social event missed, one more day of feeling unwell before things hopefully turn around… ONE MORE THING to go through.

One More ThingMy artwork, “One More Thing,” is ready for “The 100,” a Fiberart For a Cause online auction

Early in the making of this piece, whose final version is pictured above, images started to emerge in it that reminded me of a human body fighting an illness, with bad cells dying out and healthy ones getting stronger and multiplying. I now see my artwork as having transformed into a powerful immune system that is winning and extending life, creating hope, and inspiring self-discovery.

I hope that you will consider supporting this worthy cause and owning one of one hundred beautiful small pieces of art. The auction starts tomorrow morning and you can find all the details on Virginia’s blog.

 

Update 1

The fundraiser was an astounding success due to help of many people – artists, friends, supporters – and to generosity of our patrons. We raised $10,380 for the American Cancer Society in two and a half hours yesterday! Overall, generous fiber artists and patrons have donated more than a quarter of a million dollars through Fiber Art For A Cause.

 

Update 2

Here is a few more words on how I finished my piece. At the last minute I decided to mount the “One More Thing” on stretcher bars before mailing it to Sue. I used its image to create patterned textile (cotton) that I stretched over the bars (see the images below). Only then the piece looked complete to me. I was somewhat sad to see it go but I know that the “One More Thing” has found a good home.

One More Thing (mounted on stretcher bars)One More Thing (mounted on stretcher bars ) - detail
“One More Thing” mounted on stretcher bars covered with patterned textile designed by me

Comments

  1. Your piece is very apropos – the thought process, the experience of the situation, and the final finished piece.

  2. Beautiful piece…so glad to hear of the success of the auction.
    Going through cancer with a friend right now.
    Cancer is Mean.
    Laura

    • Thank you, Laura, you are too kind.

      I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It is good that she has you by her side. You are both in my thoughts.

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