The November theme for The Documented Life Project 2015 remains: Stencils, Stamps & Masks. Our art challenge this week is to use: hand carved stamps, and the journalling prompt: Tapestries". Somewhere at the back of my mind I remembered a quotation about tapestry and life but it took a bit of dedicated searching to retrieve it. It comes from Sherrilyn Kenyon's book Kiss of the Night and reads:
"Life is a tapestry woven by the decisions we make".
The past few days have taught all of us that the warp and weft of our lives are also deeply affected by the decisions made by other people. All we can do in the face of this is to continue to live our own lives as best we can, making our own choices and walking our own paths. The rest is, and will always be, out of our hands. I consciously made the choice to apply happy, bright colours to represent my tapestry.
I used the Cornish Petals stencil from Stencilgirl to give that impression of a tapestry. Yellow, orange, pink and turquoise Dylusions paints provided the background colours. I added tissue paper (of leaves) and pieces of a paper napkin (featuring pansies). I did use hand carved stamps as per our challenge, although the hands that carved the stamps weren't mine! Instead I used some of my small wooden flower stamps that I have collected over the years.
The letters of the quotation come from a Letters Sticker Book (American Crafts). They were white and I outlined them with a permanent black marker.
Finally I added one of my favourite art elements: postage stamps. They were primarily chosen for their colour and size and as you can see include a set making up one of Vincent van Gogh/s self-portraits, and also a painting by Manet, whose work I love.
In case you're wondering (as I did) about Udmurtia (where the Van Gogh stamps were issued) it's a region in the Upper Volga area of the old USSR, where both Russian and Udmurt are spoken. I had never heard of it till I Googled it and chillingly it's the birthplace of the AK47 Kalashnikov rifle. It's also one of the few regions in the world where shamanism is still actively practised. Sometimes you discover links you had much rather remained ignorant off. Even this remote and probably highly dangerous place now seems to be on the tourist map. I did wonder how Vincent made his way onto their postage stamps!
Some of the rest of the stamps are purely random but I did manage to also incorporate a Dutch stamp of Queen Wilhelmina. I was still a child when she died but remember images of her funeral very well, with all the main mourners dressed in white. It's funny how such memories drift back just by looking at a postage stamp. It's one of the reasons why I love them so much.