Monday, July 26, 2010

The Good Oil

I'm in a stitching frenzy- not working to deadlines, just too excited to stop. Late at night, almost sick with exhaustion and I'm still reluctant to put down the blanket. Early in the morning, my hands are so cold I can barely thread a needle, but a cup of hot ginger tea thaws me out. Middle of the day, I mostly have to do other things, but I always have my workbag close by just in case there's a moment of stillness when I can pull out some stitching.

So what am I so excited about? My oil and water experiments are starting to finally pay off. The first two little pieces are completed and looking lovely, spurring me on to make more and better. I've got two colour ways going: tarry black and that orange-rust coloured crude you can see all over the Gulf of Mexico right now.

My most successful piece was inspired by a photo of globs of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. They reminded me of pancake ice, which I thought about a lot during the Antarctica months.* When I spotted the turquoise blanket in the Red Cross Shop last week (a purchase which ironically made me miss the bus) I was afraid the colour was going to be tacky and brash but it's perfect. There seems something very retro about this work, entirely appropriate for our out-of-date obsession with wasting precious preserved sunshine as fuel to burn.

I've been stitching black onto grey for a few pieces and this is the first one of them finished. It is based on a striking aerial shot of oily black waves sliding up a Louisiana beach. I was surprised by how effective the black thread looks on the cream blanket (much prettier than real tar balls on the sand), so now I'm working on another version with more sand and less sea.

As I stitch, I listen to the news: as well as Friday's oil pipeline explosion and consequent ocean spill in Dalian, China; BP's next new deep sea drilling site, off the coast of Libya, is 200m deeper than the disastrous well in the Gulf of Mexico. I guess we should just cross our fingers that they've learned something in the past few months.

This is peak oil folks, the easy oil is all gone, so our increasing demand means more risks, more pollution and more environmental harm. Not to mention more potential for violence and corruption, which is of course what the Mediterranean needs most these days.

*And actually I've started on a new pancake ice piece with a similar design but pale icy colours.


Joan said...

Hi Meliors. As always your post moved me. I followed the links and put the oil story on my facebook and I see you saw that! This art work is amazing. I would love a copy of Voyagers. Happy to buy one. Do you have copies for sale. Are they available anywhere?

Ngaio said...

Meliors, great article and photo in the Times today - congratulations !!Your poetry is amazing - thankyou

baby cribs said...

Wow! I thought those red thing is a paint. I was so surprised when I saw the second photo. It is so amazing. I wonder how you did that stitches.

Bronwyn Lloyd said...

A wonderful post. Your new oil on water pieces are incredibly effective. I hope your poetry day reading went down a treat.