Wednesday 4 March 2020

Winds of Change

The winds of change have been blowing around Traverse recently and I'm not talking about the horrendous weather we have been experiencing, which thankfully now seems to have gone away. I'm sitting here looking out at blue skies, sunshine, early blossom and daffodils, which make me smile and remind me of one of my favourite songs I sang as a child at school, 'Glad That I Live Am I' (Lizette W. Rees, 1909). It was the chorus which came to me this morning:

After the sun, the rain,
After the rain, the sun,
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.

I've always struggled with change - it pushes me out of my comfort zone and I like it there! However, maybe I need to accept change as an inevitable part of 'the way of life' and try to embrace it like the sun and the rain, as a force for good - which brings me to the reason for writing.

A new season brings our new blog header, which reflects a major change for us - Becca and Bernice have made the decision to step away from Traverse to continue their creative life on separate paths. We will miss them and wish them all the very best, both personally and artistically.

'A bend in the road is not the end of the road ... unless you fail to make the turn.' 
Helen Keller

I will use their own words to tell their stories.


Following on from my mentoring course last year, I have been giving a lot of thought to where I want to go with my work and how to achieve this. I'm also aware that Traverse is starting to think about the next body of new work and this has been another consideration in my decision. I have decided I want to take some time to explore my current theme of work further and to spend time working on developing my artistic voice and practice. As a result, I feel that the time has come for me to leave Traverse. I have really enjoyed my time within the group and wish all of you all the best for your future work together.

As some of you will know, Becca's work has great personal significance, based on her experiences of living with deafness - an invisible disability - and has been widely admired during our exhibitions last year. Her Traverse blogpost Making the Invisible Visible describes her inspiration and the reaction to her work most eloquently. Alongside her administrative work within the group, helping a lot with social media, we will also miss that individual creative input and the extra dimension Becca's work brought to Traverse.

The Hidden Face - Becca


It is hard to list Bernice's contribution to Traverse in detail as there was so much she did behind the scenes.  With us right from the beginning, when we sat eating curry and trying to decide on a name, she has been instrumental in so much, including setting up our social media, this website and covering many aspects of the organisation and paperwork. Her work rate is phenomenal and she always came to our meetings with several new pieces to share. We will miss the diversity her mixed media work gave to our exhibitions, the many beautiful books and her wonderful printed and stitched fabrics.

Bernice wrote the following after a 5-day workshop at Committed to Cloth, where she thought a lot about her work:

I have spent my days last week at C2C looking at my current work and practice, and where I want to take my work in the future. I have decided from all this thinking and private journaling that I need to cut back on techniques, materials, workshops and other commitments. To this end I have decided that our next Traverse weekend will be my last.

The Road Not Taken - Bernice

Bernice describes her decision in much more detail on her personal blog here, comparing it to 'climbing a spiral staircase', where the view changes slightly as you climb. Like me, she also talks about not liking change - 'I like to think I'm open to change but in reality I can be quite resistant'.

So I've come full circle, which seems rather appropriate as, after climbing a spiral staircase of my own, my view of the winds of change is different now.

The Fab Four of Deb, Dia, Vicki and I are committed to carrying on as Traverse, embracing and making the most of the changes and, in Becca's words, 'working to keep Traverse a great group.' We have exhibitions lined up for this year, which we are busily preparing for, following our theme of 'Senses'. More on that later but here's a sneak peek.

'When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.'
Chinese proverb