It’s a blustery, sunny, wintry day. The kind of weather I associate with the National Arts Festival which, for 45 years, started on the last Thursday of June in Grahamstown (now Makhanda), South Africa. It is ironic that the weather (often described as unpredictable, changeable) is the one thing that feels the same on this day (today) when the Festival was to have begun, bringing the streets and town to life.
This year, the year of the Corona Virus, is also the year of the Virtual National Arts Festival. While this is exciting and innovative, it does not assuage my forlorn feelings. There will be no fun of the fair on the village green, no tents with stallholders selling their craft, no crowds. Some things have “changed utterly” (W.B. Yeats) as a result of the pandemic. But there is a virtual village green, so all is not lost. I was not brave enough to sign up for it — it seemed too big a step from our “stoep stall” on our front verandah to a virtual platform.
Taking a smaller step, I have been loading images and descriptions of my market wares for a local virtual market called TRADE at Home, which will be happening on Facebook this Saturday (27 June). Thanks to the clear instructions and industry of the organiser, Tracy Jeffery, it has been fraughtless process. This is the second virtual market she has kindly organised to help the local traders to tout their wares.
Amidst the change wrought by the pandemic, the world continues to turn. The winter solstice happened in the southern hemisphere last weekend, and my June kantha sampler is a representation of this annual phenomenon.
To accentuate the shadow I placed a semi circle of patterned fabric from an old cotton sari on the left hand side of the circle that represents the earth. The stitching inside the circle is the “stepping” kantha stitch. The outside of the circle is shadow quilted.