The title for my forthcoming exhibition at the National Arts Festival came to me while reading a novel. I had been mulling over what to call it (if anything). Then the following perceptive comment about the function of fiction from Monogomy by Sue Miller got me thinking:

“[W]e read fiction because it suggests that life has shape and we feel …. consoled, I think he said, by that notion. Consoled to think that life isn’t just one damned thing after another. That it has sequence and consequence.”

— Sue Miller (p.153. London: Bloomsbury, 2020)

With apologies to Sue Miller, it struck me that if I replaced “life” with stitching this could serve as an explanation for why I make quilts. While this is rather fuzzy thinking, it is true that the word sequence is a good description of the results of my stitchings. The word itself also has a nice sound and shape to it.

In fine art and quilting circles the word series is used to describe a set of works with a similar theme. Here’s a clear definition: “A series is essentially a collection of paintings that when viewed leaves no doubt the same artist created them all. The theme running through the work is stated and restated in different yet interconnected ways, and the viewer can look at the collection and understand more easily what the artist is trying to convey. 31 May 2018.” (from a google search with no URL)

I still prefer sequence which is, afterall, “a continuous series of things, a succession; a set of related things arranged in a certain order” (OED). The title of sequence for the exhibtion was also apt because I have made works that can be called a series, particularly the house portraits of buildings of historical Grahamstown. Here are the two latest ones:

House Portrait #10: 13 Bartholomew Street (34 x 24 cm) and House Portrait #11: 11 Bartholomew Street (32 x 24 cm). In real life the portrait and landscape formats are the same size.

Settling on the title of sequence has also helped me to focus on the new works that I will be making in the coming seven weeks. There are too many ideas buzzing through my brain and I hope that at least some of them will materialise. The hope is to repeat the themes of some of my larger work in sets of A4 sized smaller works. So, there will be other series besides the house portraits on the exhibition. There, I have said it. Now I must just do it.

Well, that was fun. I trawled through my media library to put up all the previous house portraits. Not all of the above will be on the exhibition as some of them have found new homes. If you are new to this blog, you can read about the making of these houses here and here.

Did you know that the word sequence also refers to: a liturgical chant; the repetition of a phrase or melody in musical compositions; an ordered set of infinite quantities in mathematics; a passage in a film; a group of three or more cards; a logical consequence. See why I like the word.

And The Winner is…

The quilt made by the QUOGs to raise funds for the Ukrainian disaster fund was won by Eileen Shepherd.

24 thoughts on “

  1. Sequence is a more ‘fluid’ word in meaning – much like the act of creating…Series implies a set direction in mind, more premeditated, perhaps even restrictive IMHO. Sequences are great as a compositional technique that often opens up other ideas in the composition process itself (speaking here of music). So, yes, sequence…excellent choice of title!

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    1. Ideas opening up other ideas is a good description of how inspiration works when one is making something (note that I am trying to avoid the phrase ‘creative process’, but have said it anyway!). Thank you for this insightful comment and for liking the title.
      BTW What’s the time in your part of the world?

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  2. I love your house portraits – they capture the fact that each house is a personality. I hope you enjoy the sequence of events and stitchings as you prepare for the exhibition.

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  3. I was wondering about the title Mariss β€” so it’s great to hear how you came to it.
    Love your houses β€” all of them πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

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  4. Congratulations on your upcoming exhibit- quite an honor! Oh how I wish I could attend and see your lovely work in person! Sounds like it’s going to be a busy several weeks for you and I look forward to seeing the additions to your β€œsequenceβ€πŸ˜Š.

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  5. Oooh, congratulations on your upcoming exhibition, Mariss! It’s a shame I’m a little too far away to visit in person, but I still enjoyed looking through the “virtual gallery” you included with this post! I love the title you’ve chosen too. Best of luck with it 😊

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  6. Congrats Mariss for exhibiting at the National Arts Festival! Your quilt art is beautiful and evokes feelings of nostalgia. And yes, “sequence” as the title is so fitting. I wish I was in SA to come and see your art in person. I live in hope… πŸ™‚

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