Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Safe arrivals

Detail from the quilt Bombers Moon

Phil writes:

Most of the people we have met in 2015 are on journeys. A lot of the homeless people we've talked to are searching for solutions, for insight, for comfort. Many are on the move, sofa-surfing, living in temporary accommodation, or on the streets. I don't think that I have ever met so many people genuinely on a quest for knowledge as I have in the homeless community. The homeless centres we've worked at, The Wellspring and The Booth Centre, are more full of questions than any university. 

It's been a year of big journeys for us too. Some of the journeys have been external - out into the world - some of them have been artistic, and some of them inner journeys. We've just travelled to Lithuania, setting up a new project faraway. Artistically we are stretching as well - our quilts are a meeting of the arts of textile and text - poems in stitched pages, they are a wide-open horizon to us. The Homeless Library has been an even bigger artistic stretch, working with homeless people to inscribe their own lived history into reclaimed books. 

The inner, personal, journey for myself has been to try to accept the death of my father, Ellis. For him, arthur+martha was a source of pleasure, curiosity, sadness - he continually asked about our sessions and the people we met. We talked about arthur+martha right up until his death. As an old soldier he was especially touched by the interviews with another ex-soldier, Warren, for The Homeless Library. When we would sa goodbye at the end of one of our many epic phone conversations he'd sign off with a cheery: "Travel hopefully." 

To everyone we've met and worked with this year - especially people who are on a hard road - we wish you safe arrivals. 

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