I came across a piece of ceramic in my garden, a broken piece of plate or vase, muddy and stained, probably once white with a blue pattern. I always find these little pieces intriguing and wonder at their previous lives, who made them, then used them, then threw them away.
In a way it reminds me of the Apocalypse Tapestry of Angers, my current obsession. It is a magnificent piece of Medieval art and as impressive as it is, it is incomplete. Over the years as its patterns and designs went out of favour or fashion pieces of it were used as cleaning cloths, in stables and as carpets. Many panels have been lost and of some only fragments survive.
These fragments though are enticing. Many have details, an angel's wing or a broken tree, that hint at a larger whole. Using old documents, written historical accounts, and of course the Book of Revelations on which the whole tapestry is based, researchers are able to guess at the themes and patterns on the panels but for the most part we are left to fill in the gaps with our own imaginations. I wonder at the story each fragment was a part of and what fate it suffered when its status changed from valued artwork to a piece of cloth.
In my own work, I now find myself exploring the notion of fragments, bits and pieces that are an enticing part of a bigger whole at which we can wonder. There are connections, and hints, and space to dig deep within those imaginative places to find or make meaning. The physical vulnerability of the tapestry medium also becomes more apparent as their fragmentary nature makes their woven structure more obvious. I have to hope they will also stir a little wonder in those that find them.