As part of its recently-launched arts programme to further engage with the community of Eastbourne, St Wilfrid’s Hospice has appointed renowned weaver and painter Elda Abramson as its first Artist in Residence.
Visitors to the ‘Street Café’ at the hospice will have seen Elda’s magnificent wool tapestry on the opposite wall, its rich, vibrant, colours cleverly interwoven to capture the undulating South Downs landscape. And over the coming months they will have the opportunity to watch her at work weaving an interpretation of her own delicate Water Lily painting and even participate in one of her weaving workshops.
Born in England and educated in America at East Carolina University, Elda has been a professional artist and tutor for over 30 years and her large-scale tapestries hang in private collections and galleries across the world. She is also famous for her colourful, Zen-inspired bamboo pen-and-ink paintings of flowers, many of which are also on display in the Wellbeing corridor at St Wilfrid’s.
Elda is a firm believer in the hospice movement, maintaining ‘society as a whole should have a different attitude towards death. We should have more information and be more prepared to know how to die.’
On the wall of the minstrel’s gallery, an inscription reads, ‘Our vision is of a community where people talk openly about dying, live well until the end of their life and where nobody dies alone, afraid or in pain.’ A vision that Elda passionately shares.
An Eastbourne resident for many years, Elda has always supported the work of St Wilfrid’s and hopes her demonstrations and workshops will offer encouragement and inspiration to others to realise their artistic potential and enrich their lives.
“Everyone has a textile memory,” she says, “whether it’s knitting, crocheting, embroidery or a sewing class at school and can relate to my work. Visitors who’ve watched me at my loom, both men and women, have been fascinated.
“I am so grateful for this platform, which allows me to engage with others while doing something I love in this beautiful place, which is so full of warmth.”