82cm x 112cm
Sulfur was of great importance to the alchemists, being one of the so called 'Tria Prima'. Along with mercury and salt they believed all matter was composed of varying amounts of these 3 materials, with gold being the perfect balance of all 3.
In the Bible sulfur was known as ‘Brimstone’ and was associated with God's wroth and the burning fires of Hell. As such, it was a fearful substance.
Sulfur has been extracted from the ground since antiquity and had many uses. The industrial revolution saw the demand for sulfur increase tremendously as many new processes were developed. At the time the island of Sicily produced almost all the world's sulfur, and used child labour to assist in its extraction from deep underground.
I wanted this quilt to tell the story of the young boys, known as 'Carusi', who were sold by their orphanage carers of their desperately poor parents to work in the sulfur mines.
Their lives were quite literally a living hell - quite poignient given the Biblical references. Working between 8 and 10 hours a day they carried extremely heavy loads of sulfur ore from deep underground up to the surface.
You can read more about the making of this quilt from two blog posts I made as I was making the quilt. Click on the buttons below to view the posts.