Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crazy Blues in Quarters!


Everything here in Maine at the MacNamara Foundation is wonderful....except that I can't seem to find a place in which to photograph this quilt! I'm not complaining. I'll take the "full view" in November when I can hang it on the gallery wall, light it properly, and enter it into my catalog as a finished work. In the meantime, here are the four quarters. Yes....I put the quilt on the gravel and used the side of a parked truck to brace my camera. Yet, the images are relatively clear, the colors look fine on my laptop screen, and each image can be clicked upon for a closer inspection of the million or so stitches, including the kantha cloth inspired, off white section between the image of Mamie Smith and the crazy quilting.

The center is a xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin of Mamie Smith, the first African American female to record a blues song. The title: Crazy Blues. Hence, this quilt is also called Crazy Blues. The reverse includes handstitching that reads:
CRAZY BLUES
Mamie Smith 1920
Susan Lenz 2008

I didn't do any of the tatting or crochet. They are vintage scraps of lace. The material includes scraps of old Austrian dirndl skirts and aprons, a batik I found in Thailand in 1987, part of an old hand stitched quilt top, part of in Indian scarf that my sister Sonya and Vipin got me (but I accidentally ripped it on the car door), and a Japanese handkerchief that my son Mathias brought back after dancing in Sapporo. Some of the trim and buttons were left in my Grandmother's treddle sewing machine which I inherited. There are four blue beads that were a gift from Pat Thornhill. Most of the button are vintage. There are some 19th c. jet beads too. The entire background of the xylene portrait is done in seeding stitch. The portrait itself is stuffed, trapunto style from the reverse. Therefore, the work is very dimensional.

14 comments:

Sue said...

Wow, Susan! It's brilliant. Another tour de force!

Aussie Jo said...

Priceless!!!

arlee said...

These "quarters" are stunning---such texture and detail---your fine hand again---absolutely wonderful.

Julie said...

It's beautiful Susan. The stitching is wonderful, it must have taken you forever!

IDESIGN said...

Susan,
You never cease to amaze! Love how the details flow into the centerpiece. Stunning!
You have been busy!!

Pat said...

Susan, I am thrilled that you have found a use for the beads and on such a stunning pice.

cq4fun said...

Beautiful piece, even in quarters. What a plethora of wonderful stitching! I notice very little repeating. I love the way you did this with her Blues song.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I love this! What a huge amount of stitching and such beautiful details. I really like how the stitching flows over into the main body of the piece.

TattingChic said...

Your square is so beautiful! I love the blues, very nice. It's always heartwarming to see tatting used in needlework pieces in such a lovely way. You did such a nice job of embellishing them.

Karen said...

Fantastic!! I love the details,so much to see there. This is one wonderful work!

IDESIGN said...

Susan,
Thank you for the kind comments on my blog--I left you a message there...Can't wait to see your next post!
Big game this weekend--I hope you have cable at McNamara. Are your artist friends fans of football?!
I hope to refine my Art Mugs this weekend--I am trying to think of a catchy phrase for them...any and all suggestions will be considered! ;)
Have fun!
Kim

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the back! How do you do all this work in such a short time? Your Dad especially likes the comments as he understands your work better from other artists viewpoints as well as the enlargements. Thank you for the postings. Hope you are keeping well up there. Love Mom

SONYASPHERE said...

Sooo..what does porcupine taste like anyway?!?! hehe GROSS! Please tell me your next step isn't working with bones (actually...not a bad idea)! I'm so envious of you being there in the Fall...but something tells me if you were there in Winter you'd find a way to preserve snowflakes! Keep up the incredible work!

Wanda said...

Oh you are SUCH a tease!! I can't wait to see the Crazy Blues in its entirety!!!! I am so jealous that you can finish things so quickly. My poor quilt isn't done yet and I started it in April! But I found the only patchwork shop in Munich (just happens to be within walking distance!) and the women there are so nice. I can pin it there on their huge table. I think, now I AM going to hand quilt it! All the paper is finally off the back and I just have a few places to re-sew. Do I wash the thing? I agree with Sonya...you would figure out a way to preserve snowflakes! You are my hero!