Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holiday!

(Click on image to enlarge. Rabbi. Decision Portrait Series. Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery: Blackwork and couching. Stitched words: Waiting for the Messiah.)

Something rather serendipitous seemed to be in the air this holiday season. Without any conscious effort to coordinate the next two pieces in my Decision Portrait Series, I ended up taking the photos for Rabbi and Priest within two days of one another. The initial transfer for the priest was less than perfect, so I started stitching on the rabbi....right before Christmas. It seemed so fitting....waiting for the Messiah.

The stitched words for the priest will be "Called to Serve". While designing my own "Star of David" inspired Blackwork pattern (Don't faint....I can actually manage counted thread embroidery when absolutely necessary!), it occurred to me that both these men were "called to serve" and both these men are "waiting for the Messiah"....whether for a first or second visit doesn't matter.

Thus, I spent much of the holiday week thinking about our global cultural, religious, and historic similarities. It was a wonderful way to stitch and celebrate. I am thrilled with this piece....especially the Blackwork. There's a good chance that my desire to adorn the background in this manner is the result of blended cultural arts too. I recently read Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. My mom and dad practically insisted that I read it, and they were right. I LOVED IT! The fictional plot focused on the real 14th c. Sarajevo Hagaddah. My mind danced with all the beautiful Moorish patterns that many illuminated manuscripts from the Middle East include. I knew I wanted something that reminded me of these books.

During the year I've tried not to fill my personal blog with too much CYBER FYBER information...but each day now brings me closer to the actual exhibition. Most of my time is spent in preparation for the installation, creating new press releases, etc. One of the things that inevitably happens with the postal system is that some mail gets lost! I had to write to a few participants to say I'd never received their trades. I promised "something" in return.....but had no idea what! Well, it's going to be Christmas ornaments. I made another "batch"!

I've also received an email or two asking about the CYBER FYBER postcard and ATC voting. The question is: Can I vote for more than one? YES! By all means! Vote away! The People's Choice Award is really just for fun.....Vote! The on-line exhibition is here for postcards and here for ATCs. Most of the artwork from the Invitational Artists has arrived. For the next day or two I'll be photographing it and uploading it too! There's still time for anyone to participate in the International Random ATC Swap too! Every day more ATCs arrive for this.

So....what else has been happening here in Columbia? Well, my elder son Mathias is home for just over a week from Birmingham, England where he dances for Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB). He's been busy contrast and color correcting all the photos he took last January while the company toured Japan! Okay....he's a little slow on getting this done....but....I have Photoshop on my computer. So....soon there will be photos on My Family Blog from this trip! Better late than never! I think one of the reasons this task is finally getting done is the fact that BRB is touring China this January! Mathias needed his camera's chip cleared for the new images!


Jackie said...

I'll be honest..I've actually read all the things in my google reader and so I thought I'd make myself known to a few other bloggers. Arlee has mentioned you umpteen times and I've been here before. So hello.
I am going to join in the ATC random swap and I love your rabbi. Blackwork is not one of my faves but I can do it if necessary. (By the way, if you visit my blog its a bit stitchless at the maybe you could look at my flickr 'on black' in the sidebar..if you wanted to)

Linda Lynch said...

Susan, I have been following your Art in Stitches for several months now and I am so fascinated with these. I love the simplicity of the transfers, the non-judgmental way these art pieces are, and of course your wonderful stitching. I do not know Blackwork as I am new to many stitches, but this is stunning! You have inspired me to want to do something similar, using my 17 year old grandson as he has gone through a couple of tough years and is in a program living away from home. I want to do it non-judgmentally visiting all of his issues on the quilt. I believe it will be a healing piece for me as I miss him so and feel such sadness. Thank you for being such a huge influence to so many women and possibly men, with your pieces and Cyber Fyber.

Wanda said...

Wow..where to start. First of all, I hope you had a great time while Matthias visited. He looks great! He's all grown up now. Oh, I'm sure he'd hate to hear me say embarrassing...but it's true. I look forward to seeing his pictures in the near future. Second...great rabbi portrait and look forward to seeing priest. You know how near and dear this series is to my heart. It's like a life-long journey. It's...well, it's so many things. You are touching lives, Susan. Third....I believe I might just hate you a little...ha ha..In a very loving way. Your blackwork is perfect!!! And your name doesn't necessarily pop into my mind when I think of blackwork! Well, your work at least. You personally always come to mind since you are the one who taught me!! But not necessarily your work. But...there you go again, proving to be an incredible artist, even if you don't necessarily want to do what you are doing. But you just SAW that it was right for this piece. You just knew. Forth..why didn't mom and dad recommend that book to me? Didn't it have dragons in it or something? ha ha I can't even begin to pretend that I would read that!! But I'm so happy that they bonked you in the head to read it because it seems you got so much out of it. And no...don't even try...if it doesn't have a map of an alien world, I'm not going to read it no matter what you say!! ha ha Ok...and last.... you keep it together and follow your schedule for Cyber Fyber and everything is going to get done and be wonderful. I know it's getting down to the crunch...that's okay. The "crunch" is the end product. It's going to be the cyber event of the decade!!! I sure love you!

Stitchety Grub said...

Hi Susan, I have been thinking of you and the Cyber Fyber this month ... gosh it seems so long ago when I posted my Postcard and ATC's over to you early last year...I hope it all goes superbly and I will be sending good vibes...
Britt West Aus