Monday, January 26, 2009


(Above: Decision Portrait Series: Priest. Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand stitched. Embroidered words: Called to Serve. 25" x 19". Click on image to enlarge.)

There have been so many things I've wanted to blog about during the past month. There are all sorts of details I wanted to share. Between my home computer and the laptop, there are photo files I haven't touched. January went by in a flash. First, there were CYBER FYBER preparations....followed by the reception and Fiber the show....ATC Day...making videos...then dismantling the exhibition and mailing back the work to the invited artists. There was end-of-grant paperwork to do and prizes to mail to the postcard and ATCs winners. There's also been a pile of framing to do at Mouse House. Also, I'm already at work on next year's CYBER FYBER 2. The result is simply.....I'm not even going to try to catch up!

Instead....I'm back to work. Stitching. Making art! This weekend was the first time in "ages" that I spent quietly in my studio with needle and thread. It felt wonderful, and I finished two pieces. Here they are!

(Above: Detail of Priest. Click on image to enlarge.)

Before Christmas I started both Rabbi and Priest. The experience was spiritual....the connection between the two portraits added to the season. Rabbi was done first. It included the words "Waiting for the Messiah". I knew I wanted a Star of David blackwork pattern. Somehow, the need for blackwork continued but the star became the one for Bethlehem, eight points....just like all the stars in early Italian renaissance frescoes set in a sea of ultramarine blue pigment. Hence, the color. As I worked, I realized that both these men are "Waiting for the Messiah"....first or second's not so important. Both these men were also "Called to Serve". In a since, their decisions are very, very similiar. Intuitively, my stitching approach was also similiar. I'm quite pleased with both works.

Yes, I know my "priest" wasn't wearing a fatherly collar. I liked it better this way. Each work in this series is meant to be viewed....straight forwardly....with no value judgments....person to person. The decision is the important thing....not the costume!

I also finished the piece below. It's part of a new series, grave rubbing quilts.

(Above: Grave rubbings, crayon on silk, appliqued on vintage linen guest towel with cutwork. Hand stitched. Words: One Less to Love on Earth. One More to Meet in Heaven; Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his Trust; Thy Blessed Will Be Done.)

I added two little crochet pieces to all stitching. Obviously, I'm still under the influence of all those beautiful kantha clothes I saw while at the Swedish Embroidery Symposium. I really do love the running stitch and little seeding stitches. I should have taken a photo of the back. It's another piece of embroidered vintage linen with a cutwork napkin fashioned into a sleeve for a hanging rod! (Click on images to enlarge.)


Karen said...

All those wonderful stitches!!I love the blackwork, the crochet pieces, running stitches..These have so much to see! Beautiful. You have bounced back to your art with such grace!

Doreen G said...

Susan the grave rubbing piece is wonderful--such detail.

sion said...

oh, I just adore the graverubbing piece with all that lovely stitching and the vintage textiles

Anonymous said...

You did a marvelous exhibition and the inspiration, energetic give-and-take that makes all that work worth it shows in your art.
Your rabbi and priest, the rubbings, the detail of your work - it is beautiful and honest.
Thank you so much for sharing, especially the close-ups of those stitches! The tiny seed stitches are just right for detail in these pieces.
Sincerely, Suzanne G in NC

Caroline Commins said...

Susan, your grave rubbing piece is exquisite. I, too, love the Kantha stitch . . . and what a beautiful touch to add the crocheted pieces. The texture just begs to be touched!

lindacreates said...

Oh these pieces are so so wonderful! I am so inspired by your work. The grave rubbing piece is phenomenal. It must have been wonderful to get back to your art.

Wanda said...

I can't believe I'm seeing Blackwork!!!! Wow...I am speechless!!! You do such beautiful detail work even though you think you don't like it that much!!! I tell anyone and everyone that will listen that I learned everything I know from you and it is true, one way or another. I'm so glad I have you!