Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sacred, Grave Rubbing Quilt Series

(Sacred, Grave Rubbing Quilt Series. 18" x 31". Crayon on fabric grave rubbing on severely light damaged, old office curtain with an overlay of 19th c. black lace; recycled black felt; vintage buttons. Hand and free motion machine embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Please note the link above! Yesterday I created a blog specifically for this series called "Grave Rubbing Quilts"! As it is growing and becoming part of a full blown installation, it just seemed like a good idea. With any luck, this new blog will become an effective tool to show just this body of work!)

(Detail of Sacred. Click on image to enlarge.)

I made this grave rubbing in the cemetery outside Chester Cathedral in England. The stone was flat on the ground, weathered, and used as part of the public walking area around the building. It dated from the early 19th century (circa 1820) and had the largest and most ornately carved word, "Sacred". Amazingly (and probably because it was flat on the ground!), I got this excellent impression.

(Above and below: Details of Sacred. Click on images to enlarge.)

The words on the gravestone were generally selected by a family member or mourner. They represent a then "present day" statement about a loved one who just became part of "the past". Yet, these words address those who come in "the future" all those who will come once I, too, am part of the past. I love this notion of shifting time....past, present, and future all captured in the words left in a cemetery.

Using recycled and vintage household linens is part of my part to express this notion of time. The aprons, tea towels, pillowcases, buttons, lace, doilies, and recycled material all had a completely different "life" in the "past". I am using them in my "present" and hoping that they will be seen now and also in "the future". (I hope this makes sense!)

(Above: Sacred, reverse. Vintage smock-styled apron. Below: detail of reverse. Click on images to enlarge.)

Anyway, the last Grave Rubbing Quilt I posted received several very nice comments (Thank you all!), including one that praised the front but found the reverse "jarring". Perhaps this really isn't a criticism. It might just be a personal preference. I'm not at all offended; I'm certainly not going to change the concept of using vintage household linens to construct the reverse. Yet, perhaps there's some "quilting guideline" about which I'm unfamiliar. Until my experience in Minnesota, I didn't know to leave a little extra room in the sleeve for the rod. Learning that little tip has been helpful. Maybe this comment is a clue to another useful tip! So, I'm curious. (I did write to the blogger but haven't heard a reply.) Am I doing something here that more experienced art quilters find "jarring" a negative way? Constructive criticism is always welcome....I do want to improve my skills and the overall quality in my work!


lindacreates said...

Maybe the person that wrote the comment about the back being "jarring" was taken back by the linens & aprons. It is unusual, but to me that is a good thing. The quilts represent the past and so do the aprons and linens. I love that these are not the traditional quilts so many are used to. Keep up the great work Susan!

lindacreates said...

I was so engrossed in the "jarring" comment I forgot to tell you about Sacred. This is a stunning quilt in your series. I love the fabrics you are using. I visualize you doing the rubbing and it makes me feel a part of it.

Wanda said...

Wonderful. The details are awesome. Great addition to the series. The backs are so neat...a connection with life.