Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adoption, Decision Portrait

(Above:  Adoption, Decision Portrait.  Stitched words:  I contacted my birth parents.  Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin.  Hand embroidery and beading.  Unframed, 25" x 19"; Framed, 31" x 25".  Click on image to enlarge.)

Caron Mosey is talented.  She's both a quilter and the author of America's Pictorial Quilts (1985, the first book devoted to the subject) and Contemporary Quilts from Traditional Designs (1986).  She's taught quilting all over the nation, published too many articles to list, promotes quilting in her home state of Michigan, and is constantly busy creating her totally outstanding quilts.  She's surrounded by talent too.  Her husband Dean is an extraordinary, fifth generation woodworker whose been in business for himself since 1974.  Please visit Caron's BLOG!

(Above:  Adoption, detail.  Click on image to enlarge.)

One of the most important influences in Caron’s artistic life was her mother.  Caron’s blog includes this passage:  “my mother, who from the age of 16 sewed all of her own clothes… and mine. She sewed curtains, upholstered furniture, and created just about everything she could make using fabric and thread and her Singer Featherweight. She had more talent in her little finger than I will ever have.”

Yet, this is Caron’s adopted mother.  Like many adopted children, Caron sought out her birth parents.....and found them.  This quest was undoubtedly important. 

(Above:  Adoption, detail.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I stitched the piece using a lovely trim bought in Austria while studying with Sara Lechner.  I cut it into individual flower sections.  It just seemed to have the perfect, almost old fashioned beauty of Caron's sepia toned child's photo.  It was also my way to creating something "contemporary" while using something "traditional". 

(Above: Adoption, detail.  Click on image to enlarge.) 

I also must add that this is another portrait that resulted from Dawn Goldsmith's blog post!  Thank you Dawn!


Lynn said...

I love the old with the new. Beautifully stitched. Lovingly made.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I think every one of these decision portraits is great - I do hope you're planning to do a book at some point showing them all? If not, you should!

Warwick family said...

Susan, I love this decision portrait series, and I love this one. BUT, I did have to comment on your choice of words in the accompanying blog text because it makes me think that you didn't quite understand what was being said to you by the subject. In particular, the sentence "Yet, this is Caron’s adopted mother." Why do you qualify this with "yet", as if her adoptive mother was less than her birthmother and we should be surprised that she would have such strong and admiring feelings about her adoptive mother? Both of her mothers are her mothers, there's no simpler way to say it than that - and that's the point for many adoptees.

Susan said...

Dear Mara,
The word "yet" is only a transitional word in this context....a nice little word that hopes to bring flow from one paragraph to the next. Nothing else. I'm sorry you are reading more into it than was meant.

Almost every portrait in this series was shared with the "model" before it was posted on the blog. By this, I mean to say that I sent an email with photo attachments and a "rough draft" for the "statement". This gives the "model" an opportunity to see the work first and make suggestions about the "statement". If the wording had somehow conveyed the incorrect meaning or indicated that I "didn't quite understand what was being said the subject", I think she would have mentioned it.

One of the greatest things about this series....and it is intentionally part of the the fact that all these portraits resonate with viewers differently. You are completely entitled to your opinion, your reactions, your dissatisfaction with my choice of words, and your response to the artwork. You are also totally "right" to think I don't understand what it is to be adopted, what it is to have adopted a child, what it is to have given a child up for adoption, or anything else about the subject. I have no first hand experience. Please know, however, that I mean no harm. Also, the "statement" are just blog posts. They are not going to hang beside each portrait when on view at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston....though I'm hoping to have a binder with a statement for each piece available on a pedestal within the gallery space. Of course, these statements will largely be made up from the blog posts. It is my hope that people seeing the work in the exhibition will have exactly your experience....the ability to view, have a thought-provoking experience, and react. What a person takes from the art is his or her choice.....yet another decision.

I hope you understand.
Thanks for your feedback.

lindacreates said...

This is a beautiful portrait. The beauty inside this woman was definitely drawn out in your portrait. I too would want to find my birth parents. I have no firsthand experience with adoption, but know me and know I would do the same. It truly would be a very personal decision like all of your portraits are!