Monday, July 12, 2010

Leukemia Decision, Decision Portrait Series

(Above:  Leukemia Decision, Decision Portrait Series.  Stitched words:  I refused further treatment, 1937 - 2008.  Xylene photo transfer on tea stained muslin.  Hand embroidery and beading.  Unframed:  25" x 19"; framed 31" x 25". Click on image to enlarge.)

Blogging is a wonderful experience.  It connects and touches people in faraway places.  It allows us to share our creations with the entire world.  It brings people together.  Susan Elliott and my sister Wanda were following one another's blogging activities and needlework.  Their Internet friendship put Susan in touch with me.  She found my Decision Portrait Series compelling, especially the decision made by my blogging buddy Linda Lynch.  Linda is winning the war against ovarian cancer.  Linda endured the most aggressive treatment.

Susan Elliott immediately understood my devotion to showing these decisions in a straight-forward, honest way.  There is no value judgment being made, just the depiction of a decision.  She understood that what is "right" for one person isn't necessarily "right" for others.  She knew this because her mother decided NOT to endure the most aggressive treatment for leukemia but to spend the last nine months of her life outside of a hospital.  She decided to be at home with her family.  This decision took courage and bravery.  Susan knew I'd want to stitch this portrait because it brings a unique sense of balance to the series.  It does.

(Above:  Leukemia Decision, Decision Portrait Series.  Detail.  Click on image to enlarge.)

Susan posted the "original" photo on her blog when recently writing about her mother's participation in the Decision Portrait Series.  That post, with lots more information and family images, is HERE.  I selected the mirror backed, faceted 8 mm and 10 mm beads to surround the portrait.  They sparkle and catch light brilliantly and are meant to reflect the sparkle in Susan's mother's piercing eyes.  It's nearly impossible to capture the sheen and reflection in photography, but these little "gems" really gleam.


Denise Felton said...

Thank you for including Susan's mom in your portrait series. I was so touched by Susan's post about her mom's decision, and her own decision to contact you. The final portrait perfectly portrays the beauty and self-determination of this remarkable woman.

Each day I look forward to seeing what your blog will bring me. I am astonished over and over again at your creativity and productivity. How in the world do you produce so much work? And with so much meaning. I still haven't recovered from Blues Chapel!

Thank you for everything you do in the stitch world and the blog world.


Susan said...

Thank you for your wonderful comments! I'm often asked how I manage to produce as much work as I do. Here's most of the answer in a nutshell:
1) I follow my heart and my soul and the great advise found in Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way"
2) No matter what happens, I go to my studio and make least 38.5 hours a week. I actually tracked it using old employee time cards. Sure, my art isn't making enough to pay the bills (though I'm not running in "the red") but the hours are what makes an artist FULL TIME....not the money. I'm a FULL TIME ARTIST
3) I had to give up reading other people's blogs....sorry....but it is true. I also work a full time job, so something had to give.
4) I have the greatest husband....who does all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, bill paying, etc....because he knows it is the only way for me to work two full time jobs! He's currently working on a list for future exhibition proposals. He keeps my "head screwed on correctly".
5) I'm by nature a multi-tasker and I never waste a moment if I can help it. Hence, we'll already planning things for 2011 and beyond.
6) I have an artistic mentor who works in an entirely different medium....oil painting...which brings another dimension to my outlook and art. He has been self-supporting for over 25 years and his advise is GOLDEN. He subtly lets me know that I CAN DO THIS!
7) My studio is NOT in my home. It is away from the Internet, my home, my job, and all other distractions. When I'm making art....that's what I'm doing and only this!
8) My studio is in a cooperative artist setting with no other fiber artists. This provides insights to how I fit into the larger world of art.
9) I type fast....Thanks to my parents' insistence on have a "fall back" career plan!

verobirdie said...

This is a beautiful portrait, and all who know Susan know how much it must represent to her.

Btw, I never realized you were Wanda's sister... that is until today :-)

Susan said...

I should have added one more thing to my list!
10) I resist the urge to "try new techniques/ideas/products" until my mind has really wrapped itself around the potential possibilities and has a grasp on how something "new" might improve/add to/enhance whatever I am already doing. This filters out random work and keeps me going with a nice flow, cohesive series, and makes me focus on CONCEPT instead some "cool" thing. I get excited by new ideas....ways to communicate through my art...and rarely find the need to go "shopping" for products or ideas.