Monday, August 02, 2010

Fighting Illiteracy, Decision Portrait

(Above: Fighting Illiteracy. Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: Learn to Read at Any Age; I teach; I learn; We did it! So can you! Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand stitched. 25" x 31" unframed; 31" x 37" framed. Click on image to enlarge.)

Judy S. is a passionate fiber artist who has volunteered her time and generous patience since the 1980s to fighting illiteracy by helping people learn to read. Sure.....Judy is an advocate for reading to and teaching children. Yet, she doesn't stop there. She tirelessly teaches adults too.

It takes a lot of courage to admit an inability to read. It takes a brave, mature adult to seek help with literacy. It is an act of faith to trust a fiber artist to depict this choice in stitches. I am truly honored to have been given this opportunity to create this Decision Portrait.

(Above: Fighting Illiteracy, Decision Portrait. Detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

This is a story of two equally important decisions. There's the decision to teach and the decision to learn. Together, illiteracy is fought.

(Above: Fighting Illiteracy, Decision Portrait. Detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Judy provided an important link to ProLiteracy for additional resources. She also suggested two very interesting books: The Teacher Who Couldn't Read and Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey through the 20th Century and How He Learned to Read at Age 98.

(Above: Fighting Illiteracy, Decision Portrait. Detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Serendipity played a part in this portrait too. Just when I was about to select threads and yarns for the piece, my friend Kim Bendillo stopped by my studio and gave me a sample of Plymouth Yarn's Fantasy Naturale 9995. It is beautiful and also perfect for this piece. The color-wave suggests gentle change, warmth, and is interesting! Thanks Kim!

(Above: Plymouth Yarn, Fantasy Naturale 9995. Click on image to enlarge.)

Also, I just happened to be stitching on this piece when interviewed for a segment of "The Big Picture", program on eTV (Educational Television!) I'm not quite sure when it will air (although I'm told it is shown three times!)....but I've been promised an update when it is scheduled. The show is featuring the entire Decision Portrait Series and my upcoming show at City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, September 10 - October 10!

By the way....Like Judy, issues of illiteracy are a special passion for me. I've created two related artworks prior to this portrait. One is an altered book called Imagine Illiteracy. CLICK HERE for a link to a slide show!


lindacreates said...

This is a beautiful portrait Susan. What a lovely lady to commit herself to this worthy cause. What a strong person to admit you cannot read and want to learn. Thank you again for all of the awareness you create. Congratulations on your new show and your TV interview!

Anonymous said...

Susan, You are always creating beautiful things--many of which are derived from 'found' objects. I'm so happy you gave my 'little bit' of yarn such an important task! ;)
This beautiful piece reminds us of one of the many privileges we take for granted.
What an incredible project this is!

IDESIGN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.