Thursday, August 05, 2010

Public Servant, Decision Portrait Series


(Above: Public Servant, Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: I ran for office and won! Mayor 2008 - 10. Hand embroidery and beading. 25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed. Click on image to enlarge.)

I didn't really start quilting until after I picked up Jeanne Williamson's book The Uncommon Quilter while at the MacNamara artist residency program in Maine during the fall of 2008. There was a mention of making a grave rubbing on fabric. I started my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series then.

Yet, this isn't quite the complete truth.

I was already quilting. I just didn't realize it until I came to Maine. My Decision Portraits ARE quilts....three layers.....held together with stitch. Thankfully, I was told this "art quilt" definition!


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

Little by little, I started learning about art quilts, art quilt organizations like SAQA, and about MECCA, otherwise known as the International Quilt Festival in Houston....and elsewhere. (One
day....I'm going to MECCA!) Along the way, I saw the name: Karey Bresenhan, founder and president of Quilts, Inc. ... the organization that puts on these wildly exciting events.


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

So....imagine....me opening my email's "in box" and seeing a message from Karey Bresenhan about my Decision Portrait Series...volunteering for a decision!

Nervously, I typed a reply. Together we worked toward this portrait....with help from Teresa, her personal assistant. Running for office and serving the public is a BIG decision full of serious responsibilities. I wanted a non-career politician, someone who was passionate enough to serve
selflessly. This portrait couldn't be more PERFECT. The best way to articulate this decision is by sharing Karey's email:

I am an example of a public servant. After organizing my very small city
(1200 homes) to fight the secret purchase of one of our beautiful homes to
be converted to a hugely expensive City Hall (next door to me!), I agreed to
run for Mayor in the next election and serve one term. I won this unpaid
position with a big margin and spent the next two years dealing with garbage
and recycling issues, preventing our homes from flooding, managing our
recovery from a massive hurricane that destroyed half our city's trees,
developing a master plan to prioritize new drainage projects, starting
mobility projects to improve our streets and roads, keeping property taxes
stable without increases, re-establishing the concept of open and
transparent government, simplifying permitting procedures for new
construction or remodeling, hiring a new city administrator, mediating staff
disagreements, developing good relations with mayors of neighboring cities
to encourage regional cooperation, and so much more. At the same time, I
also continued to work as the full-time CEO at my own company, Quilts, Inc.,
which runs big quilt shows all over the U.S. Would I do it again? Probably
not, now that I know first-hand how much time is involved in being a public
servant. Do I regret it? Not for a split second!


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

Stitching this piece was easy. What better colors than RED, WHITE, and BLUE. I added sequins and beads for sparkle. I hope Karey likes it! I'm still in awe.....this iconic woman in the quilt world trusted me, only two years into quilting, to stitch her portrait!

(PS.....I share each portrait with the "model" before posting here on my blog....and...KAREY LIKES IT!)

2 comments:

Connie said...

Exciting as always. Have a great show opening this week. I'll be in Houston in Nov. as I have a collaboration piece in Tactile Architecture. A box for you is going in the mail today.

lindacreates said...

What a thrill for you Susan! This is a great portrait, and I love the story behind it. You truly are one of the best quilters I have ever met!
The best to you on your show.