Monday, October 31, 2011

Grave Rubbing in the Circular Churchyard

(Above: A composite crayon-on-silk grave rubbing. I used two different markers. Click on image to enlarge.)

There's no place on earth that I'd rather be on Halloween/All Saint's Day weekend than in a graveyard creating crayon-on-fabric rubbings! That's exactly how I spent this past Saturday. Rising at 5:45 AM, I drove through light rain all the way to Charleston ... with fingers crossed that the weather would improve during the coming hours. IT DID!

(Above: Carolyn Thiedke, the Circular Churchyard, and grave rubbing supplies. Click on image to enlarge.)

I met Carolyn Thiedke, a long time church member and quilter, at 8:30 AM. We toured the unique sanctuary ... Circular Congregational Church. It is one of the oldest, continuously worshiping congregations in the South, dating to 1681. (The current building was finished in 1891.) The churchyard is Charleston's oldest, with unmarked graves dating to1695 and the earliest inscribed stone from 1729.

(Above: The start of my collage of grave rubbings in front of some of the rare 18th century medallion portrait markers. There are more of these unusual slate stones in this graveyard than anywhere else in the country! Click on image to enlarge.)

Most of the downtown Charleston churchyards have signs posted forbidding grave rubbings. Carolyn, however, secured permission for me ... in writing ... which I had "on display" for the many tourists who came and went all day long ... often snapping photos of me at work! I cannot truly express my thanks in mere words, so I'll keep Carolyn informed while working on these future art quilts.

(Above: Collage of grave rubbings on silk made from dozens and dozens of markers in the Circular Churchyard. Click on image to enlarge.)

My first task was to create one, large "future whole cloth art quilt". I started at around 9:30 AM and finished it around 2 PM. I am excited to pin it to recycled felt, baste it, and free motion machine the entire surface.

(Above: Individual grave rubbings and two "composites" ... made combining two stones into one "unit" ... these are the "top" and "bottom" ones on this panel of silk. Click on image to enlarge.)

From 2 PM until just after 4 PM, I used another piece of silk and recreated these individual and composite rubbings. All in all, I used more than half the ten yards of silk I bought at Forest Lake Fabric. Now ... time to stitch! Happy Halloween!


Elizabeth said...

I see millions and millions od stitches ahead! have a blast- looks terrific so far!!

Els said...

Ha, when I looked at the photos (I always do that first) I asked myself if there were ever people asking you WHAT in Heaven's name you were doing ...... !
Then I started reading ;-) and I had my answer !
Good use of All Saint's Day !

Bee said...

I hope you will share your work in progress! I would love to see how this turns out! I have never done grave rubbings on silk. It is fascinating!

Jeannie said...

Outstanding!!! I love cemeteries, especially the older ones. I look forward to seeing the progress on your artwork. What a wonderful day you had.

Lynn said...

I cannot pass by a cemetary any more without thinking of you and if someone is with me I tell them what you do in them. (I think I owe you an email...have been so busy with projects...will catch up soon.)

Pat said...

Amazing iconography, Susan. You gained access to a treasure. Can't wait to see the pieces you create from these rubbings.