Tuesday, August 21, 2012


(Above: Detail of the fringe on the giant, 10' x 18' canopy. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

First of all ... A BIG, BIG, BIG
to everyone who has taken the time to look at my blog posts and the giant canopy and especially to those who left wonderful comments! It truly means the world to me to hear such positive feedback. I've been pretty much working in isolation and depending on the Internet for companionship and support. You've all been wonderful!

(Above: The smaller studio space with the first section of fringe pinned to the wall and the second section on the nearby table.)

Now ... I did manage to pull this feat off in record time and that allowed me to create fringe. Honestly, I didn't think I'd get so far but I did. I also thought I'd never say it but I'm almost completely out of crochet and lace! I did have enough to create fringe for the two 10' ends of the canopy! Love this frilly detail!

(Above: Me on the very big ladder attaching the fringe.)

I guess I could have lowered the canopy, attached the fringe, and re-hoisted it ... but that seemed like lots more effort, risky, and more time consuming than just working on the big ladder. I needed several breaks to move the ladder but also to restore blood circulation to my arms. In the photo above, I'm standing a rung higher than was optimal in order to see where the stitches needed to be placed. The photo was taken with the camera on a tripod and set for a delayed shot ... and I went up a step further than normal. Generally, I stitched from a step lower ... with my arms up! I also basted the extra bridal tulle and netting back along the sides of the canopy ... neatening up the piece.

(The Canopy, 10' x 18' x 12'.)

So now it is complete and really ready for Friday night's reception. I'm now finishing up the sock art quilt which was the public art project here in Galesburg. This morning I spent an hour with KCCDD, an organization serving adults with disabilities. We stitched almost all the extra "mateless" socks to a clothes line that will serve as decoration around the public art quilt this Friday night. (My next post will be on this project ... as soon as I receive the "thumbs up" on photo releases!)

(Above and below: More photos of The Canopy ... complete with fringe. Click on any image to enlarge.)

This morning I also snapped new photos of The Canopy ... complete with fringe. I'm excited and pleased ... and grateful for all the Internet support! THANKS!

Now ... one more thing! The is not really "the end" of the canopy. In a sense, it is the BEGINNING! I view this artwork as the catalyst for other work responding to this, central piece. So ... thank you to those who have taken the time to answer these questions:

What does a canopy mean to you?
Do you have special memories/dreams about a canopy?

Please leave a comment or email me at mouse_house@prodigy.net. I have one of my "foggy visions" of the future work and am sifting through ideas that include all the lace collars that I didn't use in the canopy construction. I "see" them on simple, wire coat hangers with strips of paper/fabric hanging from them ... perhaps in a figurative shape and including paraphrased words collected from all sorts of people, maybe stitched or maybe collaged or maybe a little of both. Vintage anonymous photos might work their way into this idea too ... all for artwork to one day hang on the walls surrounding the canopy. On Friday night there will be a box and index cards for visitors to write their impressions. I'm already saving emails in a special folder. This is just the beginning of something new and meaningful! Thanks!

Below is the statement that is currently hanging in the foyer of The Box ... just a few feet away from The Canopy!

The Canopy

Susan Lenz is very grateful for this opportunity to create a large-scale, fiber artwork during this artist residency. The canopy is larger than Susan’s studio in Columbia, South Carolina. She has been collecting vintage crochet, lace, and household linens for more than a year.

A canopy bed is an iconic symbol from fairy-tales, dreams, childhood, romance novels, historical interiors, and personal furnishings. It means different things to different people. Despite modern technology and changes in advertisements and parenting practices, most little girls in America still dream of a canopy bed … like their mothers did, like their grandmothers did. For some, a canopy bed represents the security of the womb. For others, a canopy bed represents an ideal or a “Happily Ever After” promise for the future. Canopies represent protection but also sexual fulfillment or marital bliss.

Canopy beds are frequently associated with the preciousness of feminine childhood, a concept largely manufactured by an adult society. In it, the idealized girl carries all the dreams for her parents. So, is this magical sleeping arrangement really the child’s desire or is it projected by the hopes of adults? So often, childhood memories are searched as an explanation of adult discontent. How does the fantasy of a canopy bed figure into the loss of happiness?

Personally, Susan is interested in the concept of childhood memories, especially how the canopy bed seems to stay part of little girls’ collective desires through generations. Toys, playtime, hopes for the future, stereotypical gender roles, adult nostalgia, a parent’s vision for an archetype child, and the threads that stitch together fairy-tales are important to this ongoing project.

During the month of August, Susan Lenz’s canopy is meant to stimulate conversation with regards to all possible associations for a canopy bed. Please feel free to share interpretations and stories with her. What does a canopy bed mean to you? Did you want one as a child? Have you ever slept under one? Do you have a special memory about a canopy bed?

Susan Lenz


Ann Hite said...

Love the fringe!

Ann Hite said...

Love the fringe!

Judy Bolton Jarrett said...

You are relentless in your pursuit of the extraordinary, and, by golly, I'd say you GOT IT!! We here in Columbia's art community are SO PROUD of you!!!

Unknown said...

Love this Susan! I have been reading your posts on this work and must say how impressed I am by it all. The size alone would make my needle fingers tremble! It looks absolutely incredible. Great work !!

Silvia Dell'Aere said...

Hi Susan, I'm speechless, your canopy is wonderful and the fringes adds lot to the fairy-tale feeling.
I've never used laces but you made me wanna try to add them to my works :)
Thanks for the inspiration!

Penny Schine Gold said...

Being Jewish, I immediately associated your canopy with a huppah, a wedding canopy under which the bride and groom stand during the ceremony. In fact, I didn't think of a canopy bed at all--not something I have any personal associations with. But maybe a wedding canopy and a canopy bed are not that far apart in association. . .

liniecat said...


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful piece of work. Love the detail and fringe. You're also brave for getting on that ladder too.

~ Jules

Margaret said...


I couldn't help myself; I shared this as a 'Blog This!'. I hope you forgive me; all credit goes to you.


PeregrineBlue said...

OMG Susan, what an amazing idea. I simply love it. what imagination girl.

Wanda said...

It IS very fairy-tale-like. Fantasy. Whimsical. And yet, it can also be very serious, permanent, humbling with the ability to fill one with awe and respect. No, I can't say that I have any special feelings towards canopies. Until now. THIS is definitely leaving a lasting impression and association.