Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Love, A Grave Rubbing Art Quilt and images from the Ognassanti Church in Florence

(Above:  Love, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt. 12" x 12".  Crayon on fabric combined with vintage household linens, lace, and buttons and beads.  Self-guided, free-motion machine stitching with dense hand embroidery.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Every autumn SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) holds an international, on-line auction to raise money for their exhibition and outreach programs.  I've benefited from these opportunities and contributed for several years.  Each piece is 12" x 12".  I finished this piece right before traveling to Italy but without time to photograph and send it.  It will go in the mail tomorrow.  For more information about the upcoming auction, CLICK HERE

(Above:  Love, detail.)

This piece came together after finding three different little birds in my stash of grave rubbings.  They were made at different times and are on different materials.  It was a challenge to put them together and find snippets of other rubbings, pieces of lace, and a napkin the right size.  I think there's at least one stitch to every quarter-square-inch.  I like the handwork.

(Above: Love, detail.)

This is the first time I didn't use buttons completely around the edge.  Sure, I have LOTS of buttons but the details just didn't seem right for a complete border of them.  Mentioning buttons, I have a big announcement to make!  I was accepted for a two-week art residency at Homestead National Park in Nebraska!  I'm going in July.  My proposal was to use this "gift of time" to finally "do something" with my collection of buttons.  Some might say I "collect" buttons.  The truth is, I amass them.  It is high time I use them and this is a great opportunity to do just that!  I'm excited!

(Above:  Love, reverse.)

Love is a little skewed.  This sometimes happens when stitching so densely by hand.  I don't mind.  I sort of like the slight imperfection, the result of so much handling, the touch of it, the human "making" ... handwork!  I also like the back to be unique.  It is another place for me to put a cherished piece of vintage textiles.  I can't save all the old doilies and all the old lace and all the buttons, but I try!

(Above:  One of the side altars at the Chiesa di Ognassanti in Florence.)

There are simply too many beautiful works of textile arts that need love and care or some revitalization or new purpose.  Many people tell me that it is difficult to find wooden thread spools and antique christening gowns and hand-stitched table runners.  I don't agree.  Once one starts looking, they are EVERYWHERE and collecting/using/saving them for some future use alsmost becomes overwhelming.  My stash is enormous but I continue to "rescue" more.  I think the members of the Ognassanti Church in Florence understand.

(Above:  Detail of the embroidered altar frontispiece.)

First of all, I am still trying to sort through the 2000 images I shot while visiting Florence, Italy a little over a week ago.  There is no earthly way that I am going to be able to write a single blog post about the experience ... especially not in some chronological order.  I've decided that I'll simply share some of the things I saw and thought through coming blog posts.  I'll sprinkle them out, here and there ... like these images from the Ognassanti Church.  This frontispiece was not near the location of Botticelli's grave.  It was not in the left transept where the recently restored Crucifixion attributed to Giotto hangs or near the high altar where Giotto's Madonna and Child masterpiece (now in the Uffizi) once hung.  Nope.  This altar isn't in the tour books.  It is just one people walk by ... except it stopped me dead in my tracks.

No one cared that I was on my hands and knees taking pictures or peering behind the piece for a shot of the reverse.  There was no sign or label of any kind.  The piece is in rather poor condition ... but it was obviously once a fabulous piece of needlework!

I didn't touch it.  I don't think it was attached to anything ... just leaning there in all its former glory ... something for me to appreciate.

I couldn't help but to wonder about the women who stitched it and the current congregation that is responsible for so many wonderful works of art under the same roof.  How does a group decide what to save?  How much would it cost to restore everything in just this one church?

Seeing this altar frontispiece was bittersweet.  It was a reminder that everything can't be saved.  It is simply my job to "make" and leave the results to whatever the future brings.

1 comment:

Gabriela said...

Fantastic! I am going to join in that great cause!