Saint Anastasia is in her frame and I love her!
Saint Anastasia began as my response to Through Our Hand's upcoming August exhibition at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. The show will feature portraits. I'm very proud to be an affiliate member of this international, invitational group and really wanted to create something special. Well ... Anastasia was certainly special. Last August, Anastasia posed for me and suggested the words for the two side panels. Over autumn days, I altered the image ... combining Anastasia and a Russian icon. Then, I ordered an image transferred to fabric from Spoonflower. Finally, I started the machine stitching on the day Anastasia died ... last December. I've been hand stitching and beading ever since.
I blogged about the work in progress. CLICK HERE to access that early March post ... written the week after Anastasia would have turned fifty years old.
I've kind of felt that Anastasia has been with me since the stitching began. Today, she's probably smiling from heaven. She's ready for the trans-Atlantic trip, but before she goes ... there will be one special night here in Columbia. On Thursday, July 6 Saint Anastasia will be on display at Anastasia & Friends Gallery, 1534 Main Street. That's "First Thursday" in July ... one-night-only ... I'll have a church kneeler, sacred music, LED votive candles, and special triptych in the gallery she ran and loved. It seems only fitting. Everyone is welcome. I have Bohumila Augustinova, Anastasia's close friend and new gallery manager, to thank for this opportunity. Thank you!
Now all I have to do is write a statement for Through Our Hands. How can I put all the emotion, passion, and love into a single paragraph? This is my attempt:
Everyone in Columbia, South Carolina loved Anastasia Chernoff. It was impossible not to love her. Why? Well, Anastasia never said "good-bye". She always said "I love you" ... even to strangers ... even if it made the other person uncomfortable. Anastasia knew it might be her only chance to say these three little words. One can't know what tomorrow might bring. For Anastasia, tomorrow brought cancer. She fought valiantly to the very end, teaching an entire community how to die in the arms of love. She posed for the portrait and suggested the words.
Pray for us Saint Anastasia that we might love one another.
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.