Saturday, July 28, 2018

Lucy Stone, finished!

 (Above:  Lucy Stone, a contemporary, 3D art quilt inspired by the original 19th century daguerreotype of the early suffragist.  Open:  26" x 40"; Closed 26" x 20."  Image transfers on fabric with self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery, hand stitching and beading, trapunto, buttons, metallic and cotton threads, hinges, custom frames, upholstery tacks, recycled black industrial felt, faux-finished watercolor paper and letters clipped from mostly vintage ephemera.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Returning from my five-week art residency at the Rensing Center meant I was also returning to an important project that was left unfinished for all those weeks.  Before leaving, I'd completed the photograph of suffragist Lucy Stone and blogged about it HERE. This portrait occupies only 25% of the total surface area, but it was the most labor intensive and obviously the focal point of the whole.  I was excited to finish the piece but knew it had to "go on hold" until this past week!

 (Above:  The left interior side of Lucy Stone.)

During this week, I collaged the paragraph I wrote onto a heavy piece of watercolor paper.  I faux-finished the paper to resemble orange marble.  This is half of the sheet.  The other half was used for Pandora's Box.  I had all my words written on tracing paper to use as a guide, but sometimes "something bad" happens ... especially when going from the end of one line to another ... especially when the words all start with the same letter.  When this happens, it is easy to accidentally skip and entire word.  So, if you enlarge the image, you will see that I accidentally omitted the word "husband".  (It was supposed to go between "her" and "Henry" ... all words starting with the letter H!) I didn't catch the error until those lines were completely dry.  What's an artist to do?  Like any student forced to longhand write an essay, I just "crammed" the missing word into place ... very small and at the end of the line. My husband Steve found this particularly hilarious and totally appropriate for a suffragist who insisted on using her own surname.  To Steve, "husband" should be especially small in this case. He said it was "conceptually correct".  I'll go with this explanation!

 (Above:  The exterior of Lucy Stone.)

As a work of art, Lucy Stone is meant to resemble the original 19th century daguerreotype owned by the Library of Congress.  Like a real daguerreotype, my work is hinged and the exterior is another image transfer on fabric of an original daguerreotype case.  This image is NOT the original outside of the daguerreotype of Lucy Stone.  That image was not available.  I found many others and settled on this one.  It did require quite a bit of work in Photoshop to make it the correct size.  I free-motion stitched each side with King Tut's beautiful, cotton, variegated Cedars, #983 thread.  Along with Pinecone, #992, these are my very favorite threads.  To be honest, I'm pretty sure I accidentally used a little of both on these two sides.  They are so beautifully subtle that they blend perfectly together.
(Above:  Lucy Stone, exterior, detail of the edge with upholstery tacks and melted felt.)

Another "favorite" thing to do is to attach my work to the frame using assorted upholstery tacks.  The excess substrata of black industrial felt is then melted away using a soldering iron.  The tiny "white" line on the outside of the tacks is where the soldering iron also melted away the black paint I'd applied to the frame.  It adds a nice touch!  I'm so very, very pleased that this piece is finished and ready for Deeds Not Words: The Power of Persistence, Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage, an exhibition being curated and organized for a national tour by Sandra Sider and Pam Weeks.


Robbie said...

What a wonderful piece you did. I wasn't familiar with Lucy Stone but certainly know her now!

Margo Duke said...

I have been following you for some time time and your creativity astounds! Although your work is very different from mine, I find it most inspirational!