Monday, December 09, 2019

Franklinton Cemetery, a grave rubbing art quilt

(Above:  Franklinton Cemetery, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt. 17" x 21".  Crayon on silk grave rubbing with both free motion machine and hand stitching, buttons.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I pride myself in finishing almost everything I start, especially if the initial work was done as a demonstration during a workshop.  Yet occasionally, I forget about a piece ... like this grave rubbing which was done this past summer when conducting "Second Life" at QSDS (Quilt and Surface Design Symposium) in Columbus, Ohio.  My entire workshop went on a quick field trip to Franklinton Cemetery.  It was the closest public burial grounds to the Columbus College of Art and Design.  

 (Above:  Franklinton Cemetery, detail.)

Franklinton Cemetery is the the oldest in central Ohio, was largely abandoned in the 1870s, and has been a historical site since May 1964.  There are very few stones left, and those that are there were mostly replacements for older markers.  The angel motif came from one of these new stones. Several older, broken pieces were leaning up against a memorial obelisk.  One included the epitaph ... minus the "L" and the "B" that had been the initial letters in the first two lines.  The 1798 date was quite legible on another broken shard.  The 1898 was not as legible and was probably 1828 ... but still looked like it belonged to some, anonymous person who might have lived one hundred years.

  (Above:  Franklinton Cemetery, detail.)

Everyone in the workshop made a few crayon grave rubbings.  I used the one I made to show how free-motion stitching around the letters and motifs makes the rubbing quite legible ... and how to "draw" the letters that weren't there!

At QSDS the studio space is open 24/7.  I finished all the machine stitching in Columbus but never returned to finish the hand stitched background that I started.  Perhaps this was because I started with a very thin thread and knew I'd need about a million seed stitches to complete the task.  With the end of the year looming, I knew I wanted to finally finish this piece.  I can't continue to claim "finishing" if I don't actually DO IT!
(Above:  Franklinton Cemetery, reverse.)

Perhaps, however, this piece was waiting for something special.  Perhaps it was waiting for two, delicate lace pieces to be donated to my stash by Ann Scott.  I have always used vintage and antique textiles to create unique backs and rod sleeves for my grave rubbing art quilts.  This one included a green-and-white card table sized cloth, two floral appliqued doilies, and the two pieces of lace.  Thank you, Ann!


Ann Scott said...

I have always been fascinated with graveyards. You bringing them into the art quilt and mixed media world is a real treat. So happy you found a use for pieces I sent.

Duchess Froufrou said...

What do you use for the rubbing? Traditional headstone rubbing wax? Thanks.

Susan Lenz said...

To Duchess Froufrou!
I use the side of an ordinary crayon. Crayola Chunkies are my favorite because they are thicker. It only takes about one pass of the crayon over the fabric. Once in place, I iron the rubbing which dissipates the excess wax of the crayon ... leaving only the pigment stained into the fabric. It's quick, fun, and easy to do!