Monday, September 07, 2009

On Earth A Bud, Grave Rubbing Quilt Series

(On Earth a Bud, Grave Rubbing Quilt Series. Crayon on fabric; vintage lace, linens, and buttons. hand and free motion machine embroidery; beads and artificial flowers from a local cemetery arrangement. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Detail of On Earth a Bud. Click on image to enlarge.)

The rubbings on this piece came from Birmingham, UK; Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA; Colma, California; and Wiscasset, Maine. While working, I think about the various decades and locations from which these gravestones come. It is amazing; we are all connected....all over the world and throughout our common passage from life.

This series, like my epitaph installation and the Angels in Mourning Series, is really about we spend our time on earth and what we leave behind to mark our existence. I'm not trying to focus on DEATH but on LIFE! After all, I turned fifty earlier this summer. I am acutely aware that I have more to create than I have time in which to do it. My art and my children are my legacy. The children are born, grown, and gone.....but the art is still being made and these pieces have a looming deadline: February 4 - 16, 2010 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios is my show: Last Words and The Blues. "The Blues" is ready...and going to Denton, Texas from mid-November through the first week in January. "Last Words" is all these grave rubbing quilt, the epitaph installation, and the angels. I've got an enormous amount of work to do in order to create the desired atmosphere....sacred and full of remembrance with a hint of suggestion for viewers to consider exactly how they might mark their own lives.

(Above: On Earth a Bud, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Quite a lot of this Grave Rubbing Quilt, On Earth a Bud, was stitched in the car last weekend but there was plenty left to do during the week....including the addition of small, artificial flowers. In order to make the entire installation less funereal, I want to have piles of artificial flowers....not any ordinary ones but ones from former cemetery arrangements. The cheery colors will add a touch of "life"....just the sort of "life" I'm looking for....artificial, symbolic, never dying, respectful, and a token of regret....but still quite colorful.

(Above: On Earth a Bud, detail. Click on image to enlarge....especially the small off-white artificial flower parts.)

The back of the quilt is made from a vintage tablecloth and apron.

(Above: Reverse of On Earth a Bud. Click on image to enlarge.) here's a little more information about the artificial flowers! I DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE REMOVE THEM FROM ANYWHERE NEAR A GRAVE! I dumpster dive. Artificial flowers in enormous, construction zone sized dumpsters are clearly discarded and headed to a landfill. These are the ones for me!

I've taken to riding my moped at sunset through the local cemetery...which is about two blocks from the house. This is really just a slight detour on my regular ride home from my studio. There is exactly one trash can on the entire, extremely large grounds. Most of my flowers have come from it. I've been caught in the one big dumpster that is near the office, and the staff is afraid I'll get injured and sue. (As if anyone in their right mind would sue for such an obviously self-inflicted situation!) Yesterday, however, I found another construction-zoned sized dumpster at the very back of the property....out of the way....semi hidden by trees....with plenty of artificial flowers that I could reach without actually climbing into the container! I am so happy! Of course, I dissect the blossoms and carefully wash all the colorful fabric. They lay to dry on our washer and dryer before being stored in new plastic garbage bags.

Yesterday was quite productive....even more than the bonanza of artificial cemetery flowers. I spent the entire day in my studio designing Grave Rubbing Quilts. If I can get all twelve stitched before February, I'll be happy. Many are small....which I need for plane flights, train trips, and riding in the car. Next week I leave for embroidery experience with Annica and my Swedish friends under the famous Sara Lechner. Now that I've got something to stitch while away, I'm guessing I'm ready. I leave packing for the very last moment!

(Above: Twelve Grave Rubbing Quilts....pinned and ready for stitching....outside my studio door. Click on image to enlarge.)


Dawn said...

Your grave rubbings are so unusual and so tastefully and thoughtfully made. And I like the use of the grave flowers. You incorporated just enough to convey the message and not appear garish or artificial. You have such a good eye!

And you're going to Austria? Ohhhhh my! How very cool! I can't even get out of the house, let alone out of the country!

Enjoy! Then think about sharing something with a guest blog on Subversive Stitchers. :)


Chris said...

I love this. Do let me know when you will have a show in the NY, NJ, Pennsylvania area. I would love to go.

Greg said...

I am in awe of your work. I like original art no matter what the medium. I've been thinking about incorporating some of my drawings into a quilt or two, just haven't quite figured out how. Keep up the great work. I look forward to your next post.

Doreen G said...

Goodness Susan that is an awful lot of stitching to be done, but knowing you it will get finished.

Wanda said...

On Earth a Bud is very nice. I see now how you can use the flowers that you go into the dumpsters for. OK...I'm also in awe that you do that. Don't you know that there are BUGS in dumpsters? ha ha

Annica said...

Love this quilt Susan! See you on Friday! :-)


Dumpster Diving?!?! Great Susan, you never cease to amaze me!!!