Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends

(Above: View through nine epitaph banners hanging in my residency studio. Click on image to enlarge ... especially to see just how incredibly sheer these banners are!)

Although I truly thought about starting a new "In Box" or faux-stained glass fiber piece, I had to come to the realization that my time in Hot Springs National Park is quickly coming to an end (plus my adorable husband Steve is flying in tomorrow for two days of fun before driving me home!) So, yesterday was time to turn my attention to finishing projects which were already in production ... like my epitaph banners on the sheerest material I've ever used.

On an earlier blog post, I wrote: " ... each one takes about three hours from start to finish ... I can get one done before lunch." Something was wrong though. It was taking much, much longer! For a while, it just didn't make sense.

(Above: Decision banners hanging in last year's "Personal Grounds" exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina. To read more about this show, click HERE.)

Then I realized that I "timed myself" last year when creating the 43 "Decision Banners" for my show at City Gallery at Waterfront Park. "Decisions" could be written in a line or two. I free motion "wrote" hundreds of lines like: Should I wear the red shirt or the blue one? Should I tell him I'm pregnant? Do you want fries with that?

(Above: Nine epitaph banners hanging in my residency studio. Click on image to enlarge.)

Some epitaphs are short ... but most of the really, really good ones are at least three to six lines of my stitching! How can I resist ten lines about a girl who died saving her child after their clothing caught fire or a Barbican fisherman described as "Big, brave, bold, bald and some times bloody difficult" or a man killed by Apache Indians while "battling for the right"? It takes a lot more time for an epitaph banner just because there's lots more words to stitch! I finished all nine banners that I brought ... but each one took a minimum of four and a half hours ... some took almost six. I stitched the last one today instead of starting something new!

I did, however, whip up ten sympathy cards using the extra paper from my art books and some of the photos of my cemetery angels. Now, I'm working on Anonymous ... though, I admit it, I did lay out a new Grave Rubbing Art Quilt ... one using a rubbing from one Hot Springs' cemeteries. It will be called The Mistral. How could I resist these words, "I've told my last joke".


Els said...

Love the sheers hanging there like a mist over an early morning grave yard...
There are life stories shortened to an epitaph ... great way to tell the story of life in this way Susan.
(and good discipline to finish all this and not start something new, when ideas are bubbling up : ofcourse while you're at the hot water springs ;-) !!!)
Have some nice holidays with your man!

Anonymous said...

So looking forward to reading all your new sheers. I like Els comment of "ideas bubbling up". Linda of the Lake

Wanda said...

Wonderful work. I need to see these in person! I also want to know every single word on them. I think that you are on the way home now. Or maybe you are already there. I sure loved going on this adventure for you and look forward to pictures, tales and, well, everything from this trip!

wholly jeanne said...

I hope you'll get this a year later . . . this sheer fabric, did you stitch by hand or machine? Any tips/tricks you'd pass along? I have an installation piece I'm about to begin working on - 2 actually. One uses tulle, the other, I'm not sure yet, but sheer. Very, very sheer. And I'm just wondering about the stitching because I'm always a wee bit concerned about the backside. (My "wrong side" is not the neatest I've ever seen.) Looking forward to seeing some of your work in person one day. I'm in NC, so . . .