Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Death of Desire and two forgotten pieces!

(Above: Death of Desire. Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series. 27 1/2" x 40 1/2". Crayon on silk grave rubbing with vintage and used buttons. Hand and free-motion machine embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

I've been working on this piece, off and on, for over two months. The design area is free-motion embroidered using my favorite King Tut thread (#983, Cedar) which I now purchase by the 2000 yard spool. The area surrounding the design is densely stitched with "seeding fill stitches" (tiny, randomly placed straight stitches meant to create texture).

(Above: Death of Desire, detail. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Generally one would stitch the center and gradually work toward the edges. Why? Because the stitching makes the layers shrink up a bit. To stitch the outside first creates a "bubble" of "extra material" that might not lie flat when stitched later. This is a really good "rule" to follow.

Of course, (stupidly) I didn't do it this way. I just started the hand work when I needed "something" to stitch during the evenings. I meant to do the free-motion work before getting too far along on the background ... but it just didn't happen. Naturally, the "bubble" of extra fabric was created. I thought I'd ruined the entire piece ... but carefully ... very, very carefully ... I managed to stitch by machine densely enough to shrink the "inside" until it "fit" back flat into the "outside". (It helped that I had basted the piece with long running stitches every four inches in both directions.)

(Above: Death of Desire, detail.)

So I managed to bring back this art quilt from the verge of a disaster of my own making. I'm really pleased (and relieved!) with the results. The grave rubbing comes from my very favorite marker in Charleston's Circular Churchyard. The name of the woman buried under it is Desire Peronneau. She died in 1740. I made the rubbing last Halloween weekend.

(Above: Death of Desire, reverse.)

The reverse of the art quilt is made from vintage household linens including a piece of a large damask tablecloth, two monogrammed place mats, a yellow bun warmer, and a small piece with shadow embroidery. I added my signature, date and the information about the gravestone. The sleeve for a hanging rod was once a lacy table runner.

(Above: Grave marker for Desire Peronneau in the Circular Churchyard in Charleston.)

This is a photo of the actual grave. I'm very fortunate to have been granted permission to make crayon-on-fabric rubbings in this location. There are signs posted prohibiting this activity. For the art quilt, I used another gravestone's motif (another winged skull/angel) below the words "Here Lyes Buried the Body". If fact, I used it twice ... side by side. One of the great things about making a crayon rubbing on fabric is the easy ability to alter the placement of motifs. The word "Body" is actually on the left side of the stone. I put it in the middle of the quilt ... because I rarely like to include a person's name on my quilt. I like the "universal" associations that come with eliminating a specific person's identity.

(Above: Death of Desire, a SAQA art quilt donation. 12" x 12".)

I've actually made more than one rubbing from this grave. The central motif was used for my SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) 2012 auction donation. (It is posted HERE on the SAQA website ... scroll down ... it's on the right about two-thirds down!) The auction starts in September. The price of the available works drops every day until almost everything is sold!

(Above: Invitation to Textiles in a Tube 2)

Generally, I'm pretty good about blogging all my latest creations. Yet, two pieces sort of "slipped away". Perhaps this is because I made them especially for a juried show opportunity. I generally don't work toward a exhibition theme. Instead, I look for shows that either have "open entries" or have selected a theme that is right for the work I'm already making.

(Above: Five.)

Textiles in a Tube 2, however, is a juried show occurring in my home state. They had a "big name" juror last year ... Terry Jarrard-Dimond. I wanted to meet her. I entered the show, had two pieces accepted, but then couldn't get to the reception. (I did win third place!) Later, I got to see the exhibit. It was wonderful! Everything had to fit inside a standard 36" mailing tube to qualify. I thought this was very clever.

(Above: Wall of Keys.)

So, this year the juror is another "big name", Kathleen Loomis, and I wanted to meet her too. I created two pieces to enter. Five was accepted. The Wall of Keys wasn't. The opening is tomorrow night but I'll be at my own solo show opening in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Maybe next year I'll get to meet "someone" with a "big reputation"!

(Above: Wall of Keys, detail.)

These keys are different from those I made last spring. Instead of collaging letters clipped from vintage sheet music and magazines, I free-motion machine stitched the words onto ultra-suede, fused cotton material to the back (covering the back of the stitching), and cut the tags out. The cord is all made by zigzag stitching over assorted yarns.

(Above: The original Wall of Keys.)

Now my studio has the original 1200+ tagged keys hanging on one large wall ... and the collection of stitched, tagged keys on another wall. I really must stop this before I'm totally surrounded by keys!


Lynn Cohen said...

Congrats on the entry to the juried show. Keys should have gotten in too!!!! I love your keys with tags, of which I am proud owner of one!
I got three of five pieces into our local juried show. REception this Saturday night! Excited. As two of the three are small fabric art quilts!!!! Would you believe that?! The third is a photo on canvas. Watercolors got one judge vote each but not the two-3 needed to get in the show. Well, that's why I enter so many to make the odds more in my favor!!!

How cool that you got permission to get those wonderful rubbings off the grave stones!

Gayle said...

I love the keys, both types. I don't think you will quit making them, I think you will just think up a different variation :)

Elizabeth said...

Your Death Of Desire is Magnificent!! I would have given up if I had found myself in your predicament_ Brava to you to stitching yourself out of it!! I will stash that tip away in my brain (better write it down also!!) Two openings in one night! So thrilled that you will be with us here in Fredericksburg. We are so lucky to HAve YOU!!!!

lindacreates said...

Congratulations Susan! Your work is magnificent and you are setting the fiber art world on fire! I couldn't be more proud to say I know you and that you have stitched me! You are an amazingly talented lady.