Thursday, March 11

Stitch and Surface Self-portrait Exhibit

I believe the final act in the process of creation is sharing your work with an audience. So I've taken advantage of Fleisher's Hallway Exhibit opportunity to display my Stitch and Surface Students' Self Portrait works.The images in this exhibit grew out of a self-portraiture project that started with an in-depth personal interview between pairs of students. By asking questions such as "What does your name mean?" and "Tell me a story from any time in your life when you were the hero/ine?," students developed a greater context and narrative to inspire their projects and broaden their understanding of "self-portraiture". The resulting stitched works have a deeper emotional impact than a traditional look-in-the-mirror-and draw-yourself self-portrait.The students in this grouping were ambitious and experimental in their use of materials, and this reflects how they each might carry embroidery skills into their personal work.
Frances Schatz -mixed media, found objects, and embroidery on canvas-mounted paper
Frances painted her portrait on paper from a photo, stitched hair and sweater details, collaged elements in the background, and included real earrings. Some of the imagery was inspired by a recent trip to New Orleans. She's my queen of mixed media!
Lynn Ellen Wolf -embroidery and applique on vintage baby dress
Lynn Ellen took her inspiration from Thoreau's Walden- Making the earth say beans instead of grass. Lynn Ellen works in my neighborhood city farm, Greensgrow, where they miraculously make things grow in the urban environment. Her vintage baby dress includes images from the life-cycle of the bean, and her use of the vintage clothing connects her past and present as well as represents her interest in sewing.
Virginia MacCallum- photograph, applique, embroidery
Virginia's piece is an interesting combination of embroidery and photography, blending together her multiple inspirations and exploring her interest in book arts. Although not a traditional book form, her sequencing of imagery reads like a book, and I'm caught in the mystery of how the landscape/Paul Klee art inspiration and the Woodman photograph must relate to her personality.
Kim Kearns- embroidery on digital print on fabric mounted in box
Kim experimented with digital printing and used embroidery to elaborate the iris and eyelash details. When she brought this in I suggested it recalled the "lover's eye" miniatures, and so she mounted the embroidery in a box. I'm just now noticing that there is a cat on the box, which I recall from her interview was her favorite animal... so we have the window to her soul and her familiar.
Casey Jones- fabric paint, applique, found objects, beading, embroidery
Casey's self-portrait is a wonderful combination of media and embellishments and reflects a great deal of the interview-generated content. She is a lovely and earthy young woman as represented by the earth, wind, and water elements of her composition.
Anna Lockhart- permanent marker, applique, and embroidery
Anna's piece is the most emotionally raw image in the group. She works very intuitively, and her use of materials, texture, and line quality all carry the force of the phrase "I'm so sorry". The details in the lungs are especially complex.

I'm really proud of how far my students this semester are pushing their boundaries. So often in traditional art classes we teach the artistic discipline tools of the trade, but forget that artmaking is a means of personal expression and students may need encouragement to make their artworks meaningful expressions of their lives and experiences.

If you are in the area, this exhibit will be up for the next week on the 2nd floor hallway at Fleisher Art Memorial, 7th and Catharine Streets. Registration for Spring Classes is now open!


  1. These are really wonderful, such variety. Something about a hand held needle and thread that enables such careful and personal expression. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Karen! Hope you're doing well. I always mention your shop to my students!