Thursday, November 18

Stitch and Surface Finale

Yesterday was the last day for my adult classes at Fleisher, and I thought I'd share some of my students fabulous work! It means a lot to me that there's such diversity in response to the projects I offer- meaning that they are not prescriptive, but generative in nature. I want my students to gain confidence in their own abilities to design and create works in fiber. So here we go:
 Betsy started off meticulously in this incredibly detailed yet tiny sampler piece (shown actial size here I believe). I didn't notice until just now seeing the image below in juxtaposition, but she has a strong and definite color sense. The piece below was in response to our map project, and is caught in progress. I can tell she was really opening and loosening up to experiment after her tight sampler project. I think it's very healthy for artists to experiment with modalities of process- controlled vs. spontaneous, monochrome vs multicolored, large vs small. It creates new possibilities.

 Fran has joined me for several sessions now. She's been taking cues from my project offerings, but she's really starting to use the class as studio time to develop her own work. Above is her blackwork project, which she has livened up with some surface painting and colored stitching. I love the expressiveness of her black mark in the tree trunk. Below is the beginnings of her map project. She usually places and pins everything down before basting and then stitching. She's becoming more selective in how her materials add to the meaning of a piece- note the fleur de lys ribbon and how that adds to this representation of a trip to New Orleans.
 Below is Gail's work in progress. She has an elegant minimalist approach to her work and a natural feel for materials. Below is handwoven steel core thread fragment appliqued over handmade Japanese paper affixed to taupe linen. She's started stitching her daily path across the "bridge", and I hope she'll share a picture when it's complete. I love the scroll-like abstraction of the landscape.
 Linda transformed the blackwork project. Inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night", she transferred the outlines onto black aida cloth and has been experimenting with a wide variety of stitches and colors. Some applique and shisha work as well as some woven wheels make the explosive stars, while the wind swoops by in patterns. The village houses are needlewoven, and I'm not sure yet how the Cypress trees will be completed. This piece makes me wonder how pared down one can take an iconic image and still hold on to its essence. Starry Night is sort of like the Mona Lisa in its ubiquity (see, it doesn't really need the quotation marks even!)- but this is definitely an intriguing and unique interpretation.
 Finally we come to Megan, who impressed us all with her incredible "stash" and craftsmanship. For her quote sampler in progress below, she took a quote from an 18th century gossip column stating "Women are armed with fans as Men with swords and sometimes do more execution with them". She makes working with metallics and rayon threads look easy. I'm very pleased with how the form and content of this piece became unified.
 The Piece de Resistance is Megan's blackwork sampler:
 It's a fabulous exploration of the transitions of patterns with an organic growth of composition. The only hard part was knowing when to stop! It includes some goldwork and pearl beads to add to its opulence.
Now I take a well-earned breather from teaching duties to focus on paper writing... which no, I still haven't really started.


  1. I feel as if I've had a class session myself after looking at these works. Thank you for the

  2. Wonderful pieces -- the students are very fortunate to have you as a teacher and you are very fortunate to be able to help them along their art journey and enjoy their progress.

  3. Thanks Patty and Penny! I do take joy in sharing my craft with others-part of the reason I write this blog!

  4. I hope your students are aglow with your critiques of their work. The comments were astute and the vocabulary was elegant. MOM

  5. Haha! I'm a walking thesaurus, Mom!

  6. These are lovely! How inspiring and wonderful that you elicited such strong work from your students. I hope they keep going.

  7. Just wanted to say a belated thank you for all the kind words about my pieces! Your class was so much fun, and it really inspired me to try new techniques and concentrate more on my design process. I look forward to working with you again in the future :)


  8. my pleasure Megan! I hope you'll continue stitching!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Megan designed it by looking at existing Blackwork fill patterns in an embroidery dictionary and filling in the circle of her hoop as she went without any predetermined plan.

    2. Megan designed it by looking at existing Blackwork fill patterns in an embroidery dictionary and filling in the circle of her hoop as she went without any predetermined plan.

  10. Well, it's gorgeous! Im just in awe.