This newly completed piece is one I began earlier this month in a “Second Chances” class with Susan Lenz in Tifton, Ga. Susan’s work with textiles takes on many forms, but in this class, we worked with grave rubbings and vintage linens to rescue memories and bits of fiber that might otherwise be lost.
When asked why she focuses on “death”, her answer is, “I don’t. I’m interested in life…how to best spend what time is left. … I focus on leaving a lasting mark…the words, life, and art that remain.” A link to her website and more details of her work can be found here.
In this class, participants only brought needle and thread and worked with Susan’s materials. We took a trip to a local cemetery to create our own grave rubbings, but were also given the option of including some rubbings Susan had made in the past. That is the source of the Mourning Dove in my piece.
The dove’s image is on dupioni silk, the background fabric is synthetic. The ruffle is from a cotton pillow sham, the black lace a remnant in the bin of fabrics. The dove is stitched with hand-guided, free motion quilting on a sewing machine. All the other stitches and beading are done by hand. Some beads came from Susan’s bins, others were supplemented from my supplies once the class was done.
The quilt back is a piece of a tattered silk log cabin quilt I found a few months ago in an antique store. The label is a linen piece I bought from some other antiquing trip. I’ve been rescuing such treasures for a long time, but only when I became acquainted with Susan’s work was I daring enough to cut them apart and use them fearlessly.
I wrote a bit about this workshop in an earlier post, here. A significant portion of class time was spent discussing our motivation for working with textiles, our connection with others, and the legacy we might leave behind with our work. There was an emphasis on our stream of consciousness writings where we examined our goals and stories waiting to be told. This piece will constantly remind me of the progress I’ve made and the goals I’ve set forth to continue sharing my stories in cloth.