One photo shows the stitches close up. I am fascinated with Sashiko, a Japanese backstitch style, but I have adapted it to my style. Tradition is good, but Bessesdotter employs non-traditional work because there is a deeper feeling of self expression that makes the art close to me.
I’m in love with the look of the perle cotton against the ragged eco-dyed muslin. The muslin was a scrap from dressmakers patterns and is being put to good use instead of throwing it away. My golden stitches remind me of a spiders web or perhaps a comet with a tail. The sewing is slow–deliberately slow–but not intentionally placed. It is more of a ‘let the needle find its path’ type of sewing. Nothing is planned here–all is spontaneous working of the threads and fabrics together.
The second photo shows the setup better—I’ve recently acquired a Q-Snap Hoop and an Edmunds standing frame. It is more comfortable to stitch on smaller project like this one which is about 30″ x 18″ piece of muslin.
Sunday September 23rd was a gorgeous autumn day in Easton. The River Arts Festival at the Forks of the Delaware hosted the Philadelphia Funk Authority. The Sigal Museum has a quilt exhibit and it was my privilege to give a talk on Art Quilting: Stitches in Time, Then and Now. The Sigal Museum is a great resource with a collection of local artifacts and historical objects located at 344 Northampton Street in Easton, PA. Barb Kowitz is enthusiastic as director and is accompanied by a staff that is friendly and knowledgeable. Currently, they have an exhibit of quilts called Stitches in Time. Barb invited me to talk about my art quilts including my FrankenQuilt series. I work in several different mediums, art quilting represents approximately half of my work. Art quilting allows me the freedom to find a different voice as an artist. Most of my art quilts are whimsical and derived from dreams and fairytales. It was a pleasure to address an enthusiastic and attentive audience and discuss my work in the context of the history of American quilting. The exhibit provided a dynamic space to contrast contemporary art quilting against charming traditional quilts. Art Quilts represent a way for us to push forward with fabric, thread and stitching; yet honor those who worked to create practical objects that had rich tradition of being decorative using precious fabric. Another highlight of the day for me was to introduce my mother Bess and her influence in the sewing process. Among friends in the audience: art curator Lee Allison Vedder, Barbara Vedder, jewelry artist Susan Weaver, mixed media artist E. A. Kafkalas, and a rare appearance by artist, N. “Slope Eye” Carmichael. Another point of interest, is the Martha Salemme exhibit also located on the second floor. The exhibit was made possible by the Salemme Foundation, directed by my friend and fellow artist Joe Skrapits of Allentown, PA. Martha’s work is primarily watercolors; landscape and still life, but there are a few pencil sketches and should not be missed. Some pieces in the collection can be purchased and are well worth collecting. Martha’s work fits nicely into the context of the Easton arts scene as she and her husband and fellow artist Antonio Salemme were residents of Williams Township. Other fabric arts were on display at the River Arts Festival, where quite a few tents were setup by local artists, including painters, ceramic, and glass. My mother, her friend Jeanne and I had a late supper at Sette Luna on 2nd Street in Easton. As always, the food was superb and the espresso and dessert rounded off a lovely day.