I’m still floating on air a week after receiving the news that my Squirrel and Locust was awarded Best in Show by juror Adriene Buffington at Art Quilts XVII: Integrating a Paradox, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.
It’s been a long and convoluted voyage, from being gifted with a few small mammal skulls to winning recognition for the resultant artwork. Along the way I took my initial enthusiasm for the intricacies of the structures of the skulls and developed it into a concept, followed by a spreadsheet, followed by the quest to gather more skulls. (I have interesting friends, and you can buy pretty much anything on the internet.)
The concept was spun around my deep and abiding love for my environment here in the beautiful suburban wilds of Lancaster County, PA, coupled with my observations of and interactions with the small mammals that also live here. To bring it to fruition involved macro photography, digital image editing, and cyanotype printing. There was the gathering of botanical specimens and more printmaking. There was rummaging through collected vintage embroideries for the perfect visual commentary.
There was a lot of rearranging things on the design wall, followed by staring and contemplation, followed by stitching. Lots and lots of stitching. And lots of and lots of sewing on tiny beads by hand.
All of the act of creation was its own reward. Sending the artwork out into the world and seeing it gain recognition and validation, knowing that others people see what I am saying and/or bring their own interpretation to the work, is incredibly wonderful, somewhat humbling, and extremely motivating. So, a pause to say thank you, to those involved with this show and to the fiber arts community at large, and then back to work. I have some raccoon skull cyanotypes looking out at me from the design wall. Rumor has it that there is also an apple tree involved.