Friday, November 16, 2007

Returning to Work: "Translations"

In mid-summer I committed to participating in a fund-raising project for Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) called "MAGnificent Inspirations: The Art Quilt". The gallery invited area quilt artists to select a work from the MAG's permanent collection and interpret it in a small fiber piece. The small works will be displayed and offered for sale during the "Wild by Design: Innovation and Artistry in America Quilts" exhibit January 20- March 18, 2008.

"Wild by Design" will feature 25 quilts selected from the University of Nebraska International Quilt Study Center's collection. To quote the MAG website, “these quilts explore the once-radical proposition that some 19th-century American women were 'painting with fabric.' Ranging in date from about 1825 to 1999, the quilts were made by artists both known and unknown, all of whom share an essential quality: the desire to push the boundaries of their medium in their own time.” Go to for more information.

After touring the gallery this summer, I selected "Calligraphies", an Isamu Noguchi sculpture that echoes my own interest in language symbols as design imagery. Here is an image:

I finally tackled my interpretation of this piece in a small work last week and finished it yesterday. What most intrigued me when I started to interpret Noguchi's sculpture were the shadows that the forms cast on the wall behind them, so I based "Translations" on these.

"Translations", 22" x22", 2007, $525, for sale during Wild by Design exhibition at MAG.

To create "Translations" I rusted habotai silk, then drew and selected a calligraphic shape based on the original Noguchi. I silkscreened text over cut paper resists, applied the positive calligraphic shapes from dyed silk sheers and habotai and secured them with stitching. The quilting lines echo the calligraphic shapes in the negative space.

After the deaths of my family, being able to return to creating new work has been profoundly affirming. I will be posting regularly again and sharing new pieces. Thank you to all for the caring support you have offered me during these past two months.


  1. Absolutely awesome piece Jeanne!! You more than captured the spirit of the sculpture -- can see a whole new series here! LOVED the idea of the shadows in the background

  2. This is very good. A wonderful interpretation of the original inspiration without being too literal. Kudo's for rallying to meet this challenge. Getting back to creating can be very difficult after such a catastrophic loss. But it can be therapeutic as well. Thanks for sharing.