Saturday, September 20, 2014

ANG Seminar Exhibit 2014: Arlene's Rhododendrons

Because one of this year's ANG Exhibit winners is a friend of mine, I persuaded her to write a bit about the silk gauze piece she submitted which won not only a first place ribbon but the Small Masterpieces Award!  Arlene Cohen generously wrote about her award winner at ANG, and also let me know she won Piecework's contest this year for the needlework category.  Plus she has been to Winterthur with an exhibit she thinks some of Blog's readers might enjoy.  Thanks, Arlene!  We can't wait to see what you stitch and exhibit next year.

Let me turn Blog over to Arlene....

Rhododendrons, By Arlene Cohen


"Some pictures are attached for my piece that I submitted to the ANG exhibit this year. I've also sent the statement I wrote; I know these are not required for non-original pieces, but I loved the opportunity to simply write out the background and inspiration for doing this piece. Two years ago, when Seminar was in Philadelphia, I was able to drive down for a few hours to see the Exhibit (and bookstore and such). I LOVED that artist statements were sitting out by the pieces and for any piece, I could pick up the paper and read through the background. I don't know if this is a regular practice at Seminar Exhibits (I hope it is!), but I so wish more of those words could be/would be published as part of the December issue of NeedlePointers. Frankly, what I REALLY wish is that everything, pictures of pieces and artist statements were available online, at the same time that folks are able to see them in person, during Seminar week, but I know that will never happen. Anyway, feel free to use these pictures and words in anyway you wish.

Artist Statement:   Rhododendrons

Perhaps it was the very long winter. Perhaps it was the endless snow shoveling to dig out my car again and again. Perhaps it was the frustration of plans constantly changing, constantly relying on their “snow date” options. But, more so than ever, I was anxious for spring and for the bloom of flowers and the signs of renewal.
During the late winter/early spring months, as snow was finally melting, but the landscape was barren, my eyes lit on an issue of a cross stitch magazine in a store. On the front cover was a picture of a delightful design called “Rhododendrons.” These blue-violet flowers were in just the palette of colors that most attracts my eye. And the image of flowers, of spring, were exactly right for the moment. Putting aside plans for what was to be my next project, I decided this design was exactly what was needed.
Designed by Lesley Teare in the UK, this pattern was published in Cross Stitch Gold issue #41 (US version; UK versions of the magazine are numbered differently as I have learned). It was designed for 14 or 18 count cross stitch on fabric. But, my desire was to do it a little differently, to preserve the delicate feelings as we marched closer and closer to spring and flowers in bloom, by working this design on a small scale. I chose 40 count silk gauze as my ground material and used tent stitches instead of cross stitches. Since the palette of colors is what first drew me to the design, I did not change any of the called for DMC floss colors.
I will be glad to have these bouquet of flowers in view when next winter comes around.

Next, I wanted to share another little win in my world. Piecework Magazine runs a contest, seemingly every other year. The theme this year was Words in Needlework (I think inspired by a pair of old knitted gloves with Bible verse in them, featured in an issue in the past year or so). I won first place for the Needlework category with a piece I created featuring the poem by John Taylor from 1637 titled "In Praise of the Needle." The five first place winners are featured in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue, likely available right about now in stores (I know I can pick it up in my local Barnes and Noble) and can be seen here:

Last, perhaps to share with readers sometime soon: yesterday, I traveled down to the Winterthur in Deleware. The big publicity from them in the past months has been the exhibit of costumes from Downton Abby (perhaps you mentioned this on your blog? don't remember, saw it in so many places). But, opening just last week was an exhibit on needlework, titled 'The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament.'   Lovely pieces, interesting background, and the ability to purchase a booklet of the entire exhibit (pictures of pieces and all signage) for $8 - not bad! I liked the organization of the exhibit into four areas: Diligence, Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament.

The introduction sets up the whole exhibit: 'For centuries, instruction in needlework was an important part of the a young woman's education. Both plain sewing and fancy embroidery required considerable time and effort to learn. As a result, women took great pride in their work. Needlework skills might be used to earn a living, to embellish clothing and household furnishings, or to simply create objects of beauty.'

There is a needlework symposium in October, part of what appears to be a three year cycle of both exhibits and symposiums focused on needlework. I was lucky enough to attend in 2008, but dates in this year simply don't work for my real life."

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright September 14, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

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