I'm excited that two of my fiber art pieces (pictured below) were juried into this year's Sacred Threads exhibition in Herndon, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey. Quilts are divided into categories based on the themes of joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief, and peace. The exhibit runs from July 10-26, 2015. If you get a chance to attend this exhibit, let me know. I'm planning on attending the opening; come say hello! For more information about Sacred Threads and this particular exhibit, check out their website here--Sacred Threads.
They chose my piece called "Then We Pray" to be included in the "Peace" category. This piece was inspired by a photo in our local newspaper, which depicted mourners praying over the flag-draped coffins of security forces in Fallujah, Iraq. As the story goes, a gang of gunmen were disguised in military-style uniforms and were carrying forged arrest warants.They killed dozens of police and then hoisted the battleflag of al-Qaida after the carefully planned early morning shooting spree in March of 2012. I COULD NOT GET THIS PICTURE OUT OF MY MIND--it haunted me.
This is a detail picture of "Then We Pray." I hand wrote each quote onto the background fabric and hand quilted the entire piece. The abstract mourners are made from silk outlined with embroidery.
(The photos of "Then We Pray" were taken by Kathy Hilger.)
This year's exhibit will have an audio tour feature. The signage accompanying each quilt will offer visitors a phone number to call to hear additional information about the artist, the artwork, and the quilt's story. I made a recording for both of my quilts. One of the reasons I have chosen quilting as my artistic focus is because quilts DO have stories. I LOVE that I'm being given the chance to tell those stories.
Forty pieces were also chosen for a traveling exhibit which is meant to serve as an ambassador for Sacred Threads to additional communities located outside of the area surrounding the main exhibit. It is the hope of the selection committee that these quilts will bring greater awareness to the mission of Sacred Threads. (If you have a venue that might be interested in this exhibit, please leave a comment letting me know that. I'll pass that information on to the "powers that be.") So far, the traveling exhibit is scheduled to appear in Michigan, Georgia, California, and North Carolina.
This piece, "Final Separation," was my second piece chosen for this year's exhibit; I'm honored to say that it was also chosen for the traveling exhibit. It will appear in the "Grief" category. It is hard for me to "let this quilt go" for a period of up to two years with the traveling exhibit, but I think it is an important story to tell.
As you look at the piece, the heart on the top left represents me. The hand quilting on this side of the "track" flows toward the house and my Mom--symbolizing my attempts to reach her. The "track" and quilting on the other side of the quilt block my way--I can't get to her.
The quilt contains a quote, by Washington Irving. You might not see it unless you look VERY closely. It is hand embroidered in black on the upper left-hand side of the piece. You can see it in this detail shot, and you can read the quote below the picture.
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love."
After finishing the quilt, I had a sense of completion--not only the completion of the quilt but the end of that horrible "I can't breathe" kind of grief.