Threads

 

With the practice of needlepoint learned in my English childhood, I have been threading together some of my continents.

These works have been companions: enforcers of a long road of pleasurable quiet. 

 

Four of them:

 

 

after a painting in Abune Gebre Mikael, Qoraro, Tigrai

A copy in wool on cotton scrim  by the owner of this  blog (1980-1987) after a painting of priests with their incense censers in the church of Abune Mikael in Qoraro, Tigrai, Ethiopia).

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An approximate copy in wool on cotton scrim  by the owner of this  blog (2002-2006) of a magnificent door curtain designed by John Henry Dearle, the head of William Morris’ studio after Morris died in 1898.

The original was embroidered in silk on silk and its background was a mass of flowers too difficult for me to reproduce. 

Here the flower is growing in the cement, concrete and asphalt of the world.

  I completed this work in Addis Ababa.  There the light, at 7000 feet, is wonderful. 

 At the top  left is the Yeha altar of the Bronze Age Temple of the Moon, thought to be a Sabean structure dating from 700 BCE in Adwa, northern Ethiopia. 

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After a sculpture over the lintel of a doorway, The Temptation of Eve, Giselbertus, originally at Autun Cathedral, Normandy, France c.1130 CE. 

Needlepoint in wool on cotton scrim in 2008 by the owner of this blog.

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After a painting of two protective angels in an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Gazien, Tigrai, Ethiopia. 

Wool on cotton scrim,  2011-the present, yet to be framed; by the owner of this blog.  

 

 

 

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Detail of a shawl made of white work  embroidery; cotton on cotton; worn by a member of the Ten Eyck family, New York, 1800-1825. 

Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Delaware.

The museum notes that this kind of much in-demand, generally very poorly paid work was outsourced to women working at home in India, Switzerland, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and in North America during the 1700s and early 1800s.

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Easy chair covered with flame stitch needlepoint believed to have been done in the US between 1720 and 1770.  The chair was made of walnut, maple, wool and linen and its maker is not known.

Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Delaware.

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Scenes of a wall covering – Chinoise Scene – of silk, paint and cotton, hands and face of each character painted; embroidered and appliqued made between 1780 and 1830.  Probably French and mounted originally as panels on screens. 

Winterthur, Wilmington, Delaware

 

 

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 Woman in Red or Woman with Cape (Femme en rouge or Femme à la cape), 1895, needlepoint tapestry; wool on canvas.  Paul Ranson, 1864-1909, French.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

 

 

 

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Design  of an Ecclesiastical embroidery attributed to Walter Crane , 1845-1915, British, for the Church of the Ark of the Covenant in London. 

 Philadelphia Art Museum of Art from whose website this photo.

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Details of the ecclesiastical embroidery above.  Light interference.  I do not know who executed this embroidery.  Philadelphia Art Museum 

 

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Memories of a  Summer in the White Mountains, 1917, described by the museum as a ‘tapestry’.  Marguerite Zorach, 1887-1967, American.  Private collection on loan to the Jewish Museum, New York

 

 

 

The Collects for Sundays, 1934, Annie Morris, Delaware Museum of Art-3

The Collects for Sundays and Holy Days, 1928, embroidered velvet and silk.  Annie Morris, British, an embroiderer in the Arts and Craft movement, unknown dates.  Delaware Art Museum

 

 

 

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Skeins, c. 1950, cotton, linen and wool. Mariska Karasz, 1898-19060, American born Hungary.  Smithsonian Renwick Gallery

 

 

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Crocheted bedcover made in cotton c. 1950 in the Philadelphia area. I don’t know who the creator was.

 

 

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Fibrous Raiment, 1969, sisal, videotape; crocheted.  Debra Rapoport, American born 1945.  Philadelphia Art Museum

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Woman Crocheting.  Seen in a vintage shop in Philadelphia in 2018.  Unknown provenance.

 

 

 

 

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Untitled, 1969/70, latex, rope, string and wire.  Eva Hesse, 1936-1970, American born Germany.  Whitney Museum, NY

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African Mask, 1970, wool, leather, crocheted.  Janet Lipkin, American born 1948.  Metropolitan Museum of Art  exhibition loan in 2019/2020 to the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The wool is hand-spun and naturally dyed in earth colours.  Pockets down the front recall shaman’s pockets for magical herbs.

 

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Crucifixion, 1977, handquilted by the Amish women of Holmes County, Ohio, and commercially dyed cotton .  Nancy Crow, American born 1943.  Smithsonian Renwick Museum, Washington, DC

 

 

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The Albino, 1972, re-installed by the artist in 1994 as All That Rises Must Converge/Black.  Bronze with black patina, wool and other fibers.  Barbara Chase-Riboud, American born 1939.  MOMA, NY

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An Interior with Annette Sewing, 1954, graphite; Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966; Swiss.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 2016

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Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich, 1963, vinyl, kapok, painted wood and wood.  Claes Oldenburg, American born Sweden, 1929.  Whitney Museum of Art. 

The museum notes that this was made with the co-operation of the artist’s wife at the time, Patty Mucha.  She sewed the forms in vinyl.   Richard Artschwager sculpted the toothpick out of wood. 

This was one of several common and garden consumer items which the artist created in large, sometimes giant form.

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Untitled (Black Felt), c. 1969.  Robert Morris, 1931-2018, American.  On exhibit at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY in 2019/2020.

  The museum says that this is the artist challenging the presumed objectivity of Minimalism with the idea of Anti-form in which he tries to show that the specific bodies of artists and viewers inform their approach to an art work.  In this phase, the artist incorporated felt, rubber and wire in his work.

 

 

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Nina Got It For 100 Francs, 1971, cotton, yarn, acrylic paint, wood, metal, glass and plastic.  Alan Shields, 1944-2005, American.  Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY

 

 

 

 

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The Blue Room, 1970-1973, photosensitized cloth, photographic dyes, embroidery. 

Catherine Jansen, American born 1950. Loaned to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2020.

 

 

 

Temari balls made of the ends of silk skeins in Japan in the second half of the 20th century

 

 

 

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Symbolic poncho, 1971, jute, wool, steel spring wire, knotted. Claire Zeisler, 1903-1991, American.  Art Institute of Chicago on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/2020

 

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J+K, 1972, acrylic, thread and beads on canvas.  Alan Shields, 1944-2005, American.  Whitney Museum, NY

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Zanzibar Table Gold, 1972, polished bronze, silk and linen.  Barbara Chase-Riboud, American born 1932.  Private collection on loan to the Whitney Museum, NY

 

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A pastel on paper, and detail, by Odile Redon, 1840-1916, French, of Mme. Arthur Fontaine when she was 36.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2016

 

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Red Ray, 1974,  from the series, Seven Rays, gauze, net, metallic, brocade.  Kasik Wong, 1950-1990, American.  Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/2020.

The museum notes that this, commissioned by his friend, Salvador Dali, was one of seven mystical garments commissioned for the grand opening of the Dali Theater-Museum in Figueres, Spain.  This garment represented the symbolism and meaning of colour.

 

 

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Medusa Mask, 1975, wool, crocheted.  Nicki Hitz Edson, American born 1941.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

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Vow (Jammer), 1976, sewn fabric and rattan pole.

Robert Rauschenberg, 1925-2008.  The artist used Indian silk or satin in a series of works he made after his 1975 residency in Ahmedabad, India.  They hang and move like sails or flags.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

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Basement Vest, 1977, rayon, cotton, found objects; stitched, appliqued, embroidered, quilted.    Joan Steiner, 1943-2010, American.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

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Beige Eagle, 1977, macrame with hand-dyed sisal and jute yarn.  Aurelia Munoz, 1926-2011. MOMA, NY

  The museum notes that the artist revived macrame knotting found in the Arab tradition which had been long dormant.

 

 

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A Fantasy Meeting of Santa Claus with Big Julie and Tyrone at McDonalds, 1979, resist-dyed cotton.  Katherine Westphal, 1919-2018, American.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/2020

 

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Man’s ‘Diamond Sis’ coat, 1978-84, various fabrics covered with yarn and thread embroidery, trimmed with buttons, coins, tassels, American flags, metal and rhinestones.  Charlie Logan,  1893-1984.   

Philadelphia Art Museum. 

The museum notes that Charlie Logan, a poor man and ill in later life, spent time on the streets of Alton, IL wearing clothing which he had embroidered with themes both from African American folklore and Haitian beaded costumes.

 

 

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Young Woman Knitting, 1883, oil on canvas.  Berthe Morisot, 1841-1895, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

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Midnight Sky (Julie’s Coat), wool, crocheted, 1978.  Sharron Hughes, American born 1948.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

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1984 Jacket, 1983, cotton, indelible magic marker.

  Jo-Ellen Trilling, American born 1947.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum

 

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Three Sixes, 1986, quilted polyester double-knit, wool jersey and cotton.  Rosie Lee Tompkins, 1936-2008, American.  Whitney Museum, NY

 

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Young Mother Sewing, oil on canvas.  Mary Cassatt, 1824-1926.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

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More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and the Wages of Sin, 1987, stuffed toys, fabric, and afghans with dried corn and waxed candles on wood and metal base. 

Mike Kelley, American, 1954-2012.  Whitney Museum, NY

 

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Garden, Field of Flowers, 1991, cotton, quilted, layered, slashed, frayed.  Tim Harding, American born 1950. 

On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/202

 

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Threadbare, 1992, threadbare sofa and embroidered pillow. 

Hans Haacke, born Germany 1936, lives in the US.  Courtesy of the artist and exhibited at the New Museum, NY in 2019/2020

 

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My Father’s House, 1994, wool, fulled, hand-dyed, pieced.  Jean Williams Cacicedo, American born 1948.  The artist’s memorial for her father: the 23rd Psalm makes up its back and the whole a ‘vessel for housing the soul of the departed.’ 

On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/2020

 

 

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Embroidery, 1895-96, oil on canvas.  Edouard Vuillard, 1868-1940, French.  MOMA, NY

 

 

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Sampler (The Ultimate), 1996, hand embroidery on linen.  Elaine Reichek, American born 1943, Whitney Museum, NY

Untitled #32, mixed media. Al Loving, 1935-2005, American. 

Perez Art Museum, Miami on loan to the Brooklyn Museum in 2018/19

 

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2.45 am until Sunrise on Tet, the Lunar New Year on January 31,1968, U.S. Embassy, Saigon, Vietnam (Looking North), 2006, cotton.  Anna von Mertens, American born 1973.  Smithsonian Renwick Museum, Washington DC

 

 

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Three Horizontals, 1998, fabric and steel.  Louise Bourgeois, 1911-2010, American.

Loaned by the ISelf Collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, spring/summer 2018

 

 

Tambour – which produces a tiny chain stitch –  stitched  with an awl in silk thread on a piece of hand-blocked silk by a member of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ahmedabad, India, 2010 

 

 

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Familiars, 2001-02, wool.  Kiki Smith, American born Germany 1954.  Whitney Museum, NY

 

 

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Practice Bomber Range in the Mississippi Flyway, 1999-2002, cottons, bridal tulle and denim.  Terese Agnew, American born 1959. Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, Washington DC

 

 

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Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1991, colour lithograph on paper.  Faith Ringgold, American born 1930.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia

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NUD Cycladic 9, 2010, Nylon, synthetic fiber, concrete, steel wire.  Sarah Lucas, British born 1962,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

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Trying to find our spot off in that light, light off in that spot, 2014, mercerized cotton stretched over cotton. 

Jayson Musson, American born 1977.  Philadelphia Art Museum

The museum’s commentary is that these are Coogi-brand sweaters made famous in the 1980’s and 1990’s by popular African American TV personalities and musicians.  The work’s title comes from song lyics by the rap duo Outkast and is a commentary on the large-scale Abstract Expressionist gestural painting of the mid-1990s.

 

 

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A1 Plexus; thread, wood, hooks and steel; 2015. Gabriel Dawe, born Mexico City, 1973, lives in the United States.

Installed at the Renwick Museum, the craft museum of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art,  in 2015 to celebrate its renovation in 2015. The theme was ‘wonder’.

Colored threads were hung floor to ceiling in a helix-like formation, arched in the middle so that you could walk through, look up, look out to the light streaming through an open door and through windows.

 

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Vision and Her Scribe, 2019 (print), chromogenic print. 

Rachel Stern, American born 1989.  On loan by the artist to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2019/2020

 

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Detail of Kindertide, 2014, and detail;  crocheted cotton string, glue, velvet, steel pins. 

Caitlin McCormack, American. On exhibit at the Philadelphia Arts Alliance in 2016

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Mansion of Prodigies, 2015, crocheted cotton string, glue, velvet, steel pins, antique chest of drawers. 

Caitlin McCormack, American. On exhibit at the Philadelphia Arts Alliance in 2016

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Tightrope, 5.1, 2009-2014. electric wire on panel.  Elias Sime, Ethiopian born 1968.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

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Washington DC Foreclosure Quilt, 2015, linen, cotton and recycled thread.  Kathryn Clark, American born 1971.  Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, Washington DC

 

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Portals, 2016, acrylic, solvent transfer, collage of fabric and paper, and coloured pencil on paper. 

Ndijeka Akunyili Crosby, Nigerian-American born 1983.  Whitney Museum, NY

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Portals, 2016, acrylic, solvent transfer, collage of fabric and paper, and coloured pencil on paper. 

Ndijeka Akunyili Crosby, Nigerian-American born 1983.  Whitney Museum, NY

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Intergenerational Hands, 2018, Nikki Lau. 

On display at the 2018 Clay Studio juried show, Philadelphia.  Honouring the artist’s maternal grandmother who worked in Chinatown, San Francisco in the garment industry; and her mother who works in the US food industry.

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An anonymous knitting collective placed this on the fencing of a south Philadelphia playground, 2019

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A Lost Key, 2019, hand embroidery on cotton and wood frame. 

A representation of the loss of culture (language, values, practices, etc.) from one generation to the next when exile has intervened.

Jordan Nassar, American born 1985.  Palestinian on his father’s side, Polish-American on his mother’s, Nassar uses a Palestinian cross-stitch to create works which he works with Palestinian women. 

Whitney Museum, NY

 

 

 

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Gilbert Stuart, 1725-1828, American, painted this portrait of Catherine Bras(s) Yates in 1793/94.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Threads

    1. Thanks! There are a number of pieces made by Joan Steiner in that show and perhaps I should have tried to capture them all and perhaps I still will. Her work is astonishing.

      The sadness is that you cannot touch these textiles and these are, after all, made to be worn, touched, fingered, flaunted but not under glass…………

      Sarah

    1. I understand! It is, like your painting and all handwork voluntarily undertaken, most satisfying to hand and mind and spirit! Sarah

      1. Exactly! and it’s a shame needlework is undervalued as an art, but good to see these great pieces getting in museums and also to see your inspiration!

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