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Connected Separateness

This piece is a departure from my usual work. I only really feel comfortable with my work when I know that it is sturdy and nearly unbreakable - hence the reason I like quilts. You can throw them around, fold them up, be generally quite aggressive with them and they'll recover with just a few simple tricks. And not only do I like quilts, but well-stitched quilts, where all the elements are securely fastened, and if they are fragile elements, I really prefer putting them safely under silk organza, like putting a fragile specimen under a glass dome. I've never been comfortable with those few pieces which seem vulnerable to my typical style of working.

But then we have this piece, which, while not really fragile at all, gives the impression of fragility.

I actually don't remember making this piece very well, but I can puzzle the steps back together using the pictures and making educated guesses.

I began with a background of soluble fiber sheets which I stitched together. I then stitched a portion of the swooping lines. In this picture below, I've cut out my human forms and have them in the position I want them.

Next, I've added the wall which will go between them. This wall was created by stitching on thin silk organza with the aid of a soluble sheet so that it would be more manageable. Of course, at some point I cleaned up those loose threads. I detest loose threads in my work.

I don't have a picture in between these two steps, but basically I layered silk fibers over these elements, sandwiched it all with another layer of soluble fiber and stitched some more with black thread, and then stitched even more with transparent thread. Here you can see that I've already washed away the soluble sheets and am left with a web-like structure that was a bit of a mess at first. But, all fibers can be organized with pins! So I laid it out, stretched it where it needed to be stretched to maintain it's proportions, and pinned everything until it dried. I was a little nervous about getting the paper people wet, but mostly just because I wasn't used to dealing with more vulnerable materials.

This work is in a private collection, but other works from Parallel Worlds are available for purchase from Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.

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