Saturday, May 9, 2015

FNF 1 -- best in show

Last night was the opening reception for Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, a juried show that I take pride in having helped start, back in 2004.  Best in show went to Susan Else of Santa Cruz CA for her 3-D work, "Family Life."

It's a tableau of three almost-life-size skeletons, covered in batiks and embellished with lots of social commentary about how there was no "golden age" of family life -- people always have and always will have problems with raising children.  For instance, the narrative on the mother's foot bones talks about infant mortality.

On her ribs, the narrative talks about divorce.

The quilt is constructed over a skeleton armature and meticulously assembled to replicate all the bones -- check out how perfectly the patellae and finger bones are made and stitched to the rest of the body.

The thought of skeletons may be grim but they're smiling with their baby and the bright batiks bring to mind the brilliant colors and celebration of Day of the Dead.  There is lots of machine quilting but from close inspection I think most of the construction had to require hand stitching.  Clearly not a weekend project!

This piece made me say WOW! Congratulations to Susan!

The show continues at the Carnegie Center in New Albany IN, right across the river from Louisville, through July 11, worth a stop if you're on your way to Quilt National or other vacation spots.  I'll write about the rest of the show next week; stay tuned.


  1. Kathleen, it was great to meet you at the opening. Fabulous art! I am going to take your suggestion and join LAFTA SO i can learn and be inspired. I'm going to QSDS later this month to take a class with Dorothy Caldwell. Very excited about that. Hope to take a class from you one day too!

  2. Wow indeed - this is quite amazing ... And somehow more than a little disturbing ...