"Ode to Common Thread" featuring Susie Cohen, Connie Gruen and Jill Gussow
Ode to Common Thread
Susie Cohen, Connie Gruen and Jill Gussow
The Little Café Art Gallery
September 2 - 30, 2017
Reception and Artists' Talk Sunday, September 10, 2017, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Susie Cohen, Connie Gruen and Jill Gussow used common materials (fabric) and techniques (hand stitching) to produce the art work on exhibition in the Little Café Art Gallery, September 2 - 30. Their use of sewing honors the time-honored expression of cultural identity through this traditional craft. As artists, though, their choices of fabrics, colors, and subject express individual aesthetic practice rather than cultural norms. But it is the stitching itself – the rhythm, density, color, complexity and scale of stitches -- that reveals the individual hand, and the heart that directs it.
I make collages from the remnants of indigo-dyed Japanese garments and goods which were hand made more than a century ago. Following the frugal Japanese custom (mottainai), the goods were made to last: they were hand-woven, hand-sewn, used, patched, remade and re-worn. By the time they reach me, the fabrics have little resemblance to their original form. They are soft in my hand and still carry the tiny wounds made by the hands that stitched them.
Sewing is a form of drawing. With a needle and thread, I can create images that are tokens of love and admiration for people and the stories they live. I think a lot about the colors and shapes that underpin these stories.
Stitching and repairing are acts of love, attention and respect. It's a conversation between myself, the material, and the memories embedded in the material. My mind travels with each stitch, a physical and spiritual contemplation. For me, stitching is a ritual, a vehicle to find and express meaning, a slow and thoughtful process. Working with the materials accumulated from my ritual prowling of second-hand stores, I can fix something, make it good again, prove that damage is not irreparable.