Pages and Books > Pages and Books 2017–2018

Blue & White Project
"A Book of PLACEmats"
Hand Embroidered
#1 of six
Blue & White Project
"A Book of PLACEmats"
Hand Embroidered
#1 of six
Linen and thread, Japanese indigo dyed cotton fabric
11 x 19 inches
2018

In collaboration with potter Martina M. Thies of Berlin, Germany, the Blue & White Project is being created. Martina and I met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995, became friends, and vowed that someday we would exhibit together. When we separated, I gave her a placemat-size cloth page drawn with thread, and she gave me a porcelain teapot and two cups. Almost 25 years later, we have reconnected and begun collaboration on this project.

She is German and I am of PA German heritage. These stitched pages are partly inspired by my interest in the designs of fratur, Pennsylvania-German illuminated manuscripts. In my work, I have chosen the blue flower as the symbol of connection–the flax plant has a blue flower (linen) and the blue cornflower is a national flower of Germany. Each year the queen and princesses chosen for the German-American parade in Philadelphia wear blue cornflower tiaras.

The blue flower was the symbol for the German Romantic movement. It originated in the works of the German author Novalis (pen name), and eventually came to represent bittersweet longing. My stitching explores migration and immigration...a continuance of blue sky across the ocean...a longing for home and a longing for far away.

I am in PA creating "A Book of PLACEmats" and she is in Berlin creating with porcelain. Some day we will cross the ocean and join our work together.