Pulling Back the Curtain

This weekend I was trying to catch up on some old magazines and read an article from the May 2017 “New Yorker” written by Andrea K. Scott. Scott wrote about an exhibit in Harlem focusing on the art of lifetime video artist Joan Jonas. She writes: “Jonas plays Toto to her own Wizard of Oz, pulling back the curtain to offer a behind-the-scene glimpse of her process”. curtainThe lower floor of the exhibit space was filled with displays of the many artifacts and drawings Jonas had used in her video works. By the time the viewer reached her video installations in the upper floor they had a better understanding of what goes on beneath the surface of her mind. I love that.

When you see an incredible work of art (quilted wall art for example) do you often wonder how it was made?? I do. I wonder how they started it; what technique they used; what was the reason for putting “that” right there; did they produce rough drafts of possible ideas or designs?; do they draw it to scale? Intriguing. What a great idea if we could all have an invitation to see beyond the surface to the thought process and physical process behind a work of art.

My project page and tutorial (see Projects, or Free Tutorials) is my way of pulling back the curtain to give some insight to how I made pieces; what stitches I used or specific materials. For example:

  • On the embroidered vest project I note the sequence of images embroidered as well as what embroidery stitches were used.
  • The “Familial Journeys” has an explanation to the general materials used and what they represent.
  • The wedding banners show the samples I made from fancy papers to be able to sit with the mother of the bride to get a better visual of what the design could be;
  • The thread sketched pillows include detailed pictures of my thread sketching and I’ve included a step by step tutorial on designing and creating a thread sketched pillow in my Free Tutorials page (including an insight on what you do after the initial moment of panic when you’ve almost finished and you realize part of your design is a complete failure)!!


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