Modern Quilting: Susan Lenz Designs Inspired by Grave Rubbings

Modern Quilting: Susan Lenz Designs Inspired by Grave Rubbings

Amy Azzarito
Apr 7, 2009

I've wanted to learn how to quilt for some time, but have yet to actually take the plunge. Instead, I spend time admiring the work of talented quilters. One of my favorite sources of information on the history and art of quilting is the blog, Art in Stitches, where I am continually surprised by the textile arts. I was totally awestruck by the work of Susan Lenz, who makes these fantastic and unique quilts inspired by grave rubbings.

A grave rubbing is simply an impression of a headstone made by rubbing a soft pencil or charcoal across a clean sheet of paper, which is held against a headstone. Grave rubbings were popular in the Victorian era.

Susan explained how she came up with idea of incorporating the rubbings in her art: I made all these rubbings in Maine while at the MacNamara Foundation residency program. I had fantasies of making art with the results. It all seemed so bohemian and exotic...dancing alone in a cemetery with yards of silk fabric and a child's brown crayon...dreaming about the art I'd make...letting nature and a sense of eternal peacefulness take control.

All descriptions, titles and photos from Art in Stitches
1 Grave Rubbing Quilt. The Just by Faith Shall Live Again. The grave rubbing on silk came from a 1796 tombstone.Hand and free-motion machine embroidery on vintage linen and severely light damaged, recycled curtain scrap with found buttons. Crayon rubbing.
2 detail. Father and Mother. 30" x 30". Crayon on silk rubbings. Vintage drawn work linen. Silk. Hand and free-motion machine embroidery.
3 Grave Rubbing Quilt Series: Darling Sons. Rubbings created with crayon on silk; Appliqued onto vintage linens with crocheted edges. Hand and free-motion machine embroidery.
4 Grave rubbings, crayon on silk, appliqued on vintage linen guest towel with cutwork. Hand stitched. Words: One Less to Love on Earth. One More to Meet in Heaven; Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his Trust; Thy Blessed Will Be Done.
5 Grave Rubbing Quilt. Thy Blessed Will be Done. Grave rubbing on silk machine stitched to a vintage doily, a scrap of a severely light damaged curtain, and finally onto a piece of fringed crochet.

Fantastic! Thanks, Susan!

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