Modern Quilting: Susan Lenz Designs Inspired by Grave Rubbings

Modern Quilting: Susan Lenz Designs Inspired by Grave Rubbings

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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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