Aug 15, 2014

grave rubbings for art quilts


I was fortunate to go on a vacation to Paris earlier this month and during the week, we took some time to visit the Pere Lachaise cemetery. I came prepared with white Kona cotton and several pieces of lovely vintage silk from disassembled Japanese kimonos... and some crayons so I could capture interesting grave rubbings.


This one above I think was the most successful. I plan to enhance it with thread painting and trapunto. For my non-quilter readers, that means I will add a layer of batting underneath the image, I will sew along the image outlines, and then cut away the excess batting so when I lay it on its foundation, the bird will be raised up off the surface.

In case you are not familiar with Père Lachaise, it is one of Paris' most famous cemeteries. The place is huge and several hundreds years old. There are so many famous writers, artists, musicians and statesman buried here that you'd really need a couple weeks to explore it all. Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Frederic Chopin, Camille Pissaro... and many others. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place and the art is simply breath taking.

Here's my photo essay from my short time inside the cemetery.







Here's another successful rubbing. I like the 'gravelly' look of the outer circles. I am planning to enhance this one too somehow and incorporate it into the center of my Celtic Cross quilt, which is very much still a work in progress.


This is the Celtic Cross that I am still working on. Its quite large... the photo is deceiving. I think it is about 5 feet high, about 3 1/2 feet wide. Its made with hundreds of one-inch squares. The Celtic design on the edges of the cross is hand-applique trapunto. The inner circle is unfinished. It will be covered in some form or fashion... eventually! Once I get these things done, the whole thing will be quilted.


I have to credit the amazingly talented Susan Lenz for the information on the best way to capture grave rubbings! Susan's series of art quilts based on grave rubbings is just stunning, as is the rest of her work, of course.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays. So many cools blogs to explore there, check it out.

Stay tuned for more on the Celtic Cross and other grave rubbings I am working on. After such a lovely vacation, its just hard to get going again... so I am a bit slow on the blogging routine!

6 comments:

  1. What an amazing graveyard! I'm always drawn to graveyards, they're so quiet and peaceful. The ones here, in New Mexico, are so plain and flat compared to this one. I love the idea of gravestone rubbings and then turning them into art quilts, thanks for linking me to more resources!

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    1. Hi Renee. Thanks for your comments... I too find cemeteries quite peaceful and beautiful. Glad you enjoyed the grave rubbings and the links. Susan's work is especially beautiful and the links up always have a great collection of work. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. These photos bring back memories Teresa about 30 years since I visited. After simple British graveyards with mere head stones I remember being very over awed by all those big tombs! I'm glad your visit was so successful and I particularly like the piece you have chosen for your celtic cross. Look forward to seeing that.

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    1. Hi Hilary! I am behind on replying to all the nice comments. Apologies. Thanks for your kind words, as always. I still have not gotten back to finishing my cross quilt, but the ideas are still noodling in my head.

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  3. Oh ... I've so very, very much wanted to go to this historic cemetery and your photos make this desire so much stronger. Your dove is gorgeous. I love trapunto work too ... and THANK YOU so much for all the nice things you've written about my work and me! I'm blushing here in South Carolina!

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    1. Pere Lachaise is definitely worth the trip. We've been to Paris several times, but this was my first visit... turned out to be one of the highlights!

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