Susan Denniston is a painter, printmaker, and mixed media artist. Her work acknowledges our dignity, fragility, vulnerability and certain impermanence.
Deconstructing the old and worn quilt:
I began to carefully break the stitches of an old and well-worn quilt. Opening the quilt, I found another old and well-worn quilt inside.
I created prints from a section of the tattered and torn inside quilt – remnants of fabric, thread, and batting.
What secrets are held within this once sturdy but now fragile old quilt?
Whose bodies were warmed and comforted by this quilt?
Whose hands gathered the scraps of cloth and pieced together a pattern?
And whose hands pushed the threaded needle through the layers?
Whose hands repaired and altered and passed down the quilt to keep it a living document?
And what remains when the quilt seems ready to be discarded?
I had not anticipated the prints would evoke a sense of ravaged fields, water, and sky; a sense of our land in flux.
Another tattered but supple and soft old quilt with the “postage stamp” pattern had such tiny stitching, it was harder to get to the inside. But once I did, I used a section of the inside of the fragile quilt top to share its story. It too seems to tell a story, a story of dividing the land.
This land, your land and my land, our land, that is and has been a source of such strife and sustenance.