One of the things I love about this quilt square is how it captures both the chaotic rupture of grief and the renewing power of hope. Look at the way Dana combined neat, orderly elements with loose and ‘messy’ ones. The contrast speaks volumes.
The couched red threads on the left speak to blood, disorder, hate, and loss. They scramble and defy the cool, ordered grid below. The purple cloud of gauze has the visual feel of smoke or staining. It spreads across the surface and behind the heart. Looking at it, we wonder: is the damage done? How much further will it spread? The heart is stained and rent. The edges of the central rip are frayed — in contrast to the neatly applied stitches that define the heart’s outer edges. These skillful choices elevate the image to something beyond the cliche of the broken heart. A five-petaled flower grows out of the place of brokenness and brings its purity into the messy tumble of red. It speaks to the enduring power of hope and also of forgiveness, an apt reference for a community living their Christian values. Like Liz, Dana dyed her strips especially for this project. Not only that, but she used a resist to spell out the words, “open our hearts” — words spoken by President Obama in his eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Dana also used a resist to create a series of small hearts along one of the strips. She beautifully embroidered nine of them.
The floral embroidery in soft colors lends a sense of peace and purity to ‘the Nine’. The pretty uniformity of these hearts stands in contrast to the wild chaos opposite. And, it’s something else. It’s that this line of uniform and sweet encircled hearts suggest that in death, the Emanuel Nine became united — in faith and essence perhaps?
On the reverse side, with white thread on white linen, Dana stitched simply, “Remembering, June 17, 2015.” All in all, this is a beautifully executed and powerful visual statement about loss and hope. Please read more about Dana’s process, and enjoy her other beautiful dyeing and needlework and her extraordinary flare for table setting.
this cloth brings such hope & healing into the world
I agree. It feels tangible.
Beautiful close up shots of Dana’s stitches … I just kept scrolling up and down, especially noting how much the back reveals of the choices she made along the way. This is such a heart-felt cloth …
Her cloth really does bear closer looking. The more I look, the more I appreciate how all the parts make the whole.
Thank you Dee, Liz and Mo for your kind words! More thanks, again, to Dee for making this place to express the anguish the murder of nine people in their church basement brings up from the deep well of systemic hatred and violence. Usually when these altogether too frequent atrocities occur there is nothing an ordinary person can do. This time, due to Dee’s energy, I was given an outlet for the feelings that had no where else to go. My heart, at least, has been opened and I am truly grateful.
I am struck by the raw & wild spilling out of emotion & the clear strong stitching of love & growth.
I just love the contrasts here… and how each makes the other stronger.