Thursday, January 03, 2008

Rusty Gusty Part Deux

I finished Rusty Gusty this morning and I'm loving how she turned out:

In trying to figure out how to display her and all of her layers of paper and fiber, I finally decided she needed to be mounted on a stretched canvas. That lead me to using a few of Claudine Hellmuth's techniques in "Collage Discovery Workshop". Sometimes it is very wierd to me that I will actually have on hand the items necessary to work on a piece, even in the correct colors! For instance, here I wanted to use a pinky-salmon acrylic paint as a light wash on the canvas, and lo and behold, there it was in my stash! (I never use acrylic paints, but I had purchased several for a class that I ended up never taking a couple of years ago! Whoever woulda thunk it?) It's those magical moments that make me think that my decision in color must be the right one! Thanks to my Swedish cousin Eva, I am fortunate to have copies of many of my grandparents' immigration papers, so I transferred them onto the watercolor paper, the silk and the cotton. My grandmother Augusta (Gusty) taught me my first embroidery stitches, so I attached most of the fibers together using hand-dyed perle cotton, either in cross stitch or French knots.

Here's a closeup of the collaged photos, left to right: my Grandparents and my Mother and Uncle Eldon; my Grandparents on their wedding day; my Mother.

As I think I've told you before, I was very attached to both of my Grandmothers, but I truly admired Gusty, for her spunk and her talent: she left her Swedish homeland and family, on her own, at age 16; worked for many years here cleaning homes for those more prosperous than she and my Grandpa; she could sew anything, embroider and crochet with the best of them, garden like a Master Gardener, and cook like a celebrated chef. And she always made me feel like I was the best! Thanks Gusty!!!



Gerrie said...

Ooooh! I really like this, Judy. I love the stitching. The colors are very soothing and vintage looking. More, more!!

Eva Hagbjärn said...

What a lovely piece of work you have made out of the old photos and the small rusty things.

I’m really happy that I found those photos (and letters) at my parent-in-law’s attic.


Jeannie said...

Judy, this is beautiful. A wonderful tribute and so much fun to view.

Patsy said...

Great work Judy!!! I am getting ready to do something similar with my Swedish ancestors. Have been collecting materials for a few months now!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Until I read that her name was Augusta, I was reading it as "gutsy," which seems to be appropriate too.

Beautiful piece.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing piece of art! I love the fact that your grandmother means so much to you, so that makes this a more endearing piece, with alot of heart! She would be proud.