Strand by strand

Fibers and Printmaking

Investigating characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion.

Read Strand by Strand Artist Statement below


Investigating Characters from The Silmarillion

          Weft by warp, strand by strand, vein by vein, imagery of fibrous systems in this selection of textile and print based works transition in growth and decay, life and death. White tissue and root shift from health and light to rotten black webs of withered darkness. This series explores contamination by placing its toxic role into that of an adversary. Such an evil/villain role continues to intrigue me in its necessity for bringing about light and truth, in advancing hope and redemption. The imagery in Strand by Strand is referenced from a story in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, “Of the Darkening of Valinor” (Chapter 8), and is also part of a larger series in which I am giving visual form and contemporary thought to individual stories found in The Silmarillion.

            Strand by Strand visually translates the contamination of Trees, once sources of light, sucked dry and withered by the venom of the antagonist spider Ungoliant. With printing, dyeing, and embroidery on fabrics and papers, the organisms lose their light and blacken. Hand stitching and free motion embroidery with red threads further magnify the dimming organs in their loss of life, giving an intense emotionalism that references a more contemporary and personal evil for me that is found in disease and dementia. The similarity of root tissue and cellular forms is deliberate, and the layers of fabric and paper mingling and blurring are intended.  Notions of memory loss in my family ironically linger the longest.

           From Tolkien’s text: “[the] Darkness…. had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will.”

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