Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Self-Portrait Collaboration

(If you mouse over the image, the artist's name will appear)


"What is the Common Thread that we as artists share? What are the ties that bind us together? We are not like one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. Artists are more like a collage, many patches, many pieces, many colors and sizes bound and held together by a common thread."

I sent a bag of 'threads' along with the book, asking each artist to incorporate one on their page. Many chose one of their own, others none. The beauty of a collaboration is in how each artists interprets the theme. As we worked over the years, even the concept of self-portrait became stretched and re-interpreted. Isn't any artwork a portrait or snapshot of the artist at any given time?

My book was constructed in such a way so that the artists could work on their page freely, whether painting or stitching, and not interfere with page behind it. Two gessoed canvas pages were bound together with grommets (patinaed in a flame) and vintage bark cloth, but left open on all of the other sides for easy access. It was my intention to stitch them closed when the book was returned, but so many artists used the inside area to write me notes or even add additional artwork, that they will remain open.

I didn't ask, nor did I expect everyone to sew their page, but many, including those who did not sew, wanted to rise to the challenge. What you see above are the gorgeous and varied to my Common Thread theme. If the slide show doesn't run well on your slower computer connection, you can just click on it and you will be taken to the page to view it as stills.

25 Participating Artists

Lesley Riley
Nina Bagley
Jeanne Minnix
Claudine Hellmuth
Anne Bagby
Lisa Renner
Lynn Whipple
John Whipple
Keely Barham
Pam Garrison
Syd McCutcheon
Teesha Moore
Tracy Moore
Lesley Jacobs
Beth Black
Sarah Fishburn
Lisa Hoffman
Anne Grgich
Shirley Ende-Saxe
Lynne Perrella
Karen Michel
Michelle Ward
Judi Riesch
Bee Shay
LK Ludwig
+ one mystery artist! (no one has come forward at this point)


Sequana said...

What a wonderful and beautiful project to see on an Easter Sunday.

Thx so much for sharing it with us.

arlee said...

A beautiful beautiful artwork!

Gisela Towner said...

Amazing! This is the first thing I looked at today and I think it will really be inspirational in my own work for the day. What a very special book!

beadbabe49 said...

Fabulous collaboration...very inspirational!

Anonymous said...

It is really awesome!!
cheers Rebecca in NZ

Carol said...

Lesley, what a beautiful collection of pages. I had no idea when you spoke of it that it would be so inspiratonal. You must be thrilled to bits. The slide show worked so well to show the pages one by one at just the right speed. Congratulatons to you and all involved. Carol

Shirley Ende-Saxe said...

This is SOOO cool! It's like having the whole book here in front of me, minus the textures of course. Loved all the different ways to look through the slides and really enjoyed all the art. It was worth waiting for!

vsgreaves said...

This is beautiful. You are so lucky to have this -- it is very special.

alex s said...

Truly beautiful. Would love to see it "in person." It always amazes me how differently each person interprets a single theme. Very much a treatise to our uniqueness (despite the human genome findings :-)

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Wow! This is so inspiring to look at. You must be thrilled. Thanks for letting us have a look.

alex s said...

Hi Lesley-

I sent you my email (email to email) but thought I'd leave it here too (really just wanted to visit the beautiful Art Heart again :-)

it is alexpshur at gmail dot com.

Lorri Scott said...


What a special book for you. It's great and thanks for sharing!


Mary lin Huskamp said...

LOve the artwork in the slide show.
What fun it must have been to collaborate on such a fun project.



Lorna Arlett said...

What a great project! love all the artwork!

Connie said...

Gorgeous! well worth the wait!

michelle ward said...

lesley - thanks for sharing the pages in your common thread journal. i was amazed at all the work you put into making it. loved your page with the hands. so wonderful to see all the pages presented like this. your book was a challenge for me because i had no idea what to do on FABRIC and then how to use that THREAD!

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.