The annual Woodlawn Pope-Leighey Needlework Show is the largest needlework exhibition in the US. Located in a historic property in the greater Washington DC area, this show is unique for another reason: it is judged but not juried, meaning that everyone who submits work will have their work exhibited. Usually, artists submit their work to the jury who curate the show.
I love this inclusive attitude that allows stitchers of all kinds (even those who work from patterns) to have their work included in an exhibition. I have participated in this show before but this year something exciting happened!
I won an award!
This is my first award for my hand embroidery, and I am honored to have been selected. I won the Woodlawn Award, First Place, for “Outstanding Original Design” for my piece “Dr. Fauci’s Burden.”
The 2021 Needlework Show had a theme of “Hindsight 2020: Needlework Expressions of a Historic Year.” I had made a piece already that was pandemic-themed, but it was tied up in a show in Ukraine during the Woodlawn Show, so I decided to make a new piece.
I’ve been pushing my hand embroidery over the last year with a lot of experimenting, so I chose a design that would be a lot of “firsts” for me artistically. I used a busy background, decided to stitch in greyscale, opted for a profile view, and embroidered a hand for the first time.
Here’s my Artist Statement about the piece:
“Dr. Fauci’s Burden” is a portrait that conveys the political and personal turmoil of both its subject and of the nation he served in 2020. Using a profile view of Dr. Fauci, the portrait highlights his bowed head, closed eyes, and a hand pressed to his forehead; a pose was chosen for its emotional conveyance. The stitching was done in grayscale to further communicate the draining burden of leadership during the Coronavirus pandemic. Fabric reminiscent of the United States flag was used as the background to indicate political unrest, the weight of the country’s attention, and the difficulty of navigating both. “Dr. Fauci’s Burden” is a piece representative of the disappointment, sadness, and stress that many other experienced during the year of 2020.
I put a lot of thought into the work and I am absolutely delighted that it won an award at its first show! Opening the box and seeing the ribbons on its return was so fun. I’ve got them hanging up in my studio.