I was very excited to be asked by Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting to join the Spring 2017 edition of the “Art With Fabric Blog Hop!” If you are not familiar with the Art with Fabric Blog Hop, contributors are asked to create an art work inspired by a ‘conventional’ piece of art – it could be a painting, a carving, a sculpture from any era – that leaves choices pretty open for the contributor I would say. The ‘theme’ for the spring 2017 hop was women. We could choose an inspiration piece made by a woman artist… or a piece that displays a woman… or a piece that represents some kind of women related theme… How we were to include or interpret the theme was left completely up to us.
The invitation to participate came in a few days after the inauguration of a new U.S. president – a time where tensions in the U.S. were running high you might say. Hundreds of thousands of women had just marched to express concern about the future of women’s issues and rights.
As I accepted the invitation to participate in the blog hop, my mind went immediately to a sculpture that sits in a park in Rochester NY near the National Susan B Anthony House – the home of the legendary American women’s rights leader during the most politically active period of her life, from 1866 until her death in 1906. It is now a permanent memorial to Anthony and the cause of women’s rights.
The bronzed sculpture called “Let’s Have Tea,” created by Rochester sculptor Pepsy Kettavong, was erected in 2001 — at the behest of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. It portrays Ms. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, two early local champions of civil rights sharing a cup of tea. The famous suffragist and abolitionist were close friends who shared the common goals of social justice and civil rights.
I loved the sculpture the moment I laid eyes upon it. A cup of tea has special symbolism in so many cultures. In my Irish homeland, a cup of tea is often the first thing you are offered upon visiting someone’s home. In Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson wrote that in the high tension areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan any meetings of substance always began with sharing tea.
And, so, I chose Pepsy Kettavong’s sculpture for my inspirational piece. I created an art quilt, using the silouhette of Susan B. Anthony and called it “It’s time for Tea!” I can definitely visualize Ms. Anthony taking to task those who are attempting to govern the U.S. now, reminding them it is time to sit down, discuss, and begin to work together.
Please do check out the other artists in the Spring 2017 Art With Fabric Blog Hop who are posting their creations today: