Sugar, Codes, Place, Hips & Stitching

My Suga Belt is finally done.

Suga Belt, 2012

I admit that it is a crazy mixture of self portraiture, morse code, maps, chemical formulas, kanji and flawed, exuberant stitching.

Detail of glucose molecule with latitude & longitude.

There is a woman named Suga and she runs a shop on the town square of the dramatically-named Carthage, a small, North Carolina town that has seen better days. The shop sells "urban wear." I bought a bright orange, faux leather belt from her for $5.

Carthage town square.

For some inexplicable reason, this brief encounter with the tough, transplanted New Yorker captured my imagination. I felt like I had to break through a hard shell of distrust in order to have a conversation with her; in the end, she warmed up to me, pressing her card into my hand as I left her store.  I sketched and stitched up this piece over several months.

I find chemical formulas strangely beautiful.
Worthy of elegant, long-armed feather stitch.

I used a limited color palette, but many different stitches, including French knots, long-armed feather stitch, woven spider wheel stitch, statin stitch and lots of chains.

I finally feel comfortable making French knots.

And while I was making it, I let my mind wander with the idea of sugar, place, maps and codes. This is an example of what I'd call "large and messy" living and creativity in my life. I gathered and layered as images came to me. No restraints.

It felt like textured, visual poetry. Place names, lines and dashes, compass directions...

Obsession with layers.

Today, my very patient mother helped me mount it (strangely challenging) and now the Suga Belt is in the frame shop. And now I'm switching into high gear and working on gifts for my peeps!

Morse code is like visual poetry.
Carthage, Carthage, Carthage. Find me.

And this makes me happy.