I briefly wrote about American artist Christine Mauersberger several weeks ago in a previous blog post here. I reached out to Christine to expand on a couple questions I had about her textile work in regards to her inspiration, symbolism and colour choices.
Christine Mauersberger. Guide (detail). 2011. Reclaimed wool skirt
silk/cotton thread, felt, silk eco print, hand stitched. 20″ x 21″
JT: When executing your drawings after a walk, are they predominately from an automatic place or are you also focused on creating a pleasing composition?
CM: They are from an intuitive place. I’m not focused on making a composition of sorts.
Rather that the movement of thoughts are reenacted by the movement of my hand with pen on paper.
Drawing is a time-based medium, the marks that create any drawing never happen all at once, but they show traces of movement in the same way our bodies move in space.
I play music as a way to engage with a sense of place and time.
Both music and drawing go together, they change our sense of time and transform our experience of time.
(I read this idea about music and drawing in Lynda Barry’s book ,
Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor Paperback – October 21, 2014
Christine Mauersberger. Safe and Warm. 2012. Reclaimed wool blanket, hand-stitched, reclaimed wool scarf. 45″ x 45″.
JT: There are several repeated forms within your body of textile work such as the circle and a cross, what do these shapes represent for you?
CM: The circle is a motif that is universal. I use it to represent the ‘self’ or myself, or a being. In my work entitled ‘Guide” the circle is me. In “Safe and Warm”, it is my father.
The cross motif is often directly related to a religious belief. But for me, it refers to making a decision, whether to move left or right, back or forward. The simple cross shape is pleasing to me, it is straight forward and unambiguous in my work. What I mean is that since I’m not using other symbols that relate to religion, it cannot be interpreted as such, at least I do not hope so.
The cross is directly related to representing an artifact of time. Humans do come to crossroads if not daily, most surely when we must make decisions about what is next for ourselves.
Christine Mauersberger. Mind Map. 2011. Linen, silk/cotton thread, hand stitched. 41″ x 40″.
JT: The majority of your stitched works feature white or red thread, what is the significance of these colours in your work?
CM: The only way to understand something is to make things.
When you are making something as we do as artists, you don’t necessarily know what it is that you are making for a really long time.
We make things through our bodies and then must understand how to trust it and listen to it.
This is true for my use of singular colors. (sorry you’re Canadian colours!) 🙂
When I began to stitch in 2009 I used a natural-wool colored embroidery floss and also red because they please me.
I know that red is a strong color. It can mean STOP or represent blood, or danger or even anger.
Over time, I have come to think of the color red to mean life, vitality and strength.
The natural-wool color you refer to as white is still a bit ambiguous for me.
I think of it as pleasing and passive and good and clean and full of potential.
It’s an honest color-non-color.
And when I use it (white) , I’m striving to make something beautiful with very few color components.
I’ve distilled my palette to the least number of colors, and in the case of using white, only one neutral color in order to make a glorious statement about line and beauty.
Thank you so much to Christine for investing time in providing me with very thoughtful and thorough responses.