Our Lady of Notions (Art Challenge #3)

Click on photos to enlarge and view as a slide show.


Nuestra Señora de la Merceria
(Our Lady of Notions)

The wooden Madonna which forms the centerpiece of this retablo was hand carved and painted in Oaxaca. She is surrounded by both the “notions” and implements necessary to create beautiful clothing, quilts and other fabric art. Attached to the shrine are various pieces of handicraft, quilts and garments, many of them made by my grandmother. The three tiny much-decorated garments behind her have been presented to her as thank you gifts as well. On the top platform of the retablo, another drama is being enacted. Two tiny silk Chinese figures have cut themselves free of the pincushion they had been sewn onto and have rigged bobbins and thread into an escape device. One has nearly made it to the bottom of the box. Another slides over the edge, armed with a needle, as a third struggles to cut himself free with tiny silver scissors. There seems to be some animosity between those escaped and those about to escape, as signified by the somewhat threatening position of their weapons as well as their steely glares. Surfaces are covered by buttons, needles, thimbles and other sewing notions. On the platform is an antique Singer pattern marking wheel.

This piece was inspired by a church in Michoacan, Mexico where men bring their serapes to drape around the base of the male saint on the altar and all of the women bring gorgeously decorated aprons to drape around the base of the female saint. I had a woman make my basic tiny aprons and then I decorated them.

This was the first retablo that sold the day of the opening of my show. I’m posting photos of in in response to a prompt by Linda Levy, who challenged me to post a different photo of my art each day for ten days.


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About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

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