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EMBROIDERED STORIES by Jill Snyder Wallace

Cornelia's Collar

EMBROIDERED STORIES by Jill Snyder Wallace ran September 17 through November 12, 2010. Embroidered Stories was an intriguing collection of embroideries and mixed-media creations by artist Jill Snyder Wallace of Minot, Maine.

Exploring women’s social history through their needlework and Victorian crafts continues to influence Snyder Wallace’s work. Studying traditional needlework techniques and then altering them to address contemporary women’s issues has provided an endless source of inspiration. By using a wide vocabulary of embroidery stitches and the inclusion of found objects, mixed-media fiber art steeped in women’s work associations are created.

Jill Snyder Wallace’s creations are intimate in scale and worthy of close inspection. Although beautiful in appearance, there is often an unsettling aspect. “I find a voice through making art that is not available to me otherwise,” states Snyder Wallace. The content or language of her work is fueled by life experiences. Communicating a thought, question or emotion is a primary focus. Snyder Wallace states, “This labor of love medium enables me to explore and to comment on history, as well as to digest contemporary experiences and to express personal emotion.”

Artist Statement - Jill Snyder Wallace

The textile-inspired fabrications I am currently making with needle and threads are the result of this creative progression. An introduction to a local historical society peaked my interest in exploring social history through material culture. Women's social history as seen through their needlework and Victorian crafts continues to influence my current body of work. I find by using found objects and vintage textiles that there is added meaning through memory and association.

Through making art, I find a voice that is not available to me otherwise. I could not find the words, or the courage in words alone, to present the concepts and emotions I am able to convey through visual statements. By using a wide vocabulary of embroidery stitches, I am able to create mixed media fiber art steeped with women's work associations. This medium enables me to explore and comment on history, as well as to digest contemporary experiences and express personal emotion.

Collar Species Series

Henry-etta's Collar An interest in material culture and the stories objects tell gave birth to the Collar Species Series. It’s common knowledge that what we choose to wear is a reflection of the social influences of our time, as well as our own personal taste and personality. Our clothing then becomes an extension of our defined self. The intimate relationship clothing has to its wearer makes me wonder if a sort of reverse absorption does not transpire. Is there a point when the past owner’s essence becomes impregnated into the fabric allowing the object to becomes an entity in and of itself with its own story to tell? 

Found discarded at flea markets and antique shops without known provenance, each vintage collar encourages examination allowing a distinctive personality to emerge. The collar begins to suggest the environment, not the past owner. The crocheted edgings and other manipulations transcend ornamentation and rather become essential defining characteristics. Displayed in specimen boxes, the collars achieve a newly elevated status, therefore, making them worthy of both contemplation and interpretation in their own right.


Cornelia's Collar, (upper right) by Jill Snyder Wallace, textile-inspired fabrication
Henry-etta's Collar, (lower right) by Jill Snyder Wallace, textile-inspired fabrication