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Roz Ritter - Reflections of an Ordinary Life : Drawing with Thread
I am a fiber artist and visual storyteller, piecing together personal stories, using hand embroidery and digital photo transfer techniques. I draw inspiration from my paternal great grandmother, Rose, who was a seamstress in the summer palace of Franz Joseph during the Ottoman Empire, my father, Lew, who was a haberdasher to the stars and the Bayeaux Tapestry as well as historical American samplers.
I love the entire process of creating my art pieces…from the research…to designing the visual stories…to the meditative aspect of hand embroidering (an art form that has its origins tracing back to the Iron Age)
Reflections on an Ordinary Life is my hand embroidered autobiographical body of work that spans generations, honoring my ancestors, my parents and my life.
Hand Embroidery, photo transfer, vintage Jewish prayer shawl (Tallis)
My paternal great grandparents fled the pogroms and emigrated from a small village in Austria Hungary, between 1884-1888. I hand embroidered, on a vintage Jewish prayer shawl (a Tallis) their journey from Humenna to NYC through Ellis Island. In 1955 my family settled in Southern California. Migrants reads from right to left like a Hebrew prayer book. The outlined photo was taken at my father’s Bar Mitzvah, c.1920, and the chicken soup recipe was handed down in my family from my great grandmother. I embroidered my family’s history with each of our Hebrew names between the blue stripes. We were the lucky ones!
My parent’s generation, “The greatest generation"
My mother’s wedding dress, silk embroidery thread, photo transferred love letters.
I embroidered my father’s love letters onto my mother’s wedding dress. They met over Memorial Day Weekend in the summer of 1935 in the Catskill Mountains. One year later, they were married and remained together until his passing in 1990.
And my generation which I call “The Swing Generation” because we are not baby boomers, nor do we remember World War II.
More Things to Do
Vintage Brownie Dress (circa 1949) Polyester fabric, embroidery thread, photo transfer from Brownie Scout Handbook.
This piece, with its oversized Brownie tie represents the expectations and burdens imposed on girls who were raised in the 1950's.
Self Portrait (1962-1977)
c.1962 deconstructed linen wedding dress (belonging to the artist), hand embroidery, photo transfer.
The story of my transformation from a 1950’s housewife in Los Angeles to living in a tipi in the San Cruz Mountains embroidered on my deconstructed wedding dress which represents our divorce and the damages I did to my marriage in the process.
If it Wrinkles it Must be Real
Hand embroidery, photo transfer (photo of the artist), crepe de chine
Now...many decades later, in my 70's, I feel blessed to have the perspective that only comes with age. But also, with age comes aging skin and with aging skin comes wrinkles. Each line on my face has a story to tell. This piece reflects on how I earned them.
"An unexamined life is not worth living."---Socrates