POWELL, Wyo. - “deduction, speculation, and fantasy,” an exhibit of embroidered photo art by Billings artist Jane Waggoner Deschner opens in Powell Tuesday, Nov. 1, with a 4:30 p.m. artist’s reception in SinClair Gallery on the Northwest College campus.
Deschner’s artworks begin with old found photographs which she works in a couple of ways.
“Most often,” Deschner said, “I embroider text and/or images into the original artifact. In one series, I stitch together snapshots to make sculptural garments (for example, a life-size t-shirt). Sometimes I make large digital prints of photographs I’ve worked with in Photoshop.”
For almost a decade, Deschner has collected, studied and altered early- to mid-twentieth century snapshots and studio portraits, movie stills and news photos. She says her work with more than 700 artworks in nearly 20 series has helped her see the found work as a rich repository for learning about the interconnectedness of human nature.
Her latest work concentrates on the interplay of amateur photography with embroidered quotes and drawings.
“Both embroidery and vernacular photography are marginalized mediums,” Deschner claims. “For centuries, embroidery was the primary creative expression practiced by everyday people. Embroidery inscribes words and images; sewing binds photographs together. Stitching by hand into these photos, I puncture and suture, wound and heal, simultaneously, meditatively. An intimate interaction between paper and thread grows.
“When I began embroidering into photos in 2007, I reveled in the intimate touch of my hand and the connection to generations of ordinary needle crafters and amateur photographers.”
Deschner starts her creative process by carefully selecting works and photos that resonate together.
"The quotes and images I embroider give me a chance to moralize, in sampler-esque form, on thoughts and lessons my aging maternal self wants to share—accountability, acceptance, love, honesty, respect, compassion, gratitude and generosity. Using a quote from a famous person brings with it the weight and credibility of that person’s reputation, stature, fame and accomplishments.”
An artist, graphic designer, curator and educator, Deschner earned her master of fine arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2002. She serves on the Montana Arts Council and the Advisory Committee to the Montana State University-Bozeman School of Art.
Her work can be found in public collections in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska, and in private collections from Washington state to Washington D.C., plus Korea.
“deduction, speculation, and fantasy” hangs in SinClair Gallery through Dec. 19. Located in the Orendorff Building, the gallery is open from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free.