As a sewing enthusiast, nothing inspires me more than fine art in which stitches create the lines, thread provides the texture, and a needle is in place of a brush. Sarah K. Benning’s threadwork is beginning to make its mark in the world of fine arts. A native of Baltimore, she began working with thread in 2011. Her interest in thread evolved while working with perforated images. Most recently, her work entitled “Sallow” received the coveted Purchasing Award from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Of The Body
When stitching on paper, there is no erase option. There is no way to simply “cover-up” or undo a mistake. Just as with fine fabrics, once the hole is made, it’s permanent. Image getting 99% of this piece finished and realize a stitch is positioned incorrectly.
Her work is created by meticulously stitching on paper by hand. This laborious process emphasizes the qualities of time, as each piece takes hours upon hours to complete. Benning first began working with thread in 2011 as a drawing element in a series of work entitled “A Love Story”. She used sewing thread and embroidery floss in pinks and reds to connect ameboid perforated shapes.
A Love Story
“Working with thread on paper, and more recently on photographic prints, adds a layer of texture that can’t be achieved the same way with paint or other drawing materials. That tactile quality is what attracts me to it as a medium.
I think working with thread on paper also presents an additional layer of challenge to the composition of drawings because there are certain limitations like having to manipulate straight lines and not really having the choice of erasing or greatly altering “marks” that have already been made.”
– Sarah Benning
Of the Body
Benning’s images, which seem ambiguous and abstract, are actually most often related to the human body, and more specifically the patterns of reproduction, growth, and eventual decay.
Recently, she has transitioned to a more whimsical series entitled “Imaginary Landscapes” consisting of stitched landscapes, nature-inspired drawings, and failed disposable camera prints. This series is composed of fine art pieces and less-involved works sold as greeting cards.
Interestingly, the highly repetitive nature of her work is an outlet for stress and anxiety. It is an escape from daily challenges and an outlet by which she can examine insecurities and transform them into beautiful abstractions.
Many of us can relate as we tirelessly piece a quilt or construct a quality garment. It is our escape and our own world where we can examine and challenge ourselves. And in the end, after hours of cutting, sewing, and seam ripping, we have a masterpiece in which we can feel pride and gain confidence.
For more information, visit Sarah K. Benning’s website as it is filled with inspiration and a unique perspective for any fine art lover.