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Multiple plate intaglio (collagraph, drypoint), pochoir, and letterpress on Rives BFK 280gsm paper in an edition of 12 plus 4 proofs. Signed, dated, and numbered on the verso, lower right corner, in pencil. Printed by Lee Marchalonis. Published by Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; Pace Gallery, New York; and Signal-Return Press, Detroit.
Sheet: 21 x 19 ½ inches
Letterpress text reproduced on Lucy’s Sampler:
Lucy was my “bonus grandmother,” orphaned in 1915 during the Armenian Genocide when she was a young child. My paternal grandparents took her into their home around 1925, before my father was born, when Lucy was about thirteen years old.
Before that, Lucy lived in the Bird’s Nest, an orphanage in the Lebanese town of Jbeil, north of Beirut. The young girls were taught various domestic skills in the hope that these might secure their futures. Lucy was particularly skilled at needlepoint and embroidery. Although she came to my grandparents’ home with virtually nothing, her needlepoint sampler was among her belongings. It is one of the only artifacts from her earlier life; the fact that it survives attests to its importance. This was her CV, proof of a skill set that might make her useful in someone’s life and ensure her survival.
This print was made by placing a clear piece of plastic over Lucy’s sampler and tracing over every one of her marks with an engraving tool. I had never used an engraving tool before, and, like Lucy, I was practicing my marks as I made them. This print is one sampler, generated by another.
Lucy spent her entire life taking care of other people: sewing, mending, ironing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, and cleaning. Although very important, this kind of work rarely leaves a material trace. Lucy’s work was deeply appreciated, but perhaps recording it here makes it ever so slightly more permanent.