The Franklin Gallery at RiverStones Custom Framing, 33 N. Main Street, Rochester, will host an exhibit during March entitled Stitched Retrospective: Art Quilts from the Collection of Merrilyn San Soucie. Due to Covid concerns, there will be no opening reception. However, visitors can schedule meet the artist or gallery talks on Wednesdays, Fridays 11:30-3:00 p.m, Saturdays 10:30-1:00 p.m.
Merrilyn San Soucie, of Newmarket, and lifelong NH resident, followed a love of textiles and sewing into a career of quiltmaking. Her love of nature from growing up in the then very rural Strafford showed up in several large quilts, which earned her a Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. “Being added to the teaching roster influenced my evolution as an artist, creating and teaching around the state as an Artist in Residence. Teaching in various forms including children’s classes at my studio wove in and out of my life. As an art teacher at East Kingston Elementary, I investigated other media and began creating art journals, sometimes using fabrics and my sewing machine to add interest.”
“The work for this exhibit exemplifies a variety of ways I was inspired to work in textiles,” explains San Soucie. “There are small, experimental works with the machine, hand stitching, and varied types of embellishments. The detail of ‘Dot, Cora, Florence, and Me’ shows the curved hand piecing in a design that has fabrics from a childhood neighbor’s collection, some yellow fabrics from work I did for my mother-in-law, and in a sunflower pattern I designed for my friend Dot.”
The smaller pieces represent the journaling work San Soucie explored at this time. One-piece, “Mushroom Diaries” consists of a few small hand-stitched textile journals assembled in a single piece. The “Pine Tree Journal Quilt” also started life as a small fabric journal whose pages were copied onto silk and included in the wall hanging. More traditional pieces such as “Couldn’t Get Into the Silence” evolved from a poem written as part of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. The central portion of this medallion style quilt is foundation pieced log cabin blocks using Dupioni silk. That is the rich silence sometimes needed to balance the business of life around us, as represented on the experimental corners of this piece.
“I am looking forward to sharing this selection of pieces from my work,” says San Soucie. “I can be available for gallery talks, or meet the artist pre-arranged through the gallery.”
The Franklin Gallery and RiverStones Custom Framing are open Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Unless otherwise indicated, all exhibited Franklin Gallery artworks are available for purchase. For information about this and future Franklin Gallery exhibits, contact Kris Ebbeson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-812-1488.