Recent Work – Lace & Textiles
August 13 – September 7, 1999
excerpt from Leather and Lace by Frank Green
from the Cleveland Free Times August, 1999
A noteworthy exhibition in Tremont this month is a show at Southside Gallery of recent work by Christina Cassara, a conceptually minded fiber artist and professor at Cleveland Institute of Art who rarely exhibits locally. She uses Battenberg lace that is hand-made in China and stitched together with images made with computerized embroidery machines. Images of hands predominate, together with texts from songs called “lace tells,” which were chanted by girls and young women to alleviate the tedium of labor- intensive work in 17th- to 19th-century English lace-making shops.
A series called Immigration consists of embroidered images of China, Sicily and the Dominican Republic, three nations known for lace work, each country surrounded by lace that radiates out like ocean currents. This, together with the images of hands and the words from the songs, are a tribute to a stream of tradition, to the makers of lace past
and present around the world. Like a knot in the lace itself, Cassara feels tied to this tradition, carried through centuries and across oceans by thousands of women, arriving literally in a computerized America.