Quilting Project Gallery
An Artists' Trinity
The three quilts on this page are all part of a Master's Thesis Project for Union Theological Seminary. They were created over a three year period. Each quilt has a link to detailed close ups of the work. Please click on the Back Story link to find information about the entire project.
Posey Krakowsky is a theologian, artist, and musician. A lifelong fiber artist, Posey’s specialty is quilting, but she also knits, weaves, paints, sews and beads. Her quilting pieces are multi-layered and rich. Each one takes many months to complete.
Posey is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of New York. She currently serves as the curate at the Church of St Luke in the Fields in the West Village. She earned her Masters in Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York in 2012, and then a Masters in Sacred Theology from the General Theological Seminary in 2015. She has also worked as a hospital chaplain and as a protest chaplain to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Before going to Union, Posey was an art teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, New York. In her 20’s, she spent 10 years working in the garment center for Ralph Lauren Women’s Wear and Calvin Klein Inc. Posey is a graduate of Harvard University. She is the mother of two young adult children and lives in New York with her husband, Philippe Krakowsky.
April 11 - May 26, 2104
The Narthex Gallery at Saint Peter's Church
Reception May 2, 6 - 8 PM
The story of Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon (Asura Mahisa) is one of the many tales of the Great Goddess -- part of the Devi Mahatmya, a song that has been sung to the Goddess since the 5th or 6th century CE. In this song, the ultimate reality of the universe is understood to be feminine. The inspiration for this quilt came from my work in recent years around social and sexual justice issues for women. I needed to speak with a feminine voice of wholeness and strength in order to resist the systemic forces which continue to silence and harm women. The quilt shows Durga at the moment of impact when her spear decapitates the buffalo demon; that is why the demon's head is upside down and separate from its body.
Excerpt from the Devi Mahatmya (translation by Thomas B. Coburn):
You are the cause of all the worlds; although possessed of the three qualities, by faults you are not known; you are unfathomable even by Hari, Hara, and the other gods.
You are the resort of all, you are this entire world that is composed of parts, for you are the supreme, original, untransformed Prakrti.
O Goddess, you are insight, knowing the essence of all scripture, you are Durga, a vessel upon the ocean of life that is so hard to cross, devoid of attachments.
O Goddess, may you, the supreme one, be gracious to life; enraged, you can destroy whole families in a trice.
This is now known, since the extensive power of the Asura Mahisa has been brought to an end.
O Durga, when called to mind, you take away fear from every creature; when called to mind by the healthy, you bestow an exceedingly pure mind.
O you who destroy poverty, misery, and fear, who other than you is always tender-minded, in order to work benefits for all?
With what may this prowess of yours be compared? Where is there such a form, exceedingly charming, yet striking fear into enemies?
Compassion in mind and severity in battle are seen in you, O Goddess, who bestow boons even upon the triple world.
This world was rescued by you, through the destruction of its enemies; having slain them at the peak of the battle.
With your spear protect us, O Goddess! And with your sword protect us!
Protect us with the sound of your bell, and with the twang of your bowstring!
I believe I have been a fiber artist since before I can remember. As a young child, I would frequently pluck the fur from my beloved stuffed animals just to relish the sensation of twisting the strands between my fingers. As I got older, my great aunt taught me to quilt – a traditional skill that retained an important place in southern culture even before the Bicentennial inspired the national quilt revival in the 1970's.
I began my first quilt in 4th grade, and I didn’t finish it until college. Along the way, I learned dressmaking, knitting and weaving. I made the majority of my clothes in high school and college – many of them based on patterns and styles from other times in history and other cultures. When I left school for the working world, I gravitated back to quilting as a means of self-expression. Since then, it has remained the dominant medium of my art.
Though I was thoroughly trained as a traditional quilter, I rapidly moved beyond those parameters. My work does not have a distinctive style, because each quilt presents new challenges that force me to learn or adapt different techniques. Some pieces are highly improvisational, changing radically from conception to execution. Others adhere to more traditional rules. Some are completely hand made; others combine machine and hand techniques. Over the years, I have incorporated calligraphy, painting, beading and natural elements in my work to provide additional texture, dimension and depth.
My quilts are highly personal and frequently directly referential to a specific person or event. A typical piece will hold several "in jokes" or clues to the personality of the recipient. While the creation of a quilt may honor a specific occasion, they are usually made simply "because someone is on my mind." Because my source of inspiration is most often another person, I own very few of my pieces.
While the initial stages of design and inspiration are very exciting, a quilt maker has to honor the process in order to realize such time consuming works. For me, the act of sewing becomes meditative. My father used to call my early works incredible "labors of love." It would not be an understatement to say that my quilts are my expression of delight and gratitude for all that life brings.
In the fall of 2007, three artists met at Union Theological Seminary. Although they were strangers, they were immediately drawn to each other on the first day of orientation. This project is the story of their friendship - and the output of a collaboration of their work in which the dance of the Spirit has been made manifest through art.
The digital artist, Lobi RedHawk, made a piece entitled LOVE'S WITNESS as a gift for the fiber artist, Posey Krakowsky. Inspired by Lobi's art, Posey proposed a joint project that would utilize the work of all three artists. charlee huffman, the poet, was willing to be involved. Initially, there was to be one quilt which linked:
But charlee wrote three poems - offering them as a bounty from which Posey could choose. The die was cast, and the project grew exponentially. Three artists, three poems, three quilts: each one using all three elements. The result is a trinity of quilts that powerfully imagine each unique person in the group, and yet maintain a unity of intention that binds them unmistakably into a cohesive whole. The work is a dance - a perichoresis of the lives of three individuals forever entwined in relationship: "distinct but not separate." Through an intentional act of seeing by the fiber artist - each of the three artists has been holy/wholly represented in her singularity. And yet the three quilts are also deeply inter-related, indivisible, and form a whole - just as the myriad distinct pieces of any and every quilt come together to form a whole cloth unit.
The process of "seeing" -- of appreciation -- of purposeful attention without the attempt to incorporate -- constitutes a radical act of love. This project proposes that such acts of intentional seeing are a form of extraordinarily powerful dialogue with "the other" -- a way in to relationship that purposefully suspends judgment and even verbal definition in order to resist appropriation. This love reveals the other to the seer, and transforms her in the process. In return, those who are seen are also transformed, for by being truly seen, they are valued as individuals. It is the aim of this project to show that such transformation does not compromise the non-negotiable specificity of the unique individual selves involved, but instead makes a way for each to honor and appreciate the irreducible singularity of the others.
My foray into digital graphic design began in 2002.
I found that I am able to articulate my political and spiritual truths with more shared understanding through this medium than in conversation. As a result, my work in video and digital graphic design is dedicated to issues of social justice.
One of life's precious gifts is the shared presence of another within one’s psychic sphere. In such a relationship there are moments of profound emotional intensity that transcend words. My desire to express devotion in friendship gave birth to "LOVE'S WITNESS".
The exchange of seeing another fully and being seen in return is a balm that soothes the soul and affirms our intentionality.
I am humbled to participate in a revelation of 'seeing and being seen.'
Posey, Lobi and i met the first day of orientation as we were beginning our respective journeys at Union. Lobi and i were sitting, having already gravitated to one another (i think Lobi just wanted to sit with Rachel…but in so doing she got me too…) and i remember seeing Posey walk into James Chapel. She was all long hair and long skirt and i felt like i was seeing an aspect of myself—i immediately moved my things off of the chair next to me and Lobi and i made room for her. Without hesitating she veered over to us and took a seat. Over the next several years we took classes together, prayed,studied, laughed and sometimes cried. We made a vow not to use the word ‘hermeneutics’ in a paper during our tenure at seminary and i think we managed to uphold that oath. Most importantly, the three of us (four including Rachel who was ever present) shared time, and in so doing we were able to share that ineffable quality that makes someone identifiable as sister.
When Posey asked me several years ago (my how time flies!) to share some poems with her for this quilt project i was honored, surprised and intrigued. Not knowing much about ‘domestic arts’ (indeed darning socks is about the extent of my ability in the realm of needle and thread) i had no idea how she might incorporate the written word. Looking through my work i wasn’t sure what to offer, nor was i sure that ‘ink and fabric’ would work together in a coherent way but i trusted the vision of my friend and chose three poems, “The Revelation of Gethsemane”, “Algebraic Order”, “O Felix Culpa” to contribute to her work. The poems i chose were meant to be reflective of the domestic sphere, indeed much of my work can be described as ‘domestic,’ which is to say that it reflects the experience of the particular, making no ‘universal’ claims per se. Now that i have seen her the finished work and the way she has included not only poetry but also the visual art work of Lobi Redhawk, i understand too that Posey roots her work in the particular, using the minutia of life to broadcast a ‘big picture’ vision. The way she included not only three art forms but also stitched three artists (and beloved friends) into a coherent whole reflects ‘dialogue’, a way of allowing the work of distinct artists to speak and listen and in so doing she creates a space in which the viewer becomes no more or less important than the artist(s).
Each of us will see different aspects of these quilts and will connect to them in ways that are perhaps unexpected. For me, some of the most powerful visuals are on the backs of the quilts where the evidence of the bareness and function of the art form is profoundly visible and where the contributions made by Lobi and myself become a seamless aspect of the whole. The backs are the ‘function’, a raw space that is uniquely ‘Posey’ and yet is evidence of the contributions of others and illustrates the circularity of life/death. Making friends has never been particularly easy for me, i find it much simpler to avoid the breath and cling to the words but for whatever reason Posey and Lobi have been woven into my life and i consider them to be a gift of Wakanda. For this i am profoundly grateful.
waking before summer the tense shifts to past.
effort unravels gravity tongue, bleeding
words given. the form ends in light
shading sky. fingertips light,
this touch is laughter. seasons passed,
addressed confusion. sense bleeds,
leaving only translation, meaning bleeding
into morning. welcome home lightening
lines left by what came to pass.
this season is not past; the trees are bleeding light.
O Felix Culpa
o felix culpa - meriting so great a redemption
an indeed list of faults, bought and sold wrongs traded for a moment’s approbation,
you know this slight of love, slights of fallen dates, far countries of humiliation,
sins of withholding
across the kitchen’s table. coming to glory over burnt crumbles and coffee. sinner saints
united in breakfast, manifest.
then to the prostitution, praying for pay and playing at work, and later? begging at heels,
paying to pray. the manger is always in the manure with the jackasses of god.
braying a remembered thanks, the calling at hand.
there is no geography in the afterlife.
a teaspoon is not to be overlooked, a small sweet spreading over the rank. occurring
together in faith hoping love, come to trial. you told me it wasn’t so. and so
this yet comes as a surprise, a complex martyr eating chocolate cake thick with coconut
and walls. this impenetrable hurt, the love here is prayer.
the future pregnant brings with it home a purple bag of evidence, maintained fingers,
tracking letters, eager for a break in the smooth.
which has the gift of seeing god’s love?
the nations containing all that is outside the bounds, distinct separation of ages, overlaid
with the prophesy bridge.
there is no sense in heaven, the space itself overrun with give-me hands, flexing and
resting in the void.
the already and not now lap at swollen feet. a soulful narcotic, am i to leave this stove,
this sink, this death which is not mine? toes read the linoleum frays, years worn here. no
proof in soap fat air.
The Revelation of Gethsemane
the revelation of gethsemane is necessity of doubt. amid the greens,
the event particularities there are marriages of text, a metanarrative
coming into the gallery there are petals on the floor, floating the carpet.
these are welcome pink white fallout, a few scattered leaves among.
blown by the same winds, the same winds pulling at the scarves.
magpie thieves writing in the dark, spider words absconding with thoughts
of love under patrolman’s unbenign eye. her uniform navy waving through
suspicious package of verbage.
the hallucination continues sex thick, rolling mouths tumbling insufficient
skin. from here the plaza promise of idle afternoon and misshapen fountains
mapped by a city’s midnight constellation.
from the vantage of penthouse access, the eastside sidewalk calling from
roof’s edge the beloved. most undelicious foretaste, a florescent flavor, a
spice rubbed hum.
along the cage, bow and stern, a hollow of rib. this ship coming in on washes
of orange, salt, orange. a coalition of visions and the release of blue, white,
blue siren night.