in looking at embroidery artists lately, i was reminded of one of the most memorable pieces i saw when i visited the prinzhorn collection in heidelberg, germany last january: the beautiful and heartbreaking agnes richter jacket.
agnes richter, a patient in a mental asylum in austria in the 1890's, spent her days embroidering text on to the jacket of her hospital uniform in attempts to record her life story. agnes, who had been a seamstress before her incarceration, painstakingly embroidered onto every part of the surface, both inside and out, sometimes so intensively that the text was illegible.
i deeply connected with what i saw as her need to communicate something about herself, to use whatever was available to leave her mark in some way. beyond the emotional gravity of the text and story, the way she transformed something institutional into such an expression of herself is fascinating and inspiring.
because it is so delicate, the jacket is not always out on view. when i visited prinzhorn, it was being kept in an archival box in one the art storage areas. we were taken behind the scenes by the lovely thomas for a special viewing, which is when i took these photos.
more images from this trip are here, and more posts about art inspiration can be found here