beck's blog

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Time For Peace

Last year I found a needlepoint for sale that had barely been started. It had no thread or instructions with it; only the canvas.
The canvas had a small square cut out of the bottom left and, (I believe), was used to "patch" a spot in the middle of the canvas where someone had spilled something on it or poked a hole in it.

ANYWAY, I saw this needlepoint for sale and I knew I just had to get it and finish it.

I recognized the artwork as something I had seen on the wall in the office of my children's old pediatrician. I remember staring up at it many times and thinking how beautiful it was. Here is a picture of the actual painting. (Click on the photo to enlarge it).


I googled the painting and found it to be called
Mother and Child by
Artist - Irene Awret

I was surprised when I got the canvas that it had been started with 6-strand floss, (like you would use for cross stitch projects), and not wool tapestry thread like I expected. I have made a million cross stitch pictures and had saved every used card of floss since I started so I was happy to finally get the chance to use all this left-over floss.

So, here is my finished needlepoint version of Mother and Child by Irene Awret.


As you can see, I took liberties with the colors. I thought, since her sweater looked kind of Nordic, (as with the beautiful intarsia knitting patterns you see), that I'd give her red-gold hair and green eyes. I pictured the child with lots and lots of curly hair. I had to make his sweater striped since I didn't have enough of one red color to complete it all in that same red. Also with the mother's skin. Lots of peachy colors.

The "frame" of the picture was really fun. I used Many different colors instead of the all-gold for the background behind the words for Peace. (There are four words meaning Peace here. The top is Peace in English, French on the bottom, Hebrew on the left, and I'm not positive about the right side. It's hard to find a translation from a language that doesn't resemble the English alphabet, (like Chinese for example). But I think it may be Arabic.


Here's the horrible-looking back along with a photo of the front alongside my bag of left-over thread floss, (still overflowing).
Hmm, maybe she has other needlepoints. I know she has a whole series of artwork on "Peace".

I'd love to do the girl with flute I saw here on a blog which I believe her grandson has created to sell art prints of her work. I didn't see any needlework kits offered. Maybe it was sold as a kit back in the 70's when it was first made.

According to that site, there's one of her prints hanging in the White House. During the Jimmy Carter years I think.
Artist Irene Awret has also written a biography called, "They'll Have To Catch Me First" published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
This page has a brief description of the book.
The life-saving power of art

Berlin 1939. A few months after Kristallnacht, eighteen-year old Irene Spicker tries to flee to Belgium but ends up in a Nazi prison. Freed after a few weeks, she tries again—this time, in the dark of night, she successfully crosses the frontier. The Germans invaded Belgium, and Irene was forced into hiding. Constantly on the move, she worked as a farmhand, at one point using false identity papers. Arrested by the Gestapo, she sat in a cellar prison cell destined for transport to Auschwitz. To calm her fears, she made a small detailed drawing of her hand which was to save her life. Incarcerated in the concentration camp in Mechlen, she was assigned to paint signs, posters and numbers for her co-prisoners to wear around their necks. This is Irene Awret's story of her first twenty-five years, from coming of age in a middle-class Jewish family to Mechlen where she met the young sculptor Azriel Awret, to liberation and freedom once more.

I'll have to see if I can find this book at the library. I read the small snippet from the grandson's blog link above and it sounds very interesting.

I hope she doesn't mind my changing of the colors of her artwork.
I really love this painting and her work. I can't wait to frame it!


  • This turned out beautifully, Beck. I love it. You find such COOL things.

    By Blogger Mariana, at 9:01 AM  

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