Mary Smull: Reclaiming Unfinished Needlepoint

Terminal B

Since 2008, Philadelphia fiber artist Mary Smull has been working on a needlepoint series, Finished Works. It is her mission “to eliminate the worldwide phenomenon of unfinished needlepoint.”  To fulfill this goal, Smull collects her source material – all of those unwanted, unfinished needlepoint projects – from online auctions, thrift stores, flea markets, or where ever she can find them. Using only white yarn, Smull finishes each needlepoint structurally, but not visually as it was once intended. She purposefully uses white yarn because it preserves and differentiates the labor of the original owner with Smull’s contribution to the completion of the piece. Depending upon each needlepoint’s state of completion, or lack of completion upon receipt, some projects have very few stitches sewn while others are nearly finished. In either, Smull’s white yarn creates a stark contrast within the presence of the original, colorful yarn and serves as a permanent reminder of each needlepoint’s prior state of incompletion.   

 

www.marysmull.com