Monday, April 11, 2011

Christine Mauersberger: Stitched Maps - Real and Imagined

Cross Roads Map I - 2009
embroidery floss on vintage linen - 9" x 9"

Christine Mauersberger is an artist I met through participation in Artist As Quiltmaker and the web. We quickly realized we have many similiar life experiences and our friendship began.

Using fabric and stitch, Chris creates artworks she calls "maps". The work is quiet, comtemplative, delicate and enticing. The work invites questions.

Nelson - 2009
embroidery floss on vintage linen - 9" x 9"


Terry: What is the meaning of map making in your work?

Chris: Each mark I make by stitching, drawing or printing represents a mental navigation through a place, whether real or imagined, therefore the finished pieces are maps that only I can read.

Redland II Drawing - 2009
marker on paper - 14" x 10"

Redland II Map -2009
embroidery floss on vintage linen - 18" x 18"

Learning to read maps was instilled in me at childhood. Maps were important to my father and in turn, he wanted his children to know how to read them. When I learned to drive, my dad would open the city map and plot a course for navigation, noting landmarks for me. Maps were a way to communicate with my dad. If he knew that I understood my surroundings, I wouldn't become lost.

Move - 2009
work in progress

Terry: How have you come to this concept and the textile medium?

Chris: A little over two years ago, I decided that I didn't want to do anything that didn't make me happy.

I started to draw small marks in my sketchbook using a red marker. These drawings were pleasing and meditative. Soon these marks started to have a formal language for me. I realized that I could daydream about places and allow the marks to evoke the movement through those places.

Within a short time, a desire to stitch the drawings onto fabric became evident. Without a conscious notion of the outcome, I cut a swatch of cloth from a vintage linen tablecloth and began to stitch. I only knew that I wanted my stitches to achieve the same look and feel on fabric as my marks did on paper.

I enjoy thinking that my new marks gave the fabric a new purpose. That piece of cloth was the genesis of working with previously owned fabrics.

Cross Roads Drawing - 2009
marker on paper - 11" x 10"

Terry: What process do you use to record ideas for future work?

Chris: Keeping a sketchbook for writing, drawing, and pasting small bits of images for ideas is how I best flush out ideas.

Sketchbooks are handy. They don't need to be big. I carry a small book in my purse.

A camera is a huge part of my process for future work. I carry a nice small Nikon camera in my purse. Documenting where I go is part of my vernacular. I capture images of fairly dull content. Mostly the images contain some type of natural or man-made mark, repetition, or pattern. Observation of marks is a private pleasure that, to me, is life affirming. We exist. Life is dynamic. Fleeting bits of evidence are within my sight and I take note. My mother tells me I was born with my eyes wide open; I guess I haven't stopped looking.

Black Skirt - 2009
Black Skirt, cotton/silk thread, felted wool, eco-dyed silk
21" x 20"

Terry: Do you work in any medium other than fabric and thread?

Chris: Last fall, printmaking re-entered my radar. I studied printmaking in college and wanted to get back on the press. There is a brilliant printmaking co-operative studio in town called Zygote Press. They charge a nominal fee to use their presses and inks. Having access to these tools has been important for my continued growth.

Knitting has been in and out of my life since 2001. I've got a nice little history teaching knitting at a local shop in town. I like to connect with people. Knitting with others is a magical way to achieve a meaningful bond.

Eleven years ago I took an eight week quiltmaking course where we learned everything from rotary cutting to binding. It was teriffic and we each left with a completed quilt. Since then I've made several traditional quilts.

I admire contemporary quilt artists and wish I had the fearlessness of others to dive in and dye hundreds of yards of fabric. Three things hold me back: cost, caustic nature of chemical dyes, and studio space. I battle with using dyes versus found materials and natural dyes, but now I'm printmaking using chemicals, so I think I need to reassess my position.

I used to weave in high school and in my 20's and still have my Glimakra loom and 2 spinning wheels.

Black Shirt - 2010
Black Shirt, cotton/silk on found linen shirt - 19" x 21"

Terry: Many artists are born collectors of a variety of things. Do you collect anything?

Chris: Gulp! I'm in the process of editing everything I've collected. Editing is code for "throwing away" or donating.

I used to collect chairs. Before I got married and moved in with my husband, I lived in an apartment where I had nothing but chairs. Wood, wicker, paint-chipped, antique, was fun and a bit odd. I had this fear of owning a sofa. I thought a sofa was a metaphor for settling down and I wasn't ready for that. Now I have less chairs and 2 sofas.

I've collected the usual things like sea shells, rocks, fabric yarn, and odds and ends from the thrift store. Vintage notions, knitting needles, embroidery hoops, table linens, tea towels and gently used clothing usually find their way home with me. I love the feel of old fabric in my hands and the memories they hold.

Christine's Studio

Christine Mauersberger
Artist Statement

My work investigates the marks made by all living things. Whether these marks are intentional or by chance, they are deeply interesting and cause me to wonder about their meanings and origins.

Observations made throughout my immediate environment are the conduit for the resulting artwork. I take notice of small disruptions in my surroundings and they inform my own mark making on paper and on fabric.

The marks I make by I stitching, drawing or printmaking represent a mental navigation through a place, whether real or imagined, therefore, the finished pieces are maps that only I can read.


Christine Mauersberger

A native of Ohio, Chris is a graduate of Cleveland State University and she lives and works in Cleveland with her husband, George. She is currently working in the studio to create a new body of work.


Chris maintains a blog, Christine Mauersberger which features her thoughts on working in the studio as well as articles on artists who catch her eye. It is a treat to see the work she presents as she has a very clear asthetic. A personal website is planned for the future.


Thank you Christine!

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  1. It is my pleasure to be interviewed and appear on your terrific blog. Thank you for your interest in my work. I am honored.

  2. I didn't know about the chairs! But I sure know about "editing"
    Thanks for sharing Christine with your world, Terry.

  3. this interview captured my friend's beautiful work and spirit. lovely to read

  4. Lovely to read, indeed! Ditto, Christy. Christine has documented her place in the world since I have known her, and these maps are the fleshed out expression of that, in my mind. The maps are truly beautiful, both in drawn, sketchbook form, as well as stitched form. They remind me, in an odd way, of kuba cloths or other textiles from another time, which gives them an ethereal quality as well. Thanks for sharing these, Terry!

  5. Wonderful interview - I keep messing-up the "editing" by bringing you more stuff!


  6. I agree with Gayle about the "other time" feel of Chris's work. I think of the dot patterns of aboriginal Australian work. But Chris makes it her own. Great interview Terry.

  7. Thank you to all for your comments and support of Christine's work!!

  8. beautiful Work. Thank you for sharing with us.

  9. Hand Stitching is not one of my talents but I can admire and envy-
    Such beautiful work!

  10. very much enjoyed this delightful reading matter, thank you!