The Exemplary 2023 – Best of Show

Each year at The Exemplary, the Best of Show (Jean Taggart Award) is selected from First Place winners in all categories except Japanese Embroidery. The 2023 Best of Show winner is Rustle of Winter stitched by Helen Gottschalk. Here is Helen’s artist statement:

I have always loved watercolor; and to represent the looseness of this medium with the exactitude of thread has always appealed to me. This piece inspired by the watercolors of the Danish artist Mads Stage sent me researching his works and I was completely captivated. The way that the designer June Godwin captured the essence of watercolor in this piece was exceptional!

I chose a muslin fabric that was slightly nubbly and wrinkly; I painted the background in muted green and brown to suggest the deprivation of impending winter. I gave the field mouse a more rounded form to suggest that it is fattening itself before winter deepens.

I found a quotation from Robin Hobb: ‘…and the prairie spoke… a whispering wild voice, full of soft wind and rustling brush and little creatures that moved only by night.’ How appropriate!