Life is a Winding Staircase by Rachel Watkins

1st Place, Non-Professional Original
The Betsy Robb Award

I chose a challenging subject because I wanted to explore the architecture and perspective involved in a winding staircase, using threads exclusively.

A sculpture of trees wraps around the central tower, which represents my interpretation of the Tree of Life. The stained-glass windows cast light onto the staircase, both ascending and descending, just as in life there are times of great joy and moments when life seems gray or dark.

This embroidery was stitched using Japanese silk, which was laid flat, twisted, or couched. I like to experiment with many threads and have used several varieties in this piece. The ground fabric is a gray Obi silk, which is almost completely covered with thread except on the central tower.