1st Place, Professional Mixed Media; Judge’s Choice

Wild mustangs roam the Outer Banks of North Carolina, barrier islands that are the Easternmost point of the continental United States. It is thought that their ancestors were horses brought from the far shores of Spain by explorers in the 1500’s. To survive in this environment of strong winds and dangerous riptides, the wild horses forage for marsh grasses on the leeward side of the islands. They carefully nurture their young, finding the best places for both grass and safety.

The sky and water were painted on silk habotai using the Serti technique, a process of applying wax resist to preserve white areas, applying paint, and then removing the resist. The grasses were created with free machine embroidery. Hand stitching the horses in silk and wool made them stand out in bas relief from the rest of the design.

Materials and Techniques: Silk Serti painting on habotai, free machine embroidery with cotton and metallic threads, hand embroidery including long-and-short stitch, packed outline stitch, and straight stitches with silk, wool, and metallic threads.