Textile pills

Dorothy’s World

Italiano (Italian)

? ?Dorothy Yaffe Frank (1916–2005), Dorothy’s World, Syracuse, New York, c. 1968. Silk, cotton, and crewel embroidery on silk with lace, feathers, sequins, metallic thread, and fabrics 88 x 43 in. American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Ellen Sugarman in loving memory of her mother Dorothy Frank, the artist, 2005.3.1. Photos by Eva Cruz, EveryStory.

While Dorothy Frank had Alzheimer’s disease, she immediately responded when her family brought her decades-old needlework out of storage. “I made it,” she recalled, her memory stirred by the sight of the evocative object. Entitled “Dorothy’s World” by Frank’s daughter, this multi-layered textile reads like a map of the artist’s mind, combining personal stories with imagined elements in a rich tapestry of various techniques.
A variegated landscape of flowers, trees, and other motifs provides an environment for poignant and powerful figures, including a beloved family cat and a reigning matriarch, positioned in the top right corner. As told by Frank’s daughter, this image represents the artist’s mother, a formidable woman who oversees the scene through her fierce gaze. Frank’s Russian heritage also influenced the making of the textile, evident in the small boy dressed in traditional clothing. Floating on a shimmering background, each vignette is like a journey in itself, all brought together by the needleworker’s unique vision. Constructed in secret in the 1960s and remembered viscerally in old age, this remarkable work plumbs the depths of the artist’s inner life.
This quilt is currently on view in the exhibition “What That Quilt Knows About Me,” open Wednesday to Sunday. Admission is always free!
Dorothy Yaffe Frank (1916–2005), Dorothy’s World, Syracuse, New York, c. 1968. Silk, cotton, and crewel embroidery on silk with lace, feathers, sequins, metallic thread, and fabrics 88 x 43 in. American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Ellen Sugarman in loving memory of her mother Dorothy Frank, the artist, 2005.3.1. Photos by Eva Cruz, EveryStory.