Artist Statement

My artwork takes a heartfelt look through portraiture into Jazz music, the only true American art form, using needlepoint as my medium. It is my intention to take needlepoint, which dates back to sixteenth century Europe, and Jazz music, which dates back to early twentieth century America, and fuse them together to elevate awareness of both through my portraits.

I freehand each piece using the yarn as my paint and the needle as my brush in an effort to make the viewer consider needlepoint as an art and pay homage to Jazz music.

Summary

I am a fiber artist from Birmingham, Alabama with sixteen years of related work experience including speaking to audiences about my journey in needlepoint and current exhibitions.

Education

Auburn University

Bachelor of Arts in Art Education with an emphasis on art history, figure construction, and figure drawing.

Professional Experience
  • Self-Employed Artist (Freelance)

  • Design, stitch and deliver custom, commissioned art pieces to clients

  • Museum exhibitions as well as exhibitions in theaters, libraries, and civic centers

  • Work with and compete in juried exhibitions and competition

Museum and Other Notable Exhibitions

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham AL

Jazz: Thread of America

Approached by BCRI to create a jazz needlepoint portrait exhibition for educational purposes, working in tandem with Dr. Frank Adams to bring to the public an event including jazz performances by his students, lectures, and a jazz portrait exhibition

 

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis TN

Jazz and Blues: Threads of American Music

Twenty-five-piece jazz music needlepoint portrait exhibition to coordinate with African-American Music Appreciation Month as declared by President Barack Obama in January 2016, including a forty-five minute closed lecture and reception for museum members

 

Historic Balzer Theater at Herren’s, Atlanta GA

Textures of Jazz-Threads of Change 2017

Twenty-piece jazz music needlepoint portrait exhibition, integrated with Simply Simone-The Music of Nina Simone, a theatrical journey chronicling the life of the legendary American icon. Other notable pieces created specifically to help tell this story included Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry and Medgar Evers. Theatrical Outfit is a performance art theater-nonprofit organization

Historic Balzer Theater at Herren’s, Atlanta GA

Textures of Jazz-Threads of Change 2018

Twenty-piece jazz music needlepoint portrait exhibition, integrated with Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, a theatrical production set at Emerson’s seedy bar on Philly’s south side, an audience gathers to witness, unknowingly, one of legend Billie Holiday’s last solo performances. Newly created pieces specifically to accompany this riveting and revealing story included Dizzy Gillespie, Ethel Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Blakey, and Louis Armstrong. Theatrical Outfit is a performance art theater-nonprofit organization

© 2018 Leanna Leithauser Lesley . Needlepoint Faces