Courtney Sanborn

18 - Courtney Sanborn—Embroidering Contemporary Narratives with a nod to the Medieval by Vivian Liddell

Courtney Sanborn on medieval art and the iconography in her work:

Sanborn: Like I said, I love Medieval art. And I love the iconography. I love that in that period of art …there’s no words to describe evil. How do you describe something that’s evil or negative? There’s no words, but there are pictures. And so, the artists of that time made their demons out of—like there are these weird conglomerations—of like pigs, bats and like weird creatures that they had like deemed evil. Right? And so that’s how they portrayed the dark side of things. There’s always happy. There’s always sad. There’s evil. There’s good. There’s temptation. There’s like peace and like wholeness… and I love that they showed that. Cause I’ve found that no matter what narrative or whatever situation I’ve found myself in there’s always good.  There’s always bad. And they exist together… 

So, the demons in this embroidery are acting out the wedding rituals. She’s getting her nails done. She’s getting her hair done. And down here, this is the demon wedding. So this is the culmination of their day…which is happening at the same time as my day. 

Liddell: So there’s the flip—it’s like the yin-yang of weddings.

Sanborn: Yeah, yeah. So here’s this happy wedding that was happening… here’s the garden party. These are my friends. And then here’s the demon wedding that’s happening. 

Liddell: Do the demons have their friends here?

Sanborn: They don’t have friends. It’s just them.. 

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