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TitleThe Jewel of Boston-Honoring Frederick Law Olmsted and the Emerald NecklaceDesigned byKris McDermetHooked and Braided byKris McDermetLighting byTim MathiesenInspirationFrederick Law OlmstedDimensions47" x 57"Materialswool, silk, wool yarn, silk threads, cotton threadsCuts4, 5, 6, 7Start to Finish2022HonorsCelebration 33 (2023) and Sauder VillageShare

The Jewel of Boston:  Honoring Frederick Law Olmsted and the Emerald Necklace

This piece is to honor designer Frederick Law Olmsted and The Emerald Necklace park system he designed.

I met my husband Stewart in Boston and our home is very close to the beginning of Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace pathways.  For years we walked our dogs and ourselves on these beautiful paths bringing nature to the city and providing free and open spaces.

I love using silk and wool together – the shine of Charmeuse silk combined with the flatness of hand dyed wool is a perfect combination to me that adds texture and depth.  A bit of sparkle is one of my favorites.  The center section is my favorite because it is all about nature and shows the leaves of the plants that Olmsted used in his original plan/design.  It was also a way my brother and I could work together using lighting.

I had never done any mini punch embroidery and I was determined to learn in a hurry – a very nice friend taught me quickly and it was hard!  I wanted there to be some depth in the smaller Boston themes.  I also learned how difficult it is to use so many values of one color – in this case gray.  At first I dyed 20 values but it was too many – narrowing them down to 8-10 really helped.

My brother Tim Mathiesen designed the fiber optic lighting system that back lights the Muddy River on the left and the Emeralds on the right of the center panel.

The piece is finished with braided rows in wool and charmeuse silk that I dyed together.

More rugs by this artist

Kris is a Rug Hooking and Braiding Teacher and she makes works to sell.

Artist Statement

“Threads and Textiles Re-Imagined” represents my work using wool, Charmeuse silk, wool and silk yarns, velvet, and crushed taffeta to complete work that tells a story, or represents nature.

Some of the fiber techniques I use were developed years ago to make functional items,  bringing warmth and comfort to early homes. Now I’m reworking these techniques to honor the past, but my designs are more contemporary.  In addition, I want to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues in my work. 

Finished pieces may be three dimensional and may be made more visually exciting by the addition of LED lighting from within the work.