Creative articles about sewing

Pictogram Project – “ALMOST SHATTERED”

Mari Claase from South Africa ask me to publish her pictogram project and I’m happy to share her article with you:

“ALMOST SHATTERED”  –  Mari Claase  –  South Africa

Almost shattered

I was not sure which way to go with my female pictogram and apple green felt. I started by designing a “Mother Earth” but my design was far too big for our size of 22 cm x 28 cm. After some thought, I decided that my FEMALE pictogram should be the FOCAL POINT.

With this in mind, I designed a second  female but soon realised I had far too many detail in my design. Yes, I like detail. My work is usually very busy and integrated.

I still had no specific theme in mind, but started with her DRESS using a few of Bernina’s decorative stitches. I usually work freestyle so for me the controlled organised stitches felt TRADITIONAL…something safe and familiar…like home and close to my heart…

Her two LEGS were next. I used “Birds Nest” and free machine stitching. I made 1 “warm” leg and 1 “cold” leg. This represents PEOPLE’S NATURE. Their personalities. People with warmth and those without warmth. I repeated this idea with her arms. All the above I made separately and then joined all the body parts to the dress.

The HEAD was also made with “Birds Nest”. Different colours for hair was added. As soon as I moved the head off centre (to the right) , I suddenly got a clearer instinctive vision of what I want to portray. The head / face looked divided, twisted, almost a little skisofrenic, full of problems, MIXED EMOTIONS, split personality…

I added a dark neck and suddenly the right side of her body started pulling her down…

The BACKGROUND was created separately and was built up with irregular pieces of fabric that represents INSTABILITY  with little pieces of netting added representing something FRAGILE.  For me the triangles on top of the background compliments the emotionally shattered emotions. I appliqued the girl onto the background.


I also recently went through some painful tribulations for various reasons…My mother and sister died… unnecessary adult sibling rivalry followed with bizarre reasoning… unaccountable rejections…


People all over the world cause each other a lot of pain and heartache. Woman and children are being neglected, raped and murdered…

There are too much pain in this world…

People are hurting…

Some people BREAK and never recover…

and others are STRONG ENOUGH to work through all that has happened…

It is only with God’s Grace that we are not shattered to pieces…


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  • Jan Allston

    Very touching Mari, a light into your soul and I can feel the love coming through. With the events of the past few days in Paris too, it is pertinent not only to you but to the whole of Humanity!

  • Mari Claase

    The pleasure is mine Jutta
    How can we see all the other pictograms please ?

    • Birthe Grautmann

      Dear Mari

      At the moment feel free and browse through the blog. You can use the search function and tip in “pictrogram”.
      In the future we will create an exhibition which can be rented for BERNINA fairs.


  • Jutta Hellbach

    Dear Mari,
    a very touching work – and I know this feeling to express feelings and lived experiences in an artwork.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful piece!

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