We are proud to share that we recently acquired a silk-thread painting by artist Mary Borkowski (1916-2008). Originally from Sulphur Lick Springs, Ohio, Borkowski spent the majority of her life in Dayton. She began quilting in 1930 and later worked with silk, felt, velvet, and thread starting in the 1960s. A nationally recognized folk artist, Borkowski focused on telling stories through her fiber works often alluding to personal anecdotes. Her work is in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the American Folk Art Museum, among many others. In addition to the piece seen here, the Springfield Museum of Art has nine other pieces by Borkowski in its collection including three other silk-thread paintings.
The acquisition, titled “On the Edge: The Story of Terry Black,” depicts Borkowski’s neighbor who struggled with drug and alcohol misuse. An archival document from 2002 explains the stories of each of her silk-thread paintings. About this work, Borkowski said “How could you Terry? Down the crack into the bottomless pit with drugs and alcohol.” This work is a companion to another already in the Museum’s collection, “Over the Edge: The Story of Terry Black.” We are fortunate to have the two works back together again and are grateful to Sinclair Community College for donating this artwork to the Springfield Museum of Art.