Chasing Sublime -Thesis Project
What is it about nature that evokes an intense emotional response? How do we respond? The feeling is difficult to explain, larger than any of us. One feels small standing against the backdrop of a mountain range or looking out at the vast sea.
Romanticism acknowledged emotion evoked by the sublime cannot be recreated by man. Philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The great chain of causes, which links one to another, even to the throne of God himself, can never be unraveled by any industry of ours. When we go but one step beyond the immediate sensible qualities of things, we go out of our depth.” 
My interest in the idea of the sublime has its roots in my Christian upbringing which encouraged a respect for the Creator and an inherent humility in acknowledging that the spirituality and passion of the sublime is often lost through man’s efforts to control nature through order. Our ability to create offers only a glimpse of the sublime.
The responses to the sublime in nature are reflected in the dichotomy of the city. Soaring skyscrapers worship the accomplishments of man. Cathedrals reach toward the heavens in an attempt to rekindle the sublime. Rows of orderly trees stand in an effort to tame and organize reducing the effect of the sublime in nature. In walking around the city there is an absurdity in the mixing of nature and manmade. The city becomes a monument to the manmade.
Chasing Sublime explores the manmade city in contrast to nature. The work is drawn by free motion stitching on a sewing machine using sheer silk layered with ethereal drawings of natural vistas, skyscrapers, and cathedrals. The base for the piece is comprised of evenly spaced trees formed into a serpentine path unwinding into shapes that mimic architectural columns. The trees reference both the vast scale of nature and man’s attempt at ordering nature. Small vistas drawn from specific places in nature that once evoked the experience of the sublime are repeated throughout the piece. The vistas become hazy references dulled by repetition and deemphasized by scale. Nature is diminished to decoration. The emotional experience of the original place is diminished as well.
Chasing Sublime is a call to the return of passion associated with the sublime. A greater appreciation of the experience of nature creates a positive relationship to nature in man’s future creations.
 Burke, Edmund. On the Sublime and the Beautiful, Harvard Classics, Vol. 24, Part 2 . P.F. Collier & Son Company, 1909-14. 01 3 2013.