“Woven Together” presents a selection of tapestries and rugs designed and woven by expert craftswomen at a weaver’s coop in Maseru, Lesotho.  Added to these are contemporary paintings, wall hangings, and rugs by two artists living in North and South Carolina who have been inspired by those weavers’ work. From 2009 to 2013, Linda Elksnin and Lillian Trettin commissioned Maseru tapestry weavers to transpose their original designs into works of hand-dyed mohair wool and cotton.  This opportunity for cross- cultural collaboration originated when Carl Trettin, an environmental scientist, started a consulting job in Lesotho, bought tapestries from some of the weavers, and began to make regular trips back and forth. 



The exhibit includes a series of photographs, taken by Carl Trettin, that detail the Maseru weavers’ tapestry production process.   A copy of the photo essay, Woven Together, is available for purchase at

Tales Transposed: A Celebration of the Imagination

Charleston SC, The City Gallery at Waterfront Park, May 18 – June 30 2013

Artist’s Lecture, Lillian Trettin, June 24, 3 PM

Nathan Durfee, Lillian Trettin, and Judy Mooney display paintings, collage, and clay sculpture in this celebration of storytelling–fantastical, gothic and historical.


Lillian Trettin’s paper collages are based on literature, particularly narratives and characters from the work of Flannery O’Connor.  These characters and personality types are reminders of the consequences of hypocrisy, hubris, intolerance and racism.  Her use of cut-paper collages from hand made paper, hand painted and commercial paper creates hard edged shapes with gestural strokes.  The viewer is reminded of the work of Romare Bearden and many Dada and Surrealist artists of the early twentieth century.


                                                                                                            Eleanor Smythe, Curator


Since 2011, I have exhibited series of cut-paper collages related to Southern literature and lore. My collages are visual narratives, each one composed of cut-paper shapes pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle.  I begin by drawing caricatures and sometimes writing stories about them as an aid to developing more complicated works. 

My characters range from merely eccentric to downright supernatural: there are talking animals and witches, evil sisters and feuding brothers, moonshine makers and undertakers. While their stories are occasionally disturbing, they exude dark humor in bright colors derived from Appalachian folklore, Southern literature (particularly that of Flannery O’Connor), and stories of family dysfunction. Rarely do these images spell everything out; they prompt the viewer to ask questions.  My aim is to entice with enigma---the pleasurable sense of an unresolved mystery embedded in the image.

Linville, NC
Mountains, Legends and Lore

From May 21 to July 1, 2012, the Avery County Arts Council in Linville, NC, presented the exhibit, Mountains, Legends, and Lore, featuring works by Linda Elksnin (painting), Lillian Trettin (collage), and Remo Piracci (pottery).  A  free public reception featuring artists’ demonstrations on June 23 included demonstrations by the artists, all of whom find their inspiration in western North Carolina.

Trettin's work consisted of cut-paper collages of handmade, handpainted, and commercial paper and painted, collaged wooden objects.  She portrayed popular regional characters such as Spearfinger (a Cherokee witch), an eccentric mountain hermit, a winged mountain cavalry, and ghostly moonshiners of the past. Elksnin layered watercolor and gouache and then further built color and texture using colored pencils. Remo Piracci used the medium of clay to express mountain heritage and the natural world.


Avery Arts Council Gallery in Linville, NC

Trettin's and Elksnin's work (left)                                          Piracci's pottery (right)

"All  Those Animals We Have Known and Loved"  (above)

Learning to make paste paper



For a list of recent exhibits, click Lillian Trettin exhibits 2014.pdf
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This exhibit of 20 collages from handmade and commercial paper (and two paper objects represented by photos) interpret the dark humor, eccentric characters, and sharp social and moral commentary of Flannery O'Connor, a popular 20th century Southern author.  All the pieces in this exhibit  are based on O'Connor's last collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965).

Images and Labels

Story: "Everything That Rises Must Converge"

1) Julian relied on and ridiculed his mother in equal measure.  He missed the old plantation south where his mother was raised, but he also berated her for condescending to anyone who wasn't white.

                                 The Old Homestead

2) When Julian and his mother boarded a bus and she sat across from a black woman wearing a purple hat just like her own, he thought this would shatter her sense of superiority.

                        Convergence of the Purple Hats

3) Instead, Julian's mother handed the woman's son a penny.  Offended at this patronizing behavior, the woman wacked Julian's mother, who then suffered a stroke.

                      The Token

4) Faced with this crisis, Julian panicked.  His self-righteous but passive indignation faded, and he ran into the night, seeking help for his mother who lay unconscious on the pavement.

            The Unmoored Eye

Story: "A VIew of the Woods"

Even as a little girl, Mary Fortune Pitts looked and acted more like Grandfather Fortune than anyone on her father's side of the family, the Pitts.

1) But when her grandfather proposed to sell property for a development project, Mary Fortune opposed the idea.  She said it would ruin the woods and destroy the lawn where her father's cattle grazed.

                             Progress: Comings and Goings

2) Being equally stubborn, the two of them fought over this.

                                     Family Feud

Unable to persuade Mary Fortune, her grandfather decided to take a strap to her, as her father sometimes did.

3) But Mary Fortune, an obedient little southern girl, could live with the inconsistency  of loving a daddy who beat her but hating anyone else who tried it.

                           Not So Bad Dad

4) When her grandfather tried to beat her, she attacked him and he fought back.  As if locked in a deadly game, they allowed their rage to escalate from angry words to blows, with tragic results.

                           Pitt or Fortune Pinball

Story: "The Lame Shall Enter First"

Mr. Shepherd, a widowed social worker with a young son, took pride in his ability to engineer change in other people's lives.

1) He ignored his troubled son Norton, who missed his mother terribly, and admonished him to think about others' problems instead of his own.

                                  Bitter Brew or, 
     Think about Others and You Won't Miss your Mother

Mr. Shepherd's latest challenge was Rufus Johnson, a lame ne're-do-well with fundamentalist beliefs.  Rufus said Satan had his soul and was responsible for all his misdeeds but that he would ask for forgiveness someday.

2) Mr. Shepherd put all his energy into changing Rufus, but Rufus played him like a yoyo.

                       Got Him on a String

3) In the meantime, Rufus liked to taunt Norton and Mr. Shepherd, and this made Norton even more miserable.


4) Rufus also taught Norton about heaven and convinced him that he could someday be reunited with his mother in heaven.

                  Looking for Heaven

Unwilling to wait, Norton committed suicide, and too late, Mr. Shepherd recognized the damage cause by ignoring his son.

5) Norton's interest in garden seeds was the inspiration for Mr. Shepherd's gardening hat.  This "untended garden" is a reminder of the terrible price paid for selfish pride.

Mr. Shepherd's Untended Garden Hat (photo)
object of handmade paper, wire, fiber, with artist's book 

Charleston, SC  March 2012

Art exhibit and original music at "How Art Thou Cafe"

Grappling with Flannery O'Connor's South: New Works

Cut paper collages by Lillian Trettin
Music by "The Harrows,"
Hazel Ketchum and Bob Culver performance and wine tasting March 8, 7-9 PM,

How Art Thou Cafe

Image above: "Jesus was the Jagged Shape in the Back of his Mind" inspired by Flannery O'Connor's novel Wise Blood

Below: Bob Culver and Hazel Ketchum "The Harrows"

Below: Audience at how Art Thou Cafe

Spartanburg, SC  April 2012

Grappling with Flannery O'Connor's South at the
Converse College Conference on Southern Culture: Okra to Opera

April 9 - 14,  2012

Temporary exhibit of cut-paper collages  at Converse College

Jeff Willis, Archivist, Mickel Library, Converse College, who provided space for the exhibit

"The Zealot and the Harlot Run for Office" inspired by Flannery O'Connor's novel, Wise Blood Wise Blood

Props in the Mickel Library  

Charleston, SC


Music and art at a fund raiser for lupus research

Wise Blood Triptych

Based on Flannery O'connor's novel, Wise Blood (1952) Flannery O'Connor wrote two dozen short stories and two novels while living with lupus.

Music by Hazel Ketchum and Bob Culver, The Harrows

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