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The Face of Please Don’t Shoot Me

close up please don't (2)

One of the very nicest parts of a Memorial Service is the opportunity to see family members, who often live very far away.  I had a lovely visit with my cousin Cathie from Cincinnati, Ohio during the family dinner and an opportunity to get acquainted with her talented and wonderful children.

Cathie shared her recent work with me via photographs and I was so moved by her weaving that I asked if I might share her pictures and story with you here.

In 2001, a young man – a boy really – was chased by police and fatally shot when he reached to his waist to pull up his jeans and keep running.   He was just a boy in the wrong place at the wrong time, and innocent of any violation or crime.   What followed was 4 days of rioting over this injustice in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

My cousin was driving home and found herself caught up in the mob scene and had to creatively find an exit from the anger and rage.  As she turned a corner to get clear she saw a boy standing on the corner holding a sign which said, “PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME.”

The image of the boy on the corner was stuck into her mind.

In 2010, Cathie heard about a fiber art exhibit which depicted a human face or form and she knew right away that she would use the image frozen into her mind that fateful day.   She spent 8 months working and designing the piece and over 250 hours weaving.

Here is the picture of PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME:
please don't shoot me (2)

In Cathie’s own words of description:

“The piece did get into the YWCA exhibit downtown, opening April 15th 2011. The criteria were a piece of fiber art which depicted a human face or form. The name of the piece is Please Don’t Shoot Me: Portrait of a Young Man, as Witnessed by the Artist, Cincinnati Riots 2001. Woven 2011, Tapestry, wool.“

I was so moved by her story and her work; it just needed to be shared with you.

Fiber Artist:  Catherine Beckman Cincinnati, Ohio

If you enjoyed what you read here please feel free to share on Twitter, or Facebook or Stumbleupon or any of the portals listed under the share button.  Thank you.

Related Reading:
Spite or Malice or Cat and Mouse
The Element by Dr. Ken Robinson
The Love Ceiling
What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life

I so enjoy your comments and hope you enjoyed this fine tapestry.

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20 Responses to “The Face of Please Don’t Shoot Me”

  1. Talon Says:

    What an amazing artist Cathie is! How sad that something so tragic inspired something so lovely…or maybe that’s a gift – creating beauty from horror.
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    Patricia Reply:

    It is very stunning, and quite spectacular how a memory can produce a beautiful reminder of a tragedy and a moment in History

  2. Alien Ghost Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    It’s an amazing work! And what makes it even more interesting is that, by getting the image stuck in her mind and creating art out of it, she is also extending the message from the boy standing there with the sign. What he intended of reaching passers by, became a nation wide exposure. And now, after you publish the picture, thanks to the internet, the boy is sending the message world wide. Maybe is just a little bit, but every bit helps!

    Congratulations to Cathie for the awesome work and thanks to you for sharing it with us.

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    Patricia Reply:

    I thought it was an amazing piece of work and that it needed more exposure – I was so happy she allowed me to share it here

  3. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — thanks, that’s a beautiful piece — I’m looking forward to more of your woven/knitted/crocheted work as well, which has both beauty and practicality. :)

    patricia Reply:

    I wish I could lay claim to being artistic but this is my cousin’s beautiful work and her story….

    Thank you for your lovely comment – it is very neat stuff

  4. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Such a sad story. And beautiful art!
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    patricia Reply:

    It is beautiful and I hope I can spread the word and get more folks to see it.

    The story keeps it a good reminder of what is possible

  5. Sara Says:


    Cathie’s fiber art is beautiful as is the story. I can’t imagine what that would be like to have to hold a sign saying, “Please don’t shoot me!”

    I imagine creating this type of art takes a lot of time, creativity and a gift for sewing. It must not be easy to get the threads in the right places. This piece has so many different colors…it’s simply beautiful. I commend your cousin for her work and you for sharing it:~)
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    patricia Reply:

    It is an amazing piece and she also does her own wool dyeing…I think the colors are a bit less vibrant than in the original pictures I first saw – all the translations to get them to this post.

    I feel honored that she shared her story and talents with me

  6. Deborah Says:

    Such a simple plea that should never have to be uttered, bound in a beautiful piece of art. Your cousin is very talented. Her eye for the profound and her memory for that which will prove so important later, is to be envied. I am a little behind with my blog reading Patricia – second grandson due any day and my daughter wants me to be there at the birth. I am on tenterhooks! Debbie :-)
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    patricia Reply:

    What an event you have coming up in your life #2 grandie on the way!

    I just had to share this beautiful piece and story – etched in our minds

  7. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    I am so grateful you shared this story and artwork — thank you!

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming over – I was a bit blatant but I just thought this was a piece worth looking at!

    Thank you for your great post celebrating your anniversary – the leaping leprechauns! Hope it was a great day.

  8. susan Says:

    Very cool, Patricia. Thanks for sharing the talents of the artist and also reminding us of the story.

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming to take a look – and making a nice comment.
    Happy weekend – working on getting my GMO list of foods…though I have a great food coop. that is very astute at keeping the score fresh in front of our eyes. They sell nothing GMO – lucky me

  9. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. amazing how things develop .. your meeting with your cousin, her talent with fibre, and her creativity at bringing to the fore the horror that she met … amazing piece of art & no wonder it was selected to be shown –

    Wishing you the best for the weekend .. Hilary
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    patricia Reply:

    Weekend going well Thank you – I am promoting this post a bit, because I think the story and work are wonderful and should be seen by a larger audience. Thank you for coming by and commenting

    I will be over tomorrow to read your new post

  10. Cathie Says:

    I am overwhelmed with the positive response to my work of Please Don’t Shoot Me. It was a great experience for me to do this piece. Not only was it an creative and technical challenge, I had wondered for 10 years how I would weave this. This took about 8 months to design and over 250 hrs. To weave. That doesn’t count setting up the loom or finishing work. It has gotten into the YWCA exhibit. The Y is to be commended with all there good work. “Eliminating racism, empowering women” is there motto. They are a very positive force in this city.
    Thanks Patricia for posting the work, it’s been great to read the comments!

    patricia Reply:

    I has been great to read all the comments and yes they are very affirming and positive – I just thought folks aught to know about your work and the YWCA show- outstanding and a real contribution.