Stitch-speration at CAM Raleigh

Happily, I have lots of Stitch-speration in my life at the moment.

Wild colors and outlines at CAM's ArtHouse party. O & Andy.

On Friday I attended the uber fun ArtHouse 2012 party at CAM Raleigh, the year-old contemporary art museum in Raleigh. Aside from enjoying myself wildly (chatting with break dancers, pulling on the mustache of an Hunter S. Thompson wannabe, having a custom, airbrushed trucker hat made for me by an artist, speaking to everyone who caught my eye and grooving with my seriously hot squeeze and my girl Juline) I took great pleasure in the artwork they had on display as part of a silent auction fundraiser.

Many artists were represented, but if I had to describe a particular commonality between the artwork, I'd say it was heavy on hard lines, colors and graphics. And images like that are particularly inspiring to me... I want to turn the hard edges of designs into soft, wonky stitches onto fabric.

Tehran Techno by Behrouz Hariri, 2012

I was giddily surprised that I won the sole auction that I bid on, taking home this wonderful print called "Tehran Techno" by Toronto-based artist Behrouz Hariri. It is simply amazing to have this in my house to inspire me!

Detail from Do Not Flake on Me, 2012.
Soft stitching on hard edges. 

Finishing up my swap piece for the Phat Quarter Spring swap. ALMOST done. Just need to finish a ring of fine chain stitch, wash the piece and hoop it.

As usual, I have too many ideas for next projects. Oy!

Do Not Eat!

No really, eat... please!

Photos from my finished swap piece for the Phat Quarter food-themed swap by MrXStitch. Shipped it to Salvaged Mutiny.

Along side the bigger Do Not Enter embroidery

I love taking the crispness of hazard graphics and converting them into the soft wonkiness of stitched pieces.

Back stitch as fill stitch with chain stitch framing
the circle

The layers of stitches piled almost on top of each other.

The fork tines looking all wavy and strange instead of hard-edged. Imagine those fabric spears between your lips.

Farewell, little embroidery.

Inching along, or No, I don't have an eating disorder...

Why do I always get so carried away?

Inching my way through my swap piece for the Phat Quarter food-themed swap. Getting closer. Most of the fill stitch is complete. I like the shimmering quality of all of the packed in back stitch in luminous DMC 321.

I have some detailed work to do on black cup, knife and fork and some fine gauge chain stitch to do around the thick red hazard circle. And then it will be ready to mount and send off to Salvaged Mutiny.

I'm a little worried that this piece will fan the fears that I have an eating disorder of some kind, but it shouldn't. I picked the design because I love hazard symbols, NOT because I don't eat! Nor am I telling anyone else not to eat. C'mon... it's a hazard symbol!

Like this one. I made earlier this year.

Now back to it! I want to finish it before I leave for Virginia on Friday to see the fabulous Keefie. Time to stitch until my fingers are bloody and raw, peeps.


Late for a very important date! And photo inspiration at First Friday!

Me, stitching, ah...

Got a very late start of my piece for the Phat Quarter food-themed swap. The fabulous Salved Mutiny is at sea right now (literally, she is somewhere on a ship) and she told me to take my time with it, which I really appreciate. With the chaos of my recent move and all, I haven’t done much stitching or sketching.

Do Not Eat sign on my light box

Decided to do a hazard sign for the swap. I haven’t stitched up a hazard sign in a while. I don’t know why I love them so much. The odd simplicity of their designs? The way the image is reduced to the simplest elements to convey the warning?  There is something poetic about them to me.

Biohazard quilted piece,
still need to make it a proper pillow

I’m stitching the swap piece up on white cotton in the traditional red and black colors. But I also like to switch up the colors or ground fabric, like I did with my bio-hazard pillow or the Hans the Riot Cop piece.

Close up of simple back stitch

Lots of excitement about my new apartment. It is very unadorned at the moment. Want to fill it with threads and fabrics and stitches and color. My artwork and the artwork of people I admire.  Want to have gatherings. Want to fill it with passion and life! I know I will.

How beautiful is this orchid color?
Want to fill my home with this color.

For now, finally finished my spirograph dishcloth, so there is some color for my place! Gonna stitch up a lot of spirographs as gifts… let me know if you’d like one!

Had a fabulous time at First Friday in Raleigh this weekend! Local art rocks. Wandered around from gallery to bar with a rockin’ friend who appreciates art and creativity. It is just energizing to explore art with him. Electric stitch-speration abounds!

We saw some cool music photos from the Hopscotch Music Festival, the annual live music event in Raleigh. The exhibition inspired me to possibly pick up my camera again to take photos of something other than myself and what I make. We’ll see.  (Who am I kidding? I have too much on my plate already.)

I was particularly taken by the work of NC photographer Abby Nardo and this piece:

By Abby Nardo

I love the high perspective of the shot. And I love the clustering of the audience around the stage and the scattering of empty chairs. Gives the viewer the experience of being at a live, local show. Moody and gorgeous.  I encourage folks to explore her flickr stream for other lovely live music shots. Yah!

OK, back to stitching, kids! Gotta finish this piece for Salvaged Mutiny. 

I adore this Spoonflower fabric. I want every color!
Sending out my love and affection to all of my friends online and in meat space. Life is great because I have you in it. For real. Keep rocking…

Happiness! Spirograph Embroidery included in's post today

Needed this boost today, truth be told!

My Spirogragh featured in whipnet's montage, bottom row second from right. Woot!
Saw this on Kath Red's Twitter feed today and was thrilled to see my WIP Spirograph dishtowel included in her flickr montage post today. 

Moving this weekend and life is in temporary disaray. Virtually no stitching or making this week, just packing, cleaning and trying to keep my chin up. So grateful for this reminder that I DO make things and play with thread, you know?

One more reason to enjoy my Twitter explorations, so big shout of thanks to the friend who turned me on to it. I just love reading the quick tweets on all kind of both artistic and personal subjects of some of my favorite makers.  For example, these are some great Twitter feeds to follow:

I will add more, later, but must head into the salt mines of my corporate job at the moment.

For now, THANK YOU! Yah!

All for the STITCH… On blogging, flickring & tweeting like a joyful MOFO

Keeping this blog has rocked my world.

Editing photos for a blog post in my NYC hotel
This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but there you go.

I started reading arts and crafts blogs about two years ago. At first, I lurked on the whipupFeeling Stitchy sites, gobbling up the posts and following the links to the amazing creative spaces of artists and crafters around the globe.

Through Feeling Stitchy, I remember stumbling upon Jenny Hart’s Embroidery as Art and feeling like I was home, like I had found a long lost, secret family.  Here was a stitcher who was making art, often out of portraiture, and I was mesmerized.

Turntable embroidery featured in a whipup mosaic
When I found my way to the MrXStitch blog, things really cracked open for me. Beefranck and MrXStitch have a gracious, loose, egalitarian approach to blogging and feature the work of so many individual stitchers in their Stitchgasm posts. Following links from their posts, I found my way to the blogs and flickr galleries of 20-30 other stitching artists, including (to name a few of many):

The Smallest Forest .  Joetta Maue  .  Penny Nickels .  Bascom Hoage  .  Drucilla Pettibone  .  Ric Rac  .  Mimi Love  .  Beadgirl  .  Jennifer Andrews

So, I took the leap last fall and started cocoaeyesthestitcher. And my creative world flew open. Suddenly, I had a space to capture all of my attempts and thoughts about making. Not only to document, but to muse. Not only to record, but to connect.  When MrXStitch and Feeling Stitchy featured some of my work on their sites, I could NOT believe it.

Blogging lead to flickr and wonderful flickr groups like Phat Quarter and Embroidery. Phat Quarter lead me to the January 2011 Music Swap, which introduced me to jojobooster, gigglymama and so many others. Gigglymama invited me into the EFU group on Facebook, where equally stitch obsession people happily gush about stitching.

Unexpected present from jojobooster,
all the way from New Zealand. LOVE!
And about a month or so ago, in a completely non-stitching turn, I met a new friend who turned me on to Twitter, which I completely adore.  I follow dozens of textile artists and it gives me a view into a more casual, quick and organic part of their stitching lives… a tweet about thread selection is followed by one about melting chocolate croissants or a tune. I love the joyful, random playfulness of tweeting.

Now I tweet almost every day, too, mostly about work I’ve seen online, but also about songs, my changing moods, dinner dates, and my own stitching.  Check out my twitter stream for lots of little posts about amazing artwork… a running quick list of things that inspire me. And tweet me a tune! @o_corcoran.

And my thought of the day, as I pack for me move next weekend, stitch on my Phat Quarter Swap piece for Salvaged Mutiny and dine al fresco and see the Paperhand Puppet Intervention tonight… to work and artists you love...
...leave comments on blog posts or flickr shots that touch you...
...tweet and share your creative life with like souls online...

BE GENEROUS. It makes life more fun. And it can give other makers a much-needed charge in the loneliness of their making.

Besitos, my friends!

That's it. Just be generous. 

Turntable Embroidery on Woo-hoo!

Yes, I've been under a rock for the last several weeks. OK, not a rock, but I've been caught up in some dramatic personal issues. My stitching and creativity have been on the back burner as I deal with the storms.

Imagine my shock and pleasure in getting an email from my sweet (and incredibly talented) friend Juline tonight letting me know that my Turntable embroidery was featured in a mosaic photo collection on (It is the very bottom right corner.)

That website has been such an amazing resource for me. I can't remember how I initially found the site, but I've go back to it all of the time for inspiration, great links, amazing tutorials and fabulous book reviews on all things crafty.

So, having my Turntable embroidery included in a flickr group photo montage is super meaningful and motivating to me.  When things settle down (hopefully by next weekend) it will be back to stitching and creating. I have the self-portrait embroidered piece picked out and ready to transfer to a ground fabric and stitch up. I can't wait!!

I also CAN NOT thank enough the generous folks who commented on my last post, encouraging me to work through my personal drama so that I can get back to stitching. You comments have meant so much to me as a I sort through (both figuratively and literally) all of my stuff to prepare for my next move. Thank you, fabulous community of crafters and artists, for providing this support in my darkest times. And thank you to Kath Red at Whip Up. net for including my recent work.  Now, back to stitching for me!

Stitched Ode to Tom Waits by Giggly Mama

Oh, Tom, how I love you.  Just say the word and I’d recklessly fall onto the lawn with you, even though I am some else’s wife.

You’ve made dying your hair in the bathroom of a Texaco sound so beautiful.

I requested a custom order of this magenta embroidery of my great, broken love from the fantastically talented Giggly Mama and I could not adore the piece more!

Giggly Mama (whose real name is Shannon) is a stitching goddess.  I cannot believe the detail and expression she captured in satin stitch.  She has amazing skill and she stitched this with great speed. I requested the item from her etsy shop on Saturday and it made its way from California to NC by Wednesday.

I first came across her work in the Phat Quarter group on flickr. She is one of those people you meet online who you wish you could know in 3D.  She is so generous and supportive, in addition to being immensely talented. I’m still so new to embroidery and her encouragement has meant to world to me.   Seeing her beautiful embroidery in person only makes me admire her more.

Tom was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week.   Congratulations, my grave-voiced sugar man!  I'm not generally a swooning woman... but for you... I can't help myself.

“Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire; your children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire; your children are alone
Schiffer broke a bottle on Morgan's head
And I've been stepping on the devil's tail
Across the stripes of full moon's head
Through the bars of a Cuban jail
Bloody fingers on a purple knife
A flamingo drinking from a cocktail glass
I'm on the lawn with someone else's wife
Come admire the view from up on top of the mast”

From “Jockey Full of Bourbon”
(Special thanks to Jessica W for the floating hands shot!)

Turntable Embroidery Lands in New Zealand!

My turntable embroidery arrived safely to the warm and fabulous Jo in New Zealand.  Yippee!!

The Phat Quarter Music Swap (on flickr, sponsored by the Mr X Stitch blog) was a blast and I strongly encourage others to join in future swaps. This was my first time and I was just blown away by the gorgeous, creative pieces that the participants created.  Check out some of their work here. 

This piece was so much fun to stitch up. Inspired by The Record exhibition at the Nasher Museum (for which I recorded the audio guide), I sketched up several turntable and record designs in my sketch book.  Just doodles. 

However, I was insanely unrealistic about how long the piece would take to stitch. The finished piece is framed in a 9”x12” (23cm x 30 cm) frame. What the hell was I thinking?! For two whole weeks, I was stitching every night after work for a few hours and all day long on the weekend.  I’m not kidding.   

My neck and shoulders became mine fields of knots.  I developed freaky calluses on my finger tips.  I drank lots of booze in an effort to relax my muscles.  I listened to several hours of the “Stitching and Junk” pod cast from Mr X Stitch, which is hysterical and kind of rated R. Good times! 

But it was so worth it to make something for Jo.  She is such a good soul… so kind, so supportive and so creative.  It’s especially nice to make something when you know the recipient will really understand the work that went into it. 

And I really pushed myself, playing with color and stitches.  My favorite stitches have to be the woven spider wheel stitches that I used for the volume button and other buttons.  Jo said that they make her want to push the buttons! I want to make a whole piece of just these woven spider wheel stitches.   

And I really like the effect of the back stitch fill stitch on the record itself.  Although that is what took the longest to stitch. 

The back

OK, enough excitement here from me.  I’m a freaky geek! 

Phat Quarter Swap, Oh My!

Cold and ice, be damned!

THE most fun, exciting new project of this week is taking part in the Phat Quarter flickr group swap. Phat Quarter is the flickr group for the Mr X Stitch blog, which is one of my favorite embroidery blogs.

This is my first swap with this group and I'm geeked!

The theme of the swap is very broad: Music.  We are free to create whatever we want, however we interpret this general theme. Forty stitchers from around the world will be making pieces and sending them to each other.  When I look at the work that has come out of past swaps... wow!  Some really beautiful, whimsical pieces are being created and shared.

I have been hooked up with two LOVELY stitchers and I could not be more excited about this.

by i_hear_noises

i_hear_noises (a.k.a. Denise) is a playful, inventive stitcher in Cologne, Germany.  I am lucky enough to be the recipient of a piece by her.  I love her wicked, embroidered handkerchiefs!  There is something wonderfully subversive about a pretty, flowered hankie inscribed with "bitch."

by i_hear_noises

Denise has extremely diverse musical tastes (Joy Division, electric and house music, Hip Hop and Motown!) which impress the hell out of me!  She is a university student studying English and social sciences.  I imagine she is a wild but super intelligent young woman.  Her tumblr site has fantastic music videos.  I have a feeling that she will be creating something a bit on the funky side, which I love. Lucky me!

I'm creating a piece for the talented stitcher jojobooster (a.k.a. Jo) in Parau, New Zealand, who sounds like someone I'd love to hang out with if only she didn't live 8,500 (13,200 km) away.

Jo blogs about crafting at The Unexpected Hug.  She has participated in Phat Quarter swaps before, where she made this gorgeous piece for an anatomy-themed swap.

by jojobooster

Jo is a Brit who has relocated to New Zealand.  I love this pillow she made for her mother-in-law that has Maori designs.

by jojobooster

And then she makes plush.... could I just swallow Jo up?! A plush maker who creates charming pieces like this ninja hugging creature?

by jojobooster

My only hope is that I can make something worthy of her wonderful spirit!

So, yeah, I'm kind of excited about this swap. Can you tell?  I have some sketches started and I have a pretty good idea about what I'm going to make, but I can't share it here, which is hard for me.

Taking this post in a different direction (sort of), Juline took me to a super duper fun, black & white themed art party this Sunday in a beautiful home/gallery in Chapel Hill.  The exhibition was from local collectors' black and white photography collections.  I got to see a Harry Calahan original print, which was very cool for me.  He was one of the first photographers whose work really captured my imagination.

Here is a photo of me (right) and Juline at the party.  The spinning light installation in the background is giving me ideas for my embroidered piece for Jo!  Things that go around and around... hmmm....