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!

Adventures NYC, Part 1

Lucky me! Three days with Erin, Kevin & Maeve in Brooklyn. The Diego Rivera and Print Out shows at the MOMA and a wonderful, Centennial exhibition at the NYC Public Library. (Stitch-speration abounds.) Gorging on threads and fabrics at Purl Soho. Bouncing around NYC... man, it doesn't get much better than this.

"Super Duper Sound System" by Joshua Abram Howard.
(Read more about this N Brooklyn mural project.)

Erin is one of my oldest friends. To say I adore her is an understatement. She lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with her talented, writer husband Kevin and little gnomina daughter Maeve.

Erin & Maeve bring their auburn beauty
to the garden at the MOMA.

Three days in the generous company of her family, talking about life and art, eating Erin's phenomimal food... it is like heaven.

Me looking dwarfish in front of "Welcome to Greenpoint" by Skewville,
part of the India Street Mural project. 

Kevin is a writer, blogger and translator from Russian. And an all-around brilliant and funny soul. Kevin writes about art on his blog (New First Unexpected) A recent post is about the Diego Rivera exhibition at the MOMA, which we saw together.

"May Day Moscow, 1927" by Rivera.

I was also struck by Rivera's sketches from scenes in Moscow, especially the way he painted large groups of people in an unfamiliar enviornment. I enjoyed seeing the way he composed these quick paintings in strong horizontals -- sort of thick and heavy. Some of the sketches had more energy to their composition (he threw in some wonderful diagnonal frames) but the weightiness of the group scenes, with their flat lines and rows, spoke to me about the heaviness and gravity of the events themselves.

Collection of prints from the Print Out exhibition at the MOMA

We also spent some time at the Print Out exhibition, which showered me with stitch-speration and lead me to try to write in Chinese.

The circles in this piece give me chills when I think about
making them into raised, thread bumps!

And imagine a piece done entirely in raised spider wheel circles, like the circles from news print.

My sketchbook and some word stitching.

It is a cliche to say that in the city you are surrounded by powerful images, both intentional and unintentional. But it is true. I ate up all of the scenes and sounds and details and ideas around me. Devour them.

Random detail 1: Carved stone panel near the
front door of Erin's garden apartment.

Random detail 2: A ghostly leaf in my cappucino at Bowery Coffee in the Lower East Side
where a had a lovely time reconnecting with another NYC talented soul, Amy Vickers. 

I love my Durham home. I also love the city of my birth, NYC. I love my NC friends and life. I adore the visual gifts the natural world gives to us every day here in North Carolina. I don't love the strip malls. I don't love the parking lots. I don't love the beige work cubes. Getting away for even a few days... this helps me become less numb to the beauty around me.

Seeking your love of life, my peeps!

More to come... but for now I ask my NC peeps to share with me all that they find beautiful or sad or intense. Let's help each other make the most out of this gorgeous life. Every detail!


Battling My Pink Robots

This is a blog about stitching, textile art, creativity and community, not about the visitudes of my emotions. But I try to be a honest maker and artist and, for me, my emotional and intellectual life is a huge part of my art practice, so please be patient with me.

My view: knees, sheet and stitching

Woke up lonely and blue this morning. Unsure of myself.

I had two choices. 1) Stay in bed, stewing in my sadness, feeling like no one cares about me. 2) Get up, eat a big bowl of Greek yogurt with berries, put on some music that feels like an embrace and stitch.

Guess which one I chose.

The yogurt was tart and fresh. Listened to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (The Flaming Lips) and stretched out on my soft bed and stitched. The music, Wayne Coyne's voice, the simple red back stitch and my vibrant purple sheets... it seeped through my skin and worked its way down to the sadness.

I love stitching in DMC 321 red floss!

I wouldn't say that it removed my blueness or loneliness or shaky self-doubt, but it softened it. It put the lonely blues within the context of being a "part of life" that I can embrace, experience, survive and even create from, rather than be overwhelmed or crushed by it.

I don't know where the sun beams end and the star
Lights begins it's all a mystery
And I don't know how a man decides what right for his
Own life - it's all a mystery
~From, Fight Test

I have a long, busy, lonely day ahead of me today in the corporate salt mines. But tonight I meet up with friends, go to an art opening at The Nasher (The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure  the Signs of Power, 1973-1991) and meet Wonder Woman!

Opening night talk at the Nasher, 9/15/11, 7pm

And I had this morning and my music and food and stitching to buoy me. And there are so many people in my life that I care about and love and, I have to believe, that they care about and love me, too.

So I'm going to keep fighting and living and embracing experience and making what moves me to make it. And I'll keep reaching out to people, trying to make connections, both with my friends and by meeting new people.

I'll keep battling my pink robots.

So Much Stitch-Speration at the MOMA, my head exploded

Haven't been to the Museum of Modern Art in 5 or 6 years and I took myself there on NYC trip this past weekend. Of course, one wanders around, unsure what to focus upon, being pushed this way and that way by the throngs of other museum goers, some clearly suffering, wildly uncomfortable and not sure why the hell they are there.

Me, excited in my taxi, en route to the MOMA
Me, I'm there to just absorb, to allow my eyes to be tantalized and my heart to be stirred. I did my own aimless wandering for a few minutes, after leaping from my taxi. But I thought to myself, O, why are you here? And I answered myself, in that weirdly clear-headed way that I can conjure when I'm not too self-conscious. I said, to look at images and think about stitching. What I call Stitch-Speration, just like a did a couple of weeks ago with a friend at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Natalia Goncharova. Imagine piling stitches up on top of each other in this way.
So that is all that I did. I roamed and let my eyes fall on anything--any color combo or pattern or speck of a design that resonated with the feeling of putting a needle into fabric, or building layers of color and pattern on cloth.

Umberto Boccioni.
At first I was attracted to color and shapes.

Gino Severini. Imagine attaching dull sequins to your piece, over stitching.

Piet Mondrian. Black outline around your stitches.

Diego Rivera. Playing with stitched portraiture inspired by this.

Vasily Kandinski.

Then I started finding text, which I adore stitching.

Joseph Kosuth. Imagine providing false definitions.

Marcel Broodthayers

Finally I found the Talk to Me exhibit, which featured MANY works that had text and symbols within them, but were really about the interaction between people and their technology. As someone who texts constantly (to the point that I probably drive people crazy), is on Twitter and Facebook, has met a few amazing people through online dating, has reconnected with old friends through email, blogs, lives with her iPhone in her bra and gets her news almost exclusively through the NY Times online, interacting with technology is an interesting subject.

What 100 Million Calls to 311 Reveal about NYC/

Imagine false info being mapped.
This is a a pitifully abbreviated sample, but I was particularly struck by two pieces: A NYC 311 graph of when and why people call the City of New York for various public services (at 3 am they want HIV testing but at 2 pm they want to complain about odd odors) and a lovely document about symbols homeless people leave to instruct other homeless about the conditions in their surroundings. I ADORE the symbols and the documentation about what is most important to share. And it reminds me of 1930s Hobo chalk markings that served a similar purpose.

Homeless City Guide

I adore the symbols.

Oh, and the the catalog of "Ss" in Parisian graffiti really appealed to both the artist/text obsessed part of me and the nerdy kid who loves lists of things part of me.

Graffiti Taxonomy, Paris

And then there is the wonderful, fragile beauty of drawings on napkins. And I imagine stitching into paper napkins and leaving them to be found.

Jim Hodges. A Diary of Flowers. 
Another project for another day, no doubt.

The garden is peaceful even if we are not.

Rested in the sculpture garden at the moment and allowed all of the ideas to wash over me. So many sources of inspiration out there. So many wonderful people in my life.

I'm goofily grateful.

Happily Trolling for Stitch-Speration, Raleigh-style

Ledelle Moe, Congregation

Spent a fantastic Saturday afternoon with a friend, floating around the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, searching for "stitch-speration." I'm participating in a 2012 Sketchbook Project and working on the theme of Writing on the Wall, so this was in part to get ideas for that project and beyond.

Specifically, I was looking for uses of text in the artwork. I adore stitched text and I'm constantly seeking examples of text within other artists' work. I am also interested in finding examples of patterns or motifs, including but not limited to text, on the edges of artwork.  Sort of a liminal design... images and patterns falling of the edge of a piece. Two ongoing passions of mine: text and liminal designs. I found some lovely examples at the museum, but I was also inspired by other work and my mind is full of ideas!

The piece above is densely layered words that are virtually unreadable. I thought it would be amazing to write a confession, whether criminal or personal, and stitch it up. The terrible act could be documented and confessed, but safe within the layers of the piece. That is a New Project Idea 1.

This is a beautiful painting that has the appearance of a grid or a map. The long rectangles contain names and they are connected through a series of lines.

I'm musing with the idea of a stitched map or grid with the people or place names. I'm not sure yet what the collection of text will be the the connection between them. But this is New Project Idea Number 2.

I love the idea of giant text over a stitched portrait. New Project Idea Number 3.

And finally, outside of the text/liminal design idea, there were other images and pieces that attracted me and gave me kernels of ideas for other project. This shot of my friend through a prism gave me an idea of a way to playfully construct a portrait.

The use of thread spools to "paint" a version of the Mona Lisa made me think about stitching blocks of color to construct a bigger image. Sort of a pointilist idea, but simple and using threads. Plus it is just so freaking cool to see spools of my precious thread used like this!

Ledelle Moe, Congregation

And this stunning collection of concrete heads, arranged into a cluster on the wall, just amazes me. ("Congregation" by Ledelle Moe, 2005-2007) Each face is completely different and completely tortured, rendered roughly in the concrete yet each head also, somehow, has a delicacy of expression that is haunting. It just moves me and makes me want to play with faces and clusters.

Writing this blog post a 3:30 am, filled with ideas and energy and excitement about projects.  What an unexpectedly lovely day of absorbing stitch-speration with my friend! Now to find the time to focus on it. I know that 3:30 am is not that time, however energized I might feel by the images I saw. So back to bed for O!

Last note: I'm embarrassed to realize that I did not write down the names of the artists or the pieces I photographed, which is NOT like me at all. I couldn't find these particular pieces on the NCMA website, so I'll definitely go back soon to collect them. Terrible omission, on my part. OY!

UPDATE: Thanks to Katherine for sending me the name of the concrete head piece! Read more about it here: