So Much Depends Upon a Red Ant

Hine Mizushima
Hine Mitzushima's needle felted red ant, my one glorious purchase from The Needle Felting Extravaganza exhibit at Gallery Hananhou in Manhattan last March... so much depends upon her.

I could almost eat this little wool ant, in hopes of absorbing a tiny fraction of Hine's imaginative skills. Doesn't it work that way? If you eat the artwork you love, does it give you it's essence and can you use that to create?

Hine Mizushima
Better not risk it!

Just don't let any rainwater get on my beautiful ant. And keep it away from white chickens, dammit.

I'm going back to New York City, I do believe I've had enough

I've always loved that line from Dylan's "Tom Thumb Blues." For crazy, over-the-top inspiration, you just can't beat the town of my birth.

Hine Mizushima
To say I was overwhelmed by the Needle Felting Extravaganza at the Gallery Hanahou is an understatement.  I was utterly blown away by the needle felted creations of Hine Mizushima and Yoko Nomura.  I wandered around the little white gallery space for an hour, almost in tears, just absorbing their boundless imagination and the beauty of their alternate, woolly realities.

First up, Hine Mizushima's collection, "The Unnatural History Museum."  Several of the pieces were little, crazy treasures pinned in red boxes, like the curiosities of an obsessed Victoria gentleman. Ectoplasm in tubes, red ants and fanciful neurons. Doll girls displaying their organs with blissful little faces.

Hine Mizushima
Hine Mizushima
Hine Mizushima
Next, Yoko Nomura's, "Fractured Fairy Tales." Absurdly cute little bears and rabbits engaged in all manner of dark, fairy tale mayhem.  The contrast between their adorable faces and the weird activities they engaged it left me feeling wonderfully unbalanced.

Yoko Nomura
Yoko Nomura 
Yoko Nomura
These look great on the screen, but to see them in person, to see behind the pieces, was like savoring the most decadent hot fudge sundae versus licking on a soft serve cone. Their talent and skill was like an actual energy field rippling through the gallery space.

Yoko Nomura
I'm a little adrift in my own creative and personal life right now.  A little unhinged, unable to land in a sunny spot and focus on anything.  This weekend I hope to spend some time refocusing and reconnecting to that tiny piece of myself that allows me to access a miniature aperture into the playful fields of these artists.

I will start very small and focus on a piece of myself, my ears, and do some thread-sketching.  Not in a narcissistic way, but in a (hopefully) grounding way. A tiny piece of a self-portrait.

As a treat, I purchased one of Hine Mizushima's tiny red ants!  I plan to keep this guy close to me as I find my way back.

Brooklyn Bound, baby!

I’m headed up to NYC , land of my birth, this weekend. Woot!  Going see old friends, including finally meeting Maeve, the little Irish princess that I made this sweater for.

The pattern is the Seamless Kimono Baby Sweater from Jackie Kelly at The Complete Fabrication.   

I found it on ravelry and I just love it.

While in NYC, I’m geeked to be seeing the Felter Skelter Needle Felting All Stars Show at the Gallery Hanahou.  

This show features the work of four needlefelting goddesses who I have long admired, Moxie, Hine Mizushima, Kit Lane and Yoku Nomura.  I own a few pieces by Yoku Nomura (aka feltmates), including this insanely cool panda brooch that I purchased her etsy shop.  I’d wear every day if I could.

I plan to roam, have cocktails, play with old friends and just enjoy myself.  For me that means looking for fabric for my Andy Warhol embroidery piece, seeking out lumnious fibers and threads, visiting the Japanese toy store and pursuing all things handmade. Hopefully I won't freeze to death, as I've become a bit thin-blooded from living in the warm South for so many years. (It was 83F/28C degrees in Durham, NC, today!) 

Looking forward to three days of doing whatever I want!


Happy Halloween, freaks and ghouls!

A quick shot of the pumpkin patch and a little needle felted candy corn brooch I made.  JC sold a bunch of these for me at an arts education conference last weekend.  Next Halloween I’ll have to make more! 

I’m in such a strange place… it feels like every day is Halloween in my life at the moment. 

Oh well.  Stay calm, carry on.

Getting lost in my own gray town

Today the world was gray, rainy and oddly warm. The air felt like mushroom soup. I got hopelessly lost in a town that I’ve lived in for 10 years.  So profoundly lost that I wound up in a huge cemetery that I’ve never seen before and hope to never see again.  The sense of disorientation was almost overwhelming.

Imagine this: Instead of being alone and surrounded by muted grays of the tombstones and the clouds, you are awash in color, radiating red or orange or fuchsia from the core of your tiny body out, immersed in a sea of your vibrantly colored friends.

That is what these needle felted bulbs must feel when then roll around together.  Can you imagine their intense joy and sense of connection to each other?

Even adults need colors and toys.

What the heck is "stitch, stab & scrawl?"

I know... Stitch, stab and scrawl... a little odd sounding...

Thought I'd create a simple blog to collect my adventures in toy making and other creative endeavors! And to make my toys and other objects, I do a lot of stitching (sewing, embroidery, knitting), stabbing (needle felting) and scrawling (sketching designs, doodling, writing about the creatures I make).  See, not as fearsome as it first sounded, huh?

Here is an example of two creatures who I made with lots of stitching, stabbing and scrawling.

Meet Shabadoo & Shabadee, the demented bunnies of 2009.  They are sisters living on separate coasts.  Shabadoo lives with my friend Lisa in Portland and Shabadee lives with me in Durham.  Huge fans of The Beastie Boys "Hey F*ck You!" from which they got their names.

Shabadoo & Shabadee have knitted and felted bodies. Their heads are needle felted and ears are wet felted. They have various embroidery on their matching frocks and paws. And they sport art shrink paper images of their own skulls.  They are tough girls.

Two of my girls!