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!


Do Not Eat! at sea with Salvaged Mutiny... And my fun at the seashore

In its new home on ship

Can I tell you how happy I am that Do Not Eat! finished its journey to Salvage Mutiny (a.k.a. the textile artist Joanne Donne)?  The little embroidery has a new home on her ship, where it will take other journeys with its new owner, surrounded by a crazy collection of unstitched hazard symbols like the one above. I'd be in trouble surrounded by all of those signs!

Joanne blogged about it here, on her wonderfully named blog, "A Crafter at Sea." Her artwork is amazing and worth spending gobs of time exploring.

Yes! It's a self portrait while biking...skillz!

I'm back from a beautiful weekend at Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Feeling sleepy but recharged. I trekked over dunes at Jockey's Ridge, wandered along the beach, hiked through swaps and wetlands, rode bicycles (which made me feel like a 10-year-old, pony-tailed girl) and luxuriated in the sunshine, fresh breezes and new smells. And in the fabulous company and conversation of my traveling companion.

Please, no martinis at Jockey's Ridge, NC.
(Photo & caption by Andy)
Stitching my small gifts for friends and feeling more confident about my bigger self-portrait, which I plan to sketch and design this week. In my darker moments, I wonder how I deserve all of this pleasure, happiness and creativity and I fear that it will come crashing down upon me.

New hazard sign to create and stitch: "No Darkness Allowed!"

La Tour Eiffel pour maman

Resting up today after a wonderful Christmas celebration with our families.  It is a rare snowy day in Durham, NC.  I'm holed up inside, trying to stay warm and recover from excessive mimosa drinking.

I didn't make many handmade gifts this year. The one piece that I did make was an embroidered Eiffel Tower pillow for my mother.

Back in 2000, my mother and I took a magical trip to Paris and Barcelona.  We spent 10 days together, just the two of us.  I had so much fun spoiling her, handling every transaction, ordering for her in restaurants and cafes, negotiating our way around Paris with my hesitant French.

I remember waking up one afternoon from a nap and my mother was lying the in bed next to me, smiling, watching me sleep.  She said she was just enjoying watching her beautiful daughter sleep and that she was so proud of me.

My elegant mom in Paris

Another time, in Barcelona, I went back to the hotel to rest and my mother stayed out, visiting museums and shops.  When she came back to the hotel she told me that, on a whim, she stopped into a Giacometti exhibition, because she loves sculpture and because she wanted to be like me, open to art and experiences in unexpected ways.  She told me that, being with me in Europe, she understood how I saw the world and she appreciated and admired what she called my "free spirit" in a way that she never had back home.

I never felt as close to my mother as I did on that trip.  We laughed and confessed and roamed around the cities.  My mother's first language is Spanish, but somehow I wound up doing the talking in Spain.  It was such a treat to bring her into my world and her openness moved me immensely.

I made this embroidery from a pattern in A Rainbow of Stitches.  A flag waves from the Eiffel Tower - it reads, "I love Mom."  The sewing on the pillow is a little rudimentary.  I found a fleure-dis-lis fabric. I'm not a confident machine sewer, yet, despite having a beautiful machine.
Luna and me in my father's study
This was a lovely Christmas.  I think you can see how happy I am in this photo of me and my exhausted baby dog Luna.  Family is complicated.  Sometimes things just work out right.