Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Better Farm in the past.

What I most love about this place is its history. I am one who loves tradition & history. I mean in a way my work is all about that- I do a process and medium that is steeped in tradition and history and the images and text I work from is - in a way a living memory of my own life. There is a gentleman here from the old school beginning days of the farm as a hippie commune and it makes me realize how it is such a treasure to have a place that so many people have passed through and had meaningful life memories occur at and now it has a new generation that continues this tradition in a new way.

Better Farm in the 70's

It, in ways, reminds me of the barn we go to every 4th of July. It has been in the same couple's hands for something like 18 years and every year they have a party on the 4th and it is always a privilege to hear about how life, the place, the world has changed and always wonderful to see this group of people that have grown apart in life come back and connect and how now a new generation is breathing life into it again.

The 4th of July party at our friends Barn in Liberty, NY

I grew up going to my grandpa's camp on the Ohio River and now that I think about it it too filled this same purpose. He was a generation above the "hippies" so it had a very different vibe. But he had the place a very long time, as long as I could remember, and would have parties where "old timers" would come together and share their memories of a life that is past and then share the life they had in the present. Folks that have grown into different income brackets, moved to different States, had dramatically different lives. Coming back and connecting. The "camp" got sold when I was in my teens, as he could no longer maintain it and no one wanted to take it on, but it was such a treasure of my childhood. And I am jealous that my sister, who was older at the time, got a few treasures, lamps, tables, etc from it as a way to hold onto it. I was to young to think of doing that.

I feel like my generation will to have these stories and the traditions and I have always wanted to a be a person that helps to create them with annual get together's, parties, etc, but I have realized that in NYC I have gotten away from this - as space is short and life is hectic but I am now, being on this property that has so many stories and so much love, remembering how valuable that effort to create tradition in my own life and my son's life is.

Now if only I had a gorgeous piece of property to start doing it on. I guess I will have to improvise.

Read about the founder of Better Farm here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

being inspired and soaking it in...

at the barn...

This weekend Better Arts had their annual Memorial Day celebration and they filled the art barn with work so I hung a few pieces and shared a work in process...

I dragged the above piece, 8 months, because I am feeling it is not done and think perhaps text needs to be added. I am just not sure what so I keep hoping that if I stare and it long enough it will speak to me. Still staring.

I have hung the pink piece, with my boys, straight across as it is in the picture and diagonal, so the point on the square is at the top. Still not sure which way I prefer.

I am very happy with this piece and it is mostly done. I am still thiking on if I want to fill the hair in more and add more contrast or leave it more like a sketch. What do you think?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's a deal.

Save big, save good. This weekend you can get 15% off Textile Arts Center classes mine included.

Playing with Fiber with Joetta Maue

Wed 6:30-9:30PM, June 8 - June 29

Celebrate fiber and all of its wonderful facets through this 4-session class where instead of focusing on an end product we focus on how taking risks and giving ourselves the freedom to "just play" opens up possibilities in our creative practice.

Each week we will focus on something a little different including:

-Needle point stitches and learning about how far we can push them or how we can combine them to make unique and fun textures or apply them to unexpected objects- these textures can become a signature look or a canvas to build with.

- Applique and how we can use found fabrics and objects to create dimensional collages through the most basic technique of attachment. Learn to take risks and do the unexpected. And how we can make anything work with fiber.

- Yarn and its many uses through crochet and knitting sculpturally

- Liquid- Play with painting fiber, watering it down, using stains like coffee and tea and combining this with other techniques to create truly layered pieces of art. Allow the natural tendency of the fabric to bleed to be a gift instead of a burden.

This class is all about having fun, pushing technique, and letting yourself think outside of the box. Students are strongly encouraged to bring materials to class such as found object, found fabrics, text, small items, buttons, whatever inspire you!

Register here or contact the textile arts center.

You can also sign up for the day of workshops that will be amazing with 7 artists in the exhibit teaching classes.
Get all the details here.

Friday, May 27, 2011


After a rainy morning, I pulled on my wellies picked up the babes and took a walk in the sunshine. Perusing through the garden, checking out the yard, and soaking it in...

Due to the fact that the weather has been a bit chilly at times and the babes just got over his fever I moved my "studio" indoors for now. It actually works great. A bit more like my studio in Brooklyn a nice couch to sit on and plenty of room for t to play.

With a happier baby I have managed to make some progress on things. After looking at this piece up on the wall I decided that I really liked the contrast of the red thread color of the figures with the pale pink and purple for the clothing and sheeting...

So as I move further on this piece I decided to use paler colors on the bedding here too.

Of course now I am on the stage with the work where it is all the subtle slow details that are being built. I always feel like I am not making any progress on the work at this point in the making. There is no dramatic oh wow look at that. But deep down I know that this is the time where the piece really becomes alive and even if the progress appears less it is just as essential to the work.

By the way I finally have taken a huge, big deep breath and it feels good.

pin cushions--- i love.

You may remember my mention of artist Belinda Smith is this Thread Reviews last week and to my delight Belinda commented which led me to her blog which led me to some images of a past exhibit.

I love, love, love her collection of porcelain pin cushions. I did a small piece a long time ago with pin cushions and would love to return to them as objects. I love piles and they would make an especially lovely pile.

Anyway Belinda has made some very interesting and diverse work working from small to very large scale with delicate materials such as fiber and porcelain to metal. So check some more of her work out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


my room where I spent most of the day with sad baby drenched in sunlight.

Yesterday the sun was bright, the air was warm, and the day was long.
and I do not mean long in a good way. The little babes was SO not happy due to what ended up being a pretty unpleasantly high fever. Poor babe, Poor mama, and Poor folks also in the house not related to mama and babe.

I did some gardening therapy and planted some cucumber in the garden. That was good.
Took a walk to the birdhouse to peek in on the adorable little baby birds. That was good.
And otherwise was sad and stressed with my sad little man.
So for any of you that read this blog and think being a mama and an artist is easy I am one to tell you no, no, no. But it ain't easy being a mama no matter what- hard work sometimes.

somehow amongst all that I did get some work done. Progress made.

But after a fitless night, awakening for a drive at 5:45 am, and a tired mama crash out on the bed. It seems the fever may have broken and my sweet boy returned. We will see. Fingers crossed. As this place has the potential to be such a great inspiration for my work.

a picture from the Better Farm FB page. A door from an installation done last year out in the field.

Today it is wet and rainy, cool and gray, the baby is asleep, my work is in front of me. So all in all the complete opposite of yesterday and I am just fine with that.

embroidery and a little history.

Victorian embroidered necklace

So in an attempt to be an educated person I am taking advantage of being out here in the fields to attempt to get through the oh so dense Subversive Stitch. At the next Collective Thread meeting the plan is to use the book as a jumping off point for conversation.

This morning I was reading away and a few points of interest were:

We all know that at points in history embroidery was used as a status symbol of wealth...showing that you had time to be idle and make embroidery. But one fascinating little tidbit towards this is that in the 1520's a favored item was embroidered gloves. By wearing these delicate gloves you separated yourself from the manual labor class as you were living a life "unsullied" existence in order to keep the gloves clean and sound. I personally love hand made gloves and always seem to buy them but never wear them as my life is quite sullied with reality. But maybe I should make my own pair of gloves at some point.

Victorian embroidered necklace

Also in discussing how embroidery and needlework was part of the female education and how it created a way to educate girls without that seeming to "threatening" to the patriarchy I found this quote interesting:

The place of needlework in a women's education was to become primary by the 17th century. In the 16th century it served 2 functions: endowed an education with elevated class associations, and making an education, which might otherwise have been deemed dangerously masculine, safely feminine.

embroidered book cover made by Queen Elizabeth I given as a gift

The reference to creating class within the educational environment was due to the fact that the women who needed to eventually make money turned her needle to useful sewing skills while the woman that was to "adorn some high position she must acquire suitable accomplishments...including drawing .... to beautify her needlework."

I have always been quite interested in the idea of class within the history of embroidery.

In graduate school this often became an issue for my faculty- in that my work was referring to an upper class. To me this was never a weakness as my point of view has always been from a middle to upper class place, since my teen years at least, and I think that it is just an interesting voice as any. Besides that I find upper class people making work about working class situations to be a little hypocritical. Anyway... I digress.

those are my reflections today.

Pictures of the day later. My camera is in with a sleeping babe and I do not dare wake him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I wish...

I was actually getting to spend time in this lovely studio and...

work on this piece...

I started it yesterday and am loving it.

and that my son would sleep peacefully as in this image.

finished this on the first day. It arrived about 2-3 hours from being done.

Perhaps tomorrow.

oh baby.

Jill Greenberg

so apparently the tranquility, the fresh air, the green grass, and the bird song turn my child into a demon child. He has pretty much not stopped screaming, whining, crying, or nursing since yesterday morning. And in short this is not going the way I had planned. Instead it has become my own quiet hell. It is hard enough to have a cranky baby, doubly hard when your partner is not around, triply hard when you are in an environment where you can't just plop them in a corner, walk away, and let them scream.

I feel for the guy as the place is unfamiliar, the people are unfamiliar, but I also feel like I am about to go crazy if I hear him whine one more time. And in reality I am not that accustomed to this as he is normally a very easy kiddo. So...not happy mama.

So needless to say my day could be better.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

all about me.

So I have decided that due to the fact that lately I have been all about other artists work due to my curatorial duties for Play...
And that the point of being at this residency is to focus on myself and my work...
therefore I will most likely not be doing much featuring of other artists over the next 2 weeks. I will write about my own work and my experience at the farm but take a break from looking at others.

Hopefully my adventure is still interesting and you stay posted and have faith that my regular "feature" posting will be back to normal once I am back in the big city at the beginning of June. But for now it is all about me. Oh how luxurious that feels.

Of course I may do a little post here and there about things I am reading or such.

And to keep you inspired check out these articles from the NY times:

This one on Yarn Bombing.

and this one on Sheila Hicks' small weaving's on view in Manhattan through October.

a "better" day...

oh, even with a very cranky baby that essentially has refused to to sleep all day, the day has still been a good day here at the better farm. t did not wake up cranky but happily ate his am bananas while soaking in the morning sun while I lingered in bed.

After some coffee and a walk to see the chickens I headed to the art barn to work...

a perfect spot in the sun...if only t took a long nap so I could get more work done.

Last night after the babers went to bed I headed back out to the barn to take advantage of the darkness and got 3 new drawings done. I know the blue on white photographs awesome but maybe you can see an element that intrigues you?

Super excited by this one, you may not be able to see but it is composed in a way that a leg is going down the linen, see the foot on the bottom?

This one is the one I spent most of the day working on...and I am loving it. Something about the image, the unfinished circle...something.

and then some yoga in the sun and now mama time. Beside longing for my love all is exactly as it should be here, quiet, simple, and all about making my work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

frogs & whippoorwills...

views from the back deck.

Oh make me blush... Nicole of Better Farms wrote a very sweet and very kind post about me introducing me to the community. Read it here.

my cozy room- already a mess from the toddler in tow.

the view from my bed... this morning I awoke to a robin's song and the colors of a blue jay. just a little different then home.

I arrived just before the sun went down last night... To a sweet house with a massive collection of books, 3 dogs, a cozy room, frogs and whippoorwills. Other then missing my C immensely I think this will be very very good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

if you have not seen...

The above work, Valentine, is my favorite for sure

Rebecca Ringquist updated her website to include images of her current show in Chicago and it is so WORTH a gander. Head over and see her gorgeous work that has been stitched so densely, densely, densely.

See it all here.