Wednesday, February 29, 2012

hooks and trees

When I first came to the work of Liz Alpert Fay it was via her incredibly gorgeous hook rugs.  It seems that since that first exposure, which was over 5 years ago, that she has started to take her work into a more sculptural and conceptual path and it is working.

 Long influenced by nature Fay continues to make uber sumptuous hook rugs but inspired by an expansion onto her home and the need to cut down some beloved trees she started her  Tree skirt series, inspired by the individuality of each found piece of wood.

Fay says this about the project:

In the summer of 2006, the building began. The back of our house was torn off and new rooms were built. In order to complete this project, it was necessary that some of the trees in our yard be cut down. It was then that I realized how we felt about those trees. They had grown precious to us, and losing them was like losing an old friend. After the deed was done, we made a conscious decision to not waste the wood that came from these trees. We chose to incorporate it into our lives...

This ongoing series of sculptures celebrates the beauty of the natural world and expresses my concerns for our dwindling natural resources, especially the trees.

Is seems that this project opened doors for Fay as an artist and she has continued to explore more sculptural works. One of which is Collector of Words, I Dream in Color a personal piece about words, dreams, and desires.

Fay's work has always been a testament to incredible skill and vision but her newer work adds an exciting dimension to her oeuvre as an artist. See more work here.


Another plant image in process in my studio.

Lately, I have felt tethered to my computer dealing with so many things. Which in many ways means good things as that means projects and opportunities to "deal" with but sometime I just miss getting lost in my studio and forgetting about my computer, my emails, my writing, etc. Somehow this is becoming increasingly difficult to do.

But it also shows me that my role and identity is shifting from being an artist to being many things. In speaking to the director of Mixed Greens gallery in Chelsea for an article I am working on she said... "artists are becoming curators, curators are critics, and critics are artists." She was pointing out how this has changed the art world and how people, especially artists, are navigating it. As she was talking I thought, woah, I am all of those things. I am no longer just an artist looking to exhibit my work but I am just as excited about exhibiting other artists and writing about what I am seeing, in reality I don't want to be only in m studio. It is exciting but at times overwhelming so many hats to wear, so many projects to keep organized, so many expectations to meet. Not to mention the mama hat.

So I have been thinking about ways to cope with the many roles and all the work that goes along with them. And of course the ever present fact that we all must make a living and I know my husband would love it if my living made a little more. Perhaps this is the moment when the creativity of an artist is most valuable is in figuring out how to be and live the life meant for you.

What do you do to keep it all flowing

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"adventures in the wilderness"

The quilt of Bonnie Peterson at the Textile Study group exhibit in NYC was a stand out piece in the show. Though her work is not aesthetically what I normally would be drawn to her technique and attention to detail cannot be ignored.

Her work which over the years has changed in concept is always incredibly dense with careful thought, thousands of stitches, and an obvious love for her medium.

In her statement she says:

My art chronicles my adventures in the wilderness and through life. I use embroidery to communicate provocative environmental and social issues. I present quantitative information in an unusual combination of stitched text and graphics. The work provides a novel opportunity to consider the scientific and historic context inherent in current events and social questions...

I am often astonished when I find a passage in an explorer's journal that describes scenery I have visited or a rugged mountain trail I've walked. I share that sense of discovery and uncovering in my work. With soft materials and ornate stitching, I expose the viewer to fascinating science and environmental interactions on our earth.

See more of her wonderful work here.

more hands

This is a little something I am working on in my studio. I have the idea for the final piece though some logistical issues are still unclear. But of course instead of figuring those out I am just diving in and embroidering. So I guess we will see. I seriously have SO much work to do in the studio. With my 2 shows being just a few months apart I cannot seem to make enough hours in the day.

but it is nice to know that by the end I will have 2 new bodies of work that I am very excited about.

Tonight I am planning on getting my next sleepers drawing done so that I can get stitching on it asap. I only have 3 done and would like 8 so that means about one a month. ACK. That means get busy Joetta. But I do at least have the photos for the next 3. Does anyone know a way to duplicate a person?

give a little blood...

I mentioned the work of Leigh Bowser yesterday and she emailed me a thank you note with a link to her new project The Blood Bag. This art project is meant to raise awareness for the very rare blood condition Diamond Blackfan Anemia, which her beautiful young niece suffers from.

The project asks YOU to create a "blood" bag from fabric for the final installation work. This work not only brings awareness to DBA but to the importance of donating blood in general. Read about the project and learn how to contribute here.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I loved the work of Leigh Loves You when I first saw it a few months back on the Mr. X. I remember once someone described my work as simple, meaning it as a compliment... but it always kind of bothered me. But today I feel like I know what they meant. When I was looking for what to feature today I found many artists in my little folder of inspiration that were great but they all had so much complexity to what they were doing either conceptually or technically or both and I wanted to look at and write about work that was simple and direct.

I remembered Leigh's lovely project on being a twin and knew it was the perfect work to feature today. The strength of this work is in its simplicity. Leigh works from what seems like old family photos of twins, I am assuming often of herself and her sister. Her drawing hand is lovely and has an honesty to it that draws me in.

The lines seem like they are not overly considered but freely made with out too much "over" thinking. There lies the strength for me, the direct honesty of her style. No using overly conceptual ideas, or fancy techniques just simple lines, simple stitches, and an excellent awareness towards negative space.

I especially love how she shows the front and backs of many works. Emulating the experience of being twinned. Simultaneously the same yet utterly different.

I also like her collage techniques, the combination of pencil and paint and texture with stitches.

Leigh is a young artist just embarking on her career and her thoughtful vulnerability shows me that she has a lot to give. You can see a number of other projects including the side show project, image above, and her new project on her niece who suffers from a rare disease.

I cannot wait to watch what she does with her stitches next.

getting excited...

I am getting so excited about Fiber Philadelphia this coming weekend. If you live under a rock and do not know what I am talking about, just joking, sort of. Philadelphia has gone all in with over 40 venues holding exhibits that feature fiber artists, many of which are opening this coming weekend and then at the end of the month the SDA conference.

To start of the weekend there is an excellent sounding lecture by Elissa Auther on fiber in the 21st century and then countless openings of exhibitions. And judging by the colleagues of mine that are showing these are shows with very contemporary work and thoughtful curators. I am super excited to see so much fiber work in one weekend.

Though my brain might explode from inspiration. I will also have a large work in the Outside/Inside the Box exhibit sponsored by Fiber Philadelphia.

So firstly look forward to a ton of upcoming reviews on the shows.

Secondly if you are going to the weekend please let me know I would LOVE to meet readers and fiber artists. I will obviously be at the opening of Outside/Inside the Box but I will also be around the entire weekend and am open to company. So please let me know my email is my name at gmail.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Neighborhood Beat: Red Hook, BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn, January 2012

Interview with SCTV

Still from video

Watch a live interview with me for SCTV in November 2010 while a Tin Shop Artist Residency in Breckenridge, Colorado

if you like them flowers...

one of my favorites in the room by Maria Oosterwijck

Since I mentioned my flowers I thought I should share some incredible flower images that I have been being inspired by lately. Growing up I spent a fair amount of time at the Cincinnati Art Museum and once I had my license went there ALL THE TIME. One of my favorite spots was this little gem of a room with their Dutch Still Life collection. It was a small circular room with a domed roof, very dark except for the traditional feature lights, the walls a dark turquoise green. Hung on the walls were maybe 6 or 8 dutch still life's. I was drawn to their stillness, their small details of decay within the beauty and life, the dramatic lighting, and specialness of the room.

To this day I am continuously drawn to the still life and so the photographs of florist and stylist Sarah Ryhanan documented on her blog Saipua are totally inspiring and uber gorgeous. Enjoy the visit.

an experiment with flowers...

I have been experimenting in my studio in efforts to figure out how to do a small installation that I would like to be a part of my one show. These flowers are some of the work I have done. I originally wanted found crochet flowers but and concerned that I will not be able to find enough for my deadline so got inspired to try to make some flowers. They have been a fun break from my normally laborious stitching and in general I think this entire project will be a nice break for me.

Of course I am still constantly stitching too.

What experiments are you doing in your studio?

woven glass.

These woven works by artists Eric Markow & Thom Norris are pretty darn impressive when you realize they are woven out of glass.

This duo of artists do quite a lot of commercial work such as small table sculptures and inlays within your home-- but their larger art creations are the most interesting to me.

Their sense of color is excellent and the influence of the southwest is evident in their choices.

I especially love the pieces that feel like a scrap of weaving with the raw edges of "fabric" exposed- these are by far the most interesting and I would love to see one super LARGE scale. Wouldn't it be such a lovely piece of public art?

Their life-size kimonos are pretty incredible too. Knowing a limited amount about glass work, from some classes that I took in undergrad, their technique and skill is quite impressive.

I am always attracted to works like this that are using fiber practices and techniques with a very contrasting material. Making the hard soft, the pliable rigid, and the strong fragile. Love that contrast. See more of their work, which includes more narrative works, here.

I generally have always thought of weaving as a sort of an "off limits" medium to me as the skill set was daunting and the "structured" way of working was not appealing. Recently in a conversation I was having we were talking about weaving and I was reminded of the simple raw hand weaving I did as a child and now have started to think of it as a much more accesible tool for me. Something to explore---

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Foreign Bodies

I love this series of images, Foreign Bodies, by fashion photographer Jonathan Mist. I originally saw them here.

The works are found clothing and objects found out in nature, discarded objects left to rot. Through his process of using a table scanner to take the image he captures every bit of detail of the worn out nature of the object.

With each detail of the object a story is told leading us down a thread of mystery and memory.

It reminds me of why I use "used" linens and how much story is in each cloths threads.

See more here.


some shots of my "space between" piece drying after I washed it.
Things in the studio have been good this week. Feeling inspired and less burnt out. Thankfully.


This film is really good. It does not seem to have been picked up for distribution which is a shame as it is a really thoughtful and beautifully filmed documentary about technology and the arts, focusing on the music scene.

PressPausePlay focuses more on music than anything else but also touches significantly on film and mentions photography. The truth of the film is actually about the creative process and how changes in technology affect it, both good and bad. Any one working in the creative field can glean a lot of really interesting and inspiring things from it.

Settle into the couch or the studio and push play.
Watch the film here.