Sunday, January 31, 2010

quiet work with a loud whisper.

I am delighted to be writing my feature today on the lovely and subtle work of Northampton, Ma. based artist Christalena Hughmanick. Christalena had 3 of her gorgeous works of lace and tatting in the connective thread exhibition and they were a great addition to the exhibit of very traditional hand work being seen and approached in a very contemporary way.
Amongst these works were Ladies gloves...

SOS tatting...

and monogrammed handkerchief- all from a larger series of work.

Christalena has also made some exquisitely executed sweater/straightjacket's for her installation A New History for the Hysteria. The quality of the craftsmanship in all of her work is extremely impressive and the quiet but very poignant conceptual approach is admirable. She manages to have complete confidence in her work- giving her the grace to never overdo it.

Her very eloquent statement says:
My work deals with issues of societal control. Whether it's the institution of marriage, acceptable sexuality, gender expectation, or faith in God, our lives and the choices we make are greatly affected by deeply ingrained social and cultural structures. My work addresses these structures in order to create dialogue around the ways in which they dictate our norms, rituals, and behaviors. ...I create objects that illustrate the confining nature of both the woman's place in society and the objects that surround her. It is through this process that I both relate to and honor the subjugated women who have come before me. ....By examining structures of control in the lives of others, I invite viewers to recognize and question those that exist in their own. I hope to ignite individual empowerment and the freedom to make informed choices.

a very admirable and strong voice of an artist.

I too have often been interested in exploring these same confines, particularly in the traditional idea of marriage, therefore I really connect to and appreciate Christalena's work. I cannot wait to see what she does next.

See more of Christalena's work here.

Embroidery This Weekend!!!

Hey all you needle lovers, I am teaching 2 workshops this coming weekend. One in Lawrence, Ma. and one in Brooklyn. So if you want to get your stitch on come and join us.
Here are the details:

Essex Art Center: a class for you and if you want a class for your little ones too!

Saturday, February, 6, 2010
10am -12pm Adult Intro to Embroidery
In this two hour workshop you will learn basic stitches that will allow you to create either a traditional sampler following the guidelines provided by history or to create a completely unique piece. With the skills learned you will be able to continue making beautiful pieces of art or simply embellish items of your own.

1-3pm- Embroidered Animal ages 8 and up.
Translate a drawing of your favorite animal into a simple embroidery pattern. Learn basic stitches to create your animal in fiber, thread, and fun!!

Call or email to sign up and for details:
978-685-2343 Email:

Brooklyn General:
an Intro to Embroidery Class, the same description as the Essex Art Center class, Sunday, February 7, 10am-12pm.
Call or email to sign up and for details:
718-237-7753 or

To see dates for all my upcoming workshops go here.

and on we go...

Check out some new pieces and some returning pieces at my etsy shop.
A few other small ones are coming soon too.

And a little valentine treat. Anything ordered before Valentines Day gets $10 off their purchase. Think how sweet a little embroidered love or stitched sarcasm would be for your honey. Just say Valentines in the comments when you order and you will get your $10 refund.

Tomorrow I am planning on taking the long trek to the new Micheal's, all the way up in the 90th street world of Manhattan. But I need some essentials and a hoop shape that I cannot seem to find anywhere else. I hope they have it.

Back to the studio for now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

piles of inspiration.

I have been the lucky recipient of lots of hand me down linens lately. Folks are starting to see how much I love and need old linens and are happily sending them my way. I am of course delighted and so grateful.
My mom and grandma sorted through some stuff at my grandma's house to send some old linens to my studio and they found a bounty. Including an awesome white chenille bedspread. I cannot wait to see what it becomes.

My mom's friend, an artist herself, Yvette, also sorted through her linen stash and uncovered some goodies for me. Including a pile of small linens I so needed for my commission.

I very happily participate in round table discussions at A.I.R gallery where I have had the privilege of meeting an incredible group of women artists including a generation of artists in their 60's and 70's. It has been such and incredible experience to meet them and here their stories and perspective. Artist Leila Daw was kind enough to bring me a small stash of linens she had from when she worked in fiber many years ago. This one was kind of the mecca- as she also has the eye and appreciation towards stains, holes, and the beautiful fragility of old linens that I have. Quite a few of hers will be saved for something extra special.

I just feel so lucky to have such support towards my work and wanted to give a little shout out toward the growing pile of linens in my studio...they will be gone before I know it.

color abound.

When I first saw the work of Kendra Skalski in my inbox I absolutely loved it! She contacted me about the gorgeous quilt below that measures in at a whopping 96in x 240in . It is so lovely and innovative. But I felt it was too big for connective thread so she then sent images of other works. The work that I selected, above, Family ties, is a striking colorful circular wrapping of fibers. The color and shape is dynamic and gorgeous. It is created with approximately 1000 ft of hand knotted rope made of fabric, installed with sewing pins. I have to say every time I walked into the gallery this piece made me smile.

In her quilt work, Domestic Blossoming, I love how she has created irregular edges that almost seem to grow out like an ice formation mixed with the warm "homey" patterns of fabric.

In her statement Kendra says:
My work embraces the female experience and historical roles, such as sewing, ironing, and weaving. Materials that I have continued to incorporate into my work are fabrics, sewing patterns, ribbon, lace, doilies, beading, buttons, thread, gift paper, wall paper, sequins, and glitter. Many of these materials have been, and still are, considered purely “decorative” or “craft” materials. In using these materials I wish to blur the divide between what has historically been defined as “high art” and “low art”... fabric installations that I have recently constructed include processes which adhere the fabric together through ironing and sewing, as well as hand manipulation through knotting and weaving. By utilizing traditional household female processes and materials as the basis of the work, I embrace conventional female roles. Therefore empowering the feminine and further allowing me to support the domesticity of the customary female role. By using “craft” materials and domestic processes I aspire to validate the importance of these traditions... I wish to embrace those crafts traditionally associated with women, and use them as a foundation in my art in an attempt to give further credence to the role that women have played in the history of art.

I think Kendra has an excellent eye for color and texture and look forward to seeing what she does next. Her current portfolio acknowledges her interest in experimenting and taking risks and as she moves into a more sold direction I know that this will serve her well. The ability and courage to experiment always pays off in the end.

You can see her talent and skill with color and composition in her canvas works as well.
Kendra not only is a very talented artist but she is an incredibly sweet and gracious person. I loved getting to meet her and see her work slowly evolve onto the wall. I look forward to knowing her in the future and seeing what comes next.

See more of Kendra's work at her brand new website here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

9 months

Here are some images of my 5th & 6th month from my pregnancy piece, titled 9 months.
For each month I choose a dominate emotion or feeling and make a work for it. All the works are white on white tones and on round linens with hand done edging.
It has been a fun way to acknowledge the coming changes in our life.

I am already almost at the end of my 7th month and cannot figure out what the word should be for this month, I feel a bit combined of all the words that I have already done:
apprehensive, belly ache, exhausted, overwhelmed, excited, and uncomfortable.
Maybe feeling a but anxious- both in the good and bad way. We will see I still have another week to figure it out.

the sweet vernacular.

from the virtue&vice series (No. 1), from the lesson series (Evans, family)

from the lesson series (Evans, family)

I am so excited to be featuring connective artist Jane Waggonner Deschner today. I have had the privilege of meeting Jane on a few occasions while she was visiting NY from Montana. She is an extremely lovely woman who makes sensitive and perfectly crafted works of photographs and embroidery.

from the maxim series (row boat, Betty's boys)- included in connective thread.

Prior to connective thread, I had only seen images of Jane's work. So I was delighted to receive her work in the mail to see it first hand. Jane's craftsmanship is impeccable her stitching and collaging of the photographs is done with precision while her embroidered words are beautiful.

from the verso series (Me all alone)- my friend Ryan did a series similar to this and I love having a piece from it in my collection, something so lovely about the sentiment of the works.

Being someone who has a photographic background and who has worked with both alternative processes and printmaking techniques to explore family images and archives I felt an immediate affinity towards Jane's work.

from the garment series (t-shirt, Mother&sons)

Jane states:
...I’m aging. I want to moralize about accountability, acceptance, love, honesty, compassion, integrity, authenticity, gratitude and generosity. I appropriate and integrate the found photographs of strangers with the embroidered words of the famous. Embroidery binds snapshots together, inscribes a quote. Stitching by hand into these photos both destroys and mends. I puncture and suture, wound and heal, simultaneously. It is an intimate activity, meditative and, sometimes, physically painful because of the tedium of the activity and the osteoarthritis in my thumb joints.

from the fragment series (boy, girl, doll)

Poetically written she describes how she uses the vernacular photograph to talk about the deeper human experience. Often, in my opinion, on how one's youth affects them in their second half of life.

from the fragment series (me)

I have to say that I really love the fragment series, the way she breaks apart the image and zooms in on details and moments documented. Gorgeous.

To see more of Jane's work visit her Flickr page and please know that Jane is available to do commissioned works with your personal family photographs.

I will end this post with a quote Jane that has included in her statement- it is perfectly said.
The snapshot (is) the form of photography that is most defined by love.
~Nan Golden, I’ll be Your Mirror, 1996

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a few connective artists...

Rebecca Ringquist

So today I wanted to feature all the artists that have previously been featured here on the blog that are part of connective thread.
I was delighted that a few of my dear and talented friends submitted and that a few of my fave fiber artists submitted too. So here is a round up of connective thread artists that have been featured here before:

The extremely talented and amazing artist Rebecca Ringquist. I so wish she could have made it out to the opening- just so that I could have selfishly met her. But no such luck. Yet, I have a feeling we will cross paths many more times in our lives. At least I hope so. Rebecca's work is even more beautiful in person and if I ever come into some money she will be one of the first artists I add to my collection.
Read Rebecca's original feature here.

My fabulous friend Lyndsey Baldwin- who's new embroidered paper and book pieces are just gorgeous. I was so happy to see them in person as she started doing them after she moved all the way across the country to Seattle. But in short- I love them and they made a super sweet little grouping in the gallery. Her hand and precision on the making of them is lovely. I do sort of wish the selected books had a relationship to the images... but maybe they will grow into that.
Read Lyndsey's original feature here & here.

The very talented Kim Hennessy. Her installation was fun and scary for me to deal with. She sent a huge box full of all her "flag" pieces without any instructions and so I got the pleasure of picking through them and selecting the work to hang and how to hang it. I must say I think it looked great once installed. But luckily I did have the privilege of seeing this work installed by her twice before in different ways.
Read Kim's original feature here.

And finally Stacy Renee Morrison- a fabulously talented photographer, whose work ribbon, really added something to the exhibit. I did not know Stacy when I first featured her on the blog but have since had the pleasure of coffee and studio visit a few times. She is as lovely in person as her work is. Stacy spoke at our wonderful artists talk on Sunday and as usual her long term project the girl of my dreams fascinates. She has a wonderful story of how she came to her current body of work and the strange but lovely path it has lead her on as an artist and it was wonderful to hear her talk about it first hand.
Read Stacey's original feature here.

catch up.

Sorry no post yesterday but my weekends have been so crazy busy with teaching and art stuff that I needed a weekend day during the week- in which I actually attended to my life like cleaning house, paying bills, watering plants, and squeezing an actual yoga class in.
My commission got off safe and sound and- I got forced to be totally ripped off in the Fashion District by buying some needed embroidery hoops. $4 for a wooden hoop. Insane!

Now I am taking a little breather and working on some work just for fun- just a little text piece.
And last week I got 2 months of my pregnancy piece done, which has been neglected. Pictures tomorrow. I forgot my camera today.

And then back to making 3 new works for upcoming shows, shipping some work to Pittsburgh today for the Fiber Art Intn'l, and then trying to get my new series started before the baby comes. I would like to have it started to that I can just work on it at home those first months.

I have been getting some blog love lately and I SO very much appreciate it so a few huge thanks, virtual hugs, and such to...
a little house in the clouds for so sweetly relating to my work and words- I always loved this piece myself and remember that selling it was a bit bitter sweet for me.
LeiLiLaLoo for loving my banners- I have been thinking of re-visiting them somehow?
Tayla B for being inspired.
and the for picking me again as an editors pick.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Sunday- connective thread Artist's Talk!!!

Come one, come all, bring friends, tell friends.
Hear from the Artist's mouth all about their awesome fiber work.
Featuring 8 artists from the connective thread exhibit.

Artists Talk this Sunday, January 24, featuring artists from the connective thread exhibition.

5:30 pm at Sweet Lorraine Gallery.

Artists include:
Sarah Bahr
Marcy Chevali
Crystal Gregory
Einet Imber
Joetta Maue
Alisha McCurdy
Simone Melteson
Stacy Renee Morrison

wine will be served.


Some more shots of my work off to Seedhouse, a showroom that carries my work. Many of these pieces will be being shipped to Liberty of London, a very cool store that I am honored to be carried by.
Hopefully, they will do well and I can keep making them for the store. So if you are in London definitely stop by in a few weeks to check them out- and let me know how they look.

little houses...

Today a feature on the sweet and playful silk screened felt artworks by Simone Meltesen. I really love Simone's house boats they are both very cool and clever. I so wish I could afford to buy one for our little nursery corner... but no. Maybe someday.

Simone creates soft sculptures and places them in environments to photograph.

As well as explores a world "of young feral girls who live by the sea and constitute a self-sufficient society" through drawing and embroidery. Makes me think a bit of Henry Darger.

Simone talks about her approach toward soft sculpture and embroidery:
My choice of materials and techniques to work with, particularly thread, cloth, and embroidery, was initially inspired by work made by women in the 1970s during the Feminist Art movement. My small, portable sculptures made of soft materials, embodying domestic themes, challenge the traditionally monolithic nature of sculpture in the western world.

I love her use of pinhole photography to place the houses in ambiguous unidentifiable environments.
See more of her work here.
Simone will be speaking on Sunday at our super awesome artists talk.