Sunday, August 29, 2010

tough decisions

So today I am finalizing my selection of work for the exhibit at the Textile Arts Center and it has been tough!!! I was overwhelmed with the response I got from the open call- a massive amount of artists applied which is of course amazing and wonderful but makes my job all the more difficult.

The hardest thing is that I got a ton of work unlike what I was envisioning but that is totally GREAT work. So for a moment I started to reconsider my idea for the exhibit.
There were amazing costume works like the above works by April Hale- enough of them that I could create an entire show of wearable work.

And a ton of incredibly gorgeous and technically impressive minimalist works such as these weavings by Jenn McNamara.

But in the end I have decided to stick to my initial vision for the exhibit which includes some large scale works, sensitive narratives, and bright colors- though not all at the same time. The list of artists will be announced this week.

the art and science of happiness.

I received a show card in the mail for the upcoming exhibit, The Art and Science of Happiness, by Patricia Dahlman. The card was playful and colorful and fiber- so I was intrigued.

I ventured to Patricia's website to find fun and whimsical silk sculptures that almost feel like toys along with some other lovely work.

Seriously, her works are so much like modern toys, considering I spent all day looking online for an "activity mat" for lil't I have a good idea of toys at the moment. The colors and shapes. He would love these works as much as I do.

If you look further into the work you actually see some personal narratives and often a bit of political edge. The exhibits press release states:

... explores how economic security, political stability, family, careers, health, community involvement, and other domains contribute (or not) to ones sense of being "happy." Dahlman's subject matter ranges across the political, social, and economic spectrums, while addressing issues of nature and society. She uses sewn and stitched forms made from canvas and colorful fabric to create both sculptural and 2-dimensional works that are playful or serious, and sometimes both. The works selected for this exhibition include landscapes, abstract forms, narratives and figural works that comment on the environmental destruction in her community as well as recent political events in America. They represent her visions and hopes for an improved future for society and the world.

Patricia also makes some lovely embroideries.

You can see more of her work online or stop in at the exhibit which opens September 7.

Friday, August 27, 2010

playful puppies.

Sadly, Eunkyung Lee missed the deadline for the Textile Arts Center exhibit but I am so glad she contacted me as her work is so sweet and perfect for an exhibit that I am curating in the spring. Eunklyung seems a little obsessed with her dog but the result is charming, clever and playful work.

Check out these awesome "puzzle" works...

or her big park puppy.

she states:

By examining the ways that inanimate objects and other living things can become personified, I want to explore the emotional connections that can be had with the material world.

See more of her work here.


gorgeous painting by Holly Farrell

I went to the studio today- all afternoon with Tesla and it was actually quite great. I got a lot done when he was in down time and due to our new comfy couch when he needed a little love and attention I was able to be comfortable and play with him. I am starting to see light at the end of this "never make any work" tunnel. Even if it is just a little light.

I got ready to start a very special piece that I am making- the ketubah for a very dear friends wedding.

Also a lovely thanks to a few mentions of me here, some flattering words here and here, and a mention here. Such a boost to know people are appreciating what I do, get me motivated!!!
Thank you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Perriand reclining on the chaise longue she made with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret,

I have resigned I am not going to get anything done today.


Catherine Opie image of herself and her son.

Last night I went to a very informal discussion at A.I.R gallery that was part of the current exhibit and calender of events put on by tART. The discussion was about motherhood and being an artist.

It was a a great boost of: I am not alone in this craziness.

As I said it was very informal - picnic style just sitting on blankets on the floor with a cup of wine. There were perhaps 7 or 8 of us all with young children. The discussion was somewhat haphazard & unstructured but it was still great.
Most of the mom's were feeling the same issues as me: How do you find a chunk of time in the studio? No real answers but shared issues.
I look forward to when me and my studio mate can swap baby days as she is having a little one next month. That will be AMAZING but of course a few months away since her babes will be brand new.

One of the great things about the discussion was finding out about the blog Momtra- or "art mom" backwards.
This blog is not regularly updated but a site that:

-lists writer and artist mama's - to show us that it can be done-(I actually made a list like this as part of my thesis show and made a piece about it. It was amazing to see how many very successful artists had children and you never knew)
-has a list of books, such as one that is artists talking about the experience of motherhood and the life as an artist. (I already ordered 2 of them.)
-lists family friend residencies
-mentions this documentary - I must somehow see it.
-and a very interesting recent article on mother/artists.

It also links to the search site called Searching for Mother that searches recent post, tweets, and articles hat mention the word "mother" it is in short AWESOME.

So I recommend checking all this stuff out even if you are not a mama.

But I still have not figured out how to get any actual work done?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

inside her mind...

Oh my goodness thank you, thank you Cardinal Arts. Ms. Cardinal herself left a comment on my post yesterday about Tracey Emin and led me to a mecca of wonderfulness. She let me know that for a period Emin wrote a column for The Independent newspaper in the UK.

Upon learning this I immediately searched for it wanting and hoping for an archive of the articles and it was FOUND. I have only had time to read a few but I love being able to get inside the mind of an artist, especially one that I admire so... I plan on reading each and every one.

They are simple diaristic writings about being an artist and living the life of an artist. I was disappointed by Tracey's memoir Strangeland as it seemed to me to be quite self indulgent. But these columns are perfectly raw and honest and truly about the daily experience of an artist. So excited.

You can see all them here.
Thanks Cardinal!!!!


The collaborative piece Deluge by Christopher Curtin and Mary Babcock was submitted to the Textile Arts Center and it is gorgeous. Unfortunately, I doubt that I will be able to select the work for the exhibit as is it is super large scale at 30' x 40' x 12'.But it is oh so lovely.

My understanding of the work is that you lay on the beds underneath the work and watch the shibori dyed silk undulate in the wind. Making one feel as if in a dream, under water, another world, your own self. No matter what I can only imagine the experience is remarkable and beautiful.

You cannot begin to really understand the work from just images so please watch the video of the work here.

Perhaps I can find a way to include it on a smaller scale?
To my surprise many of the works submitted to the exhibit follow this more minimal style. Therefore, I expect the show to be different then I imagined but perhaps even more wonderful?

Monday, August 23, 2010

monday morning hours.

I am back and not going out of town again for awhile, whew. Well except for 2 out of town weddings in September but...

I started off my week just right by stealing time to take a yoga class last night and starting my Monday morning hours. As I mentioned awhile back I need some hours in the studio sans baby so I have planned to go bright and early in the am on Mondays to get a few hours alone with my work.
And it was awesome!!! I got so much done and I just know even that little bit of time will make all the difference.

I worked on preparing the applique for the above work. I have to redraw my lips and the image if Tesla later this week.

covered in quilts.

I recently found a very outdated article about one of Tracey Emin's works- To meet my past the "confessional quilt" that was on display as part of a quilt show at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I have followed Emin's work since graduate school as a result of many of my faculty comparing my work to hers. At first I adamantly dismissed these comments as I felt our work was SO different- feeling that her work is often angry and comes out of a place of sadness and mine being more romantic and coming out of an exploration of the yearning for happiness. And, I still see this major difference but as I researched her more and more I did see the connection my work had to hers-

the diaristic language,
the scrawled handwriting,
the confessional aspect,
the obvious use of craft based medium,
the placement of the work in the domestic space,
and the admittance of female sexuality.

and these are the reasons that I still love and am inspired by her work.

Her earlier bed piece, My bed, was a piece were she transported her actual bed, dirty sheets, condom wrappers, bedside garbage, and such into the gallery.
Saatchi Gallery describes the seminal piece as:

Tracey shows us her own bed, in all its embarrassing glory. Empty booze bottles, fag butts, stained sheets, worn panties: the bloody aftermath of a nervous breakdown. By presenting her bed as art, Tracey Emin shares her most personal space, revealing she’s as insecure and imperfect as the rest of the world.

The bed work, To meet my past, has a very different feel, less shocking and more thoughtful. Instead of feeling like a statement to shock and awe this work seems much more like a psychological portrait of different states of mind and an emotional journey.

To read the article with a detailed description of the quilt go here.
The exhibit itself designed to show the history of quilts in Britian sounds as if it was amazing. You can read more about the exhibit here and see all the works in the exhibit here.
There are plenty that can inspire.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thread Reviews

Check out my sort of review of the Fiber Arts International exhibit over here.


my fantasy was to have time to post this week on the bird- but balancing baby and way too much family means it is just not happening on this vacation but I will be back Monday.

So this is just a reminder that the deadline for the Textile Arts Center open call is TOMORROW!!!

So far the submissions are amazing and I have no idea how I am going to curate them down to the small number of artists that the final show will be. I am SO excited about the show in general.

So get your submissions in- you have until the end of the day tomorrow.

All the info here!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Deadline fast coming...

Don't forget the deadline for the exhibit, The Cutting Edge, that I am curating for the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn is August 20th.

So please get your amazing, awesome work in.

All details found here.

I am out of town again and hope to check in over the week to say a little hello.
But it might be spotty. Come September things are back into full swing over here at the bird.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


So you may have noticed the lack of personal posts as of late - and I wish that was not the case but... our August has been and will continue to be crazy busy and crazy in and out of town-ness.
So there has been little needle action on my side so not much to share in that regards.

But I am looking forward to starting, in the first week of September, re-arranging my studio to be more baby friendly and having one morning a week dedicated to some alone time to make work. I always kind of approach September as the "back to school or reality" month and so am planning to make it my back to the studio month. I am so looking forward to those few precious hours a week and the plans we have for the studio. I know the new studio set-up will encourage me to get there more.

So look for more personal posts starting in September. And for now you can see a little taste of the quilt square I made for my friends wedding quilt.

Thread Reviews

Read my article on why I choose to curate here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

spiritual stitching.

Read my interview with incredibly gifted embroiderer Meredith Grimsley over at Mr. X Stitch.

Who are artists that you would like to read an interview from?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Yesterday I finally watched the so called documentary Handmade Nation and I have to say I was beyond disappointed but I will write more on that later this week. However, in watching it the work of artist Mandy Greer caught my eye to I looked her up and am now thinking wow, major wow. Her work is a cross between amazing chandeliers and over-grown organic structures, and hanging Spanish moss and it is oh so beautiful.

As you walk through Mandy's installations it is hard to know if you are lost in the forest, under the sea, or in some decadent wonderland but either way I want to stop and stay awhile. Mandy combines varied fiber techniques from precise sculptural structures, to beading, to quilting, to free form crochet, and throws in some ceramics too.

In her quite dense statement she says:

My strategies for imagery are to present my own elusive interior narratives remade into archetypal tales. These “fairy” tales transcend the personal by mimicking theatrical illusions and tapping into our collective human mythology. My environments address the fundamental need for narrative, to examine the human predicament through story, particularly through using natural and animal forms. My conceptual process involves investigating archetypes, mythology and folk tales from a wide variety of cultures, seeking out imagery that coincides with our experiences of everyday life and speaks to the needs of our time yet also have an air of timelessness.

Her simpler pieces are just as lovely, evocative, and ambiguously placed as her elaborate installations.

I enjoy how she use very traditional motifs and techniques such as handmade braided rugs, something I have always wanted to play with, and places them within a very contemporary & relevant work.

She frequently uses the form of whimsical forest creatures in her work, including the ever present deer form. What is it about the deer that draws so many artists to it? And since I just saw a ton of deers while I was away in the Poconos I understand that they are simply majestic- but metaphorically what are they standing in for when people utilize them? I would love to hear an artist directly speak to this.

Of course she has some incredibly gorgeous trophy heads in her collection of work too. Also something that I have seen quite a bit of in fiber artists and wonder what about these objects draw so many artists to them?

I am incredibly impressed and inspired by the ambitious nature of Mandy's techniques and scale. She obviously allows herself a massive amount of time to produce just one piece and it shows in the incredible nature of her work. And it is so comforting to know that she is doing all this while she is raising a young child- evidence that it can be done.

You can see more of Mandy's work at her flickr page and her blog.