Monday, January 28, 2013

More from the land of Large & Messy

I need to stitch these two words for myself: Large & Messy.

Getting messy with charcoal in my drawing class at the
Durham Arts Council.

I've written before about those words describing my approach to my art and creativity. I work slowly on big projects with enormous themes (hands, say, or saturated colors, or moods and how they look on my face) and I follow ideas down dead ends and lose things along the way.

But it's OK. In fact, it's better than OK. It's what I want.

Runaway 7, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

For example, I have decided to go to Atlanta three times in the month of February to take a workshop with the fabulous textile artist Aubrey Longley-Cook. The workshop is a collaboration involving two things I've never tried: Cross stitch and animation.

You may remember Longley-Cook's fantastic stitched Runaway dog animation, which I wrote a Big Yes! about last year. I'm thrilled to meet him and work with him on his piece for a show this fall. The workshop is through the WonderRoot Artists Helping Artists program.

I would have never let myself do something like this a few years ago. I would have found excuses not to put myself out there and work with with other artists in other cities. But now, no one can stop me from going after opportunities like this. Least of all myself.

Color Words, again!

Four other projects are in my hoops and sketchbooks right now. I picked up the Color Wheel of Lies, again. It is starting to gel a bit more in my mind.

Mano de Rowie, age 94.

I'm collecting hands for my Manos project. This project is in the very early stages, but I'm excited with my latest hand... Rowie is a elegant, refined woman in her mid-90s who makes the most beautiful quilts and stitches and knits. I love talking with her about life and I'm honored to have her hand in my collection. She could not be kinder and more supportive of me and my work.


Cautiously amused.

A bit more engaged.


I want to make some series of stitched images of moods on my face, like the ones above.

Warhol was very kind to me.

And a "collaboration" with Andy Warhol, featuring the hearts he drew for me, is slowly find it's way onto fabric.

On display. Made with love.

Finally, I just want to continue to be there for my friends and loved ones. As they have been for me when I needed them.

Largely. Messily.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

#imapiece of the puzzle

You are a piece of the puzzle. Move.

Shipping my pieces to the U.K. to join a large installation of pieces.

I participated in the #imapiece Craftivist Jigsaw Project by making these two puzzle pieces.

What it is?

"Using jigsaw pieces stitched by craftivists... the project will create an art installation to awareness of the issues of world hunger and injustice."

Hand silkscreened fabric by Rebecca Ringquist.

Specifically, this campaign is in support of the Save the Children Race Against Hunger campaign.

I chose to stitch these favorite lines by Elie Wiesel, who I've always found so inspiring. And a little frightening in his depth of his suffering compared with his great compassion, truth be told. His decision to side with life after the horrors he faced moves and humbles me.

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

More Wiesel quotes found here

Neutrality and silence as contributors to oppression and torment... it is a dark and profound statement. And true.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Higgs Boson Particle Wins Coveted Olisa Corcoran Award!

Winner of the fiercely competitive, glamorous and woefully under-publicized 2012 Olisa Corcoran Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellent Science: the Higgs Boson!

Higgs Boson, 2013.

Perhaps you didn't know that I have my own science prize. Are you jealous? Eh, get your own.

2012 brought us geeks confirmation (debated, though it might still be... and now there is news of a potential second boson) of the Higgs Boson particle.

Details, Higss Boson, 2013.

I will not insult my brainy blog readers with an elementary explanation of why this discovery at CERN is so important to the Standard Model of particle physics and how it may explain why otherwise massless elementary particles can cause matter to have mass. And never mind the tiresome misuse of the term "God particle."

I will instead show you my textile and thread interpretation of a decaying Higgs Boson!

Stitches: back, chain, split, satin, long & short.

I made the 4x4 inch piece as my contribution to the Phat Quarter Tiny Things Swap, for the Mr X Stitch-sponsored flickr group, which I organized. I chose the "tiny things" theme because this swap came up during the crazy busy holiday season and I wanted to encourage the wild creativity of the Phat Quarter members without putting too much pressure on everyone to produce larger art.

Happy to report that my swap partner, Riann, said the piece gave her a "nerdgasm." I am a huge fan of 'gasms as a class and look forward to further scientific discovery in the emerging new field of "Gasm Study."

This Higgs Boson now resides in British Columbia, Canada.

I blogged about the challenges of designing the piece. And please take some time to look at other pieces from the swap that are still making their way around the world, hurling through space like some other kind of massless boson.

And be sure to join us for the next Phat Quarter swap! I have tons of idea for fun new themes.

Higgs Boson Away!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Boom, Redux!

Boom, Redux, 2013.

Ever the editor... I wasn't happy with the original Boom that I made for my squeeze for Xmas. It was the weakest piece in my series of stitched 45 inserts. So, badda boo, badda bing, I redesigned and stitched up a brand new one. 

Spider wheel stitch & other details.

The squeeze is a natural gentleman and was profoundly gracious; he said he liked the old one. But he respected my need to change it. I felt it was a fail. So... Boom, Redux is born.

Hum, Spin and Boom, Redux, united at chez Andy.

I'm much happier with the dense, lush back stitch fill that I so love.  And the deep blue floss. To me, when I saw them all together last night, it felt like it fits together better as a series.

Detail of the back stitch fill.

In other news... please take a look at my newly updated blog banner! My fabulous designer friend Monique replaced two images of needlefelted work (I haven't needlefelted in years) with more recent embroidery: Tiny Great Curve and Suga Belt. I feel like these more accurately capture my current artwork and aesthetic. Yes? No?

I'm in love with this graphic!

Finally, check out this rad collection of 45 inserts that the uber cool artist Marshall Thompson (a.k.a. Sailor Mouth) shared with me.

Shazam!! I love these so much! How wonderful to play with the imagery of these fantastic, outdated, Mid-20th Century objects?

__ . . .   __ __ __   __ __ __   __ __!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Little Things are Huge

The little things make me hugely happy.

Little Ennui Girl, 2012.

Like sending beautiful, precious Little M a postcard of my Little Ennui Girl. And her KISSING the card.

I am MUCH MORE than a little lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

And yes, I mean YOU, too.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NSFW Big Yes! 99 Doilies by Ellen Schinderman

LA-based artist Ellen Schinderman's latest series blows me away.

For the folks who have a snapshot of my blog on their blog roles. 

She is creating a collection of 99 doilies with gorgeous, simple images of female nudes stitched upon them, sometimes with a single strand of red thread.

Marta by Ellen Schinderman.

Schinderman writes that what started out as a fun bit of stitching transformed into a study of the female form. From her project statement: “I’ve got 99 doilies, but a bitch ain’t one: A study of the female form, also, stop calling women bitches.”

Lois by Ellen Schinderman.

The Hive Gallery. Photo by Daisuke Okamoto.

Seven Big Yeses! about the Doilies

  1. Schinderman has turned something traditionally associated with home, hearth and female domesticity -- vintage doilies -- on its head and made them erotic. Almost subversive.
  2. As a woman artist she has reclaimed the female form, in all of its wonderful variety.
  3. Each portrait is named. Although the images are headless, they represent, as art, individual women with names like Eleanor, Marta, Becky.
  4. Taken together, the white, lace-trimmed textiles look like snowflakes streaked with red.
  5. Anyone who knows me knows I adore series, repetition that breeds change, from one piece to the next.
  6. This project's development, from a simple, playful beginning to a larger body of work, shows the creative process at work. An artist becomes inspired by the work itself. This is a powerful example of my own ideas about the creative process.
  7. They are so delicate and freaking beautiful!

Eleanor by Ellen Schinderman.

Schinderman is an artist-in-residence at the Hive Gallery in LA. She has a website and blogs about her work. You can see more images of the project in her flickr gallery. And what's more, you can purchase these lovely doilies in her shop

She is currently curating a textile art exhibition called Stitch Fetish. Yeah. Think of the possibilities.

Big Yes! to Schinderman for creating textile art with such skill and passion. 

"Big Yes!" is a blog feature where I share, with the artist’s permission, a piece of textile art that has opened my eyes to the possibility of what we can create.  When faced with things that are truly beautiful or moving or that fill me with awe, I try to say yes. More than that, Big Yes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Big Yes! Seahorse by Sister Twisty

I am the insanely happy recipient of an lovely little piece by Sister Twisty. Check it out!

Seahorse by Sister Twisty, 2012.

As the organizer of the Phat Quarter Tiny Things swap for Mr X Stitch, I received this beautiful seahorse from the U.K. One of the most amazing things about participating in swaps is that you get to see other artists stitching first hand. And Twisted Sister's is gorgeous. Profoundly skilled.

Holding my lovely new piece of art!

Her work with the fill stitch and French knots on the seahorse's scales takes my breath away. It makes me realize how much I still have to work to improve my stitching skills to come anywhere close to the level of work she has shown me. Big Yes to Twisty Sister!

Twisted Sister is working on beautiful red stole for a clergy person. I can only imagine what that piece must look like in person.

I am humbled by her skills and moved to challenge myself to improve. Lots of work ahead for me!

"Big Yes!" is a blog feature where I share, with the artist’s permission, a piece of textile art that has opened my eyes to the possibility of what we can create.  When faced with things that are truly beautiful or moving or that fill me with awe, I try to say yes. More than that, Big Yes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Particle in my hoop and spiro tops

Current version of Higgs Boson Particle. Adding more gray rays.

Making slow progress on my Higgs Boson Particle. Of course, I keep editing and changing it as I go, adding more elements and pulling out stitches, so it is taking me a while. It is going to be hard to part with, because it makes me oddly happy.

Can't stop pulling out stitches.

And here are some spirograph knit tops that I made for some of the awesome women in my life: Erin, Alex and Charisse.

Tank tops for Alex and Erin.

Top for my generous and loving sister-in-law Charisse.

I'm redoing the stitched 45 Boom spindle piece for my squeeze. I was particularly honored by the comments left on a Flickr photo of my 3 pieces by an artist I very much admire, Mark Bieraguel.

"Such a strange little piece of ephemera, those inserts for 45s to convert them for long playing spindles. You've abstracted them them out, taken them out of context and made them something new, interesting, and striking. ~MB"

Redoing Boom, bottom right.

Next, I'm thinking of attempting some mixed media stuff... stitching on paper. I've been inspired by the work of fellow stitch artists Jessica and Mark Bieraugel.

Jessica often uses pages from vintage math books and creates wonderful, geometric patterns which she stitches with precision directly into the antique pages. I'm proud to own one of her pieces and I gave my friend Juline a lovely hexagon piece that I purchased from Jessica.

I imagine stitching into these wonderful NC arts & crafts cards
 I received for Xmas, for example. Or comics!

Mark has done amazing work with stitching vintage patterns into microfiche, which I've written about for Mr X Stitch. He is starting on a new series, stitching and reinterpreting an old art book. I love the way he is exploring and redefining the work of artists from Robert Mapplethorpe to Ed Ruscha.

I'm very excited about this possible new direction my own work and I'm grateful to connect with so many fantastic artists online!