Saturday, July 27, 2013

Watercolor, paper & stitch -- Take one

I've been more and more attracted to embroidered artwork using multiple mediums. 

A stitch grid in my sketchbook. 

For example, Jessica Kelly is doing gorgeous work on vintage illustration plates. And I'm so inspired by the amazing lighted Tesla piece I received from Rachel Lynn Rose in the Phat Quarter Blinded by Science swap. (Featured in my most recent Big Yes! on this blog and picked up by the Needlwork group on

A watercolor color wheel from a 16 mm film reel, in my sketchbook.

So, I'm making my first tentative steps with alternative media with these little stitched watercolor pieces in my sketchbook.

Sketchbook page.

I used the tutorial Jessica wrote for the second issue of the &Stitches e-zine as a guide.  (The e-zine is not being published right now, but past issues are still available. And be sure to visit their wonderful &Stitches blog for ongoing stitching tutorials!)

Slanty City, watercolor sketchbook page. Want to stitch this when
my skills improve. 

Her guide taught readers how to stitch on vintage paper. I applied the same technique to some of my watercolor doodle-sketches.

I'm really excited to explore this more. Keeping the stitching even was more challenging than I'd expected, but like anything else, it became easier over time. 

Random watercolor doodles to stitch.

Now I'm looking at every scrap of paper (receipts, junk mail, cardboard boxes) and imagining it covered in rich, textural patterns of raised stitch.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gifts. And then art.

Several dear friends are expecting babies this fall, so I stitched up these simple, bright onesies. They are a kind of faux applique, made with Wounder Under and pearl cotton edging.

For Monique & Dan's boy.

I wanted to make them look a little retro. The stripes and colors seem 70s-early 80s to me. 

For Kate & Chris' girl. 

Dan is a DJ and music afficionado, thus the 45-insert symbol on his boy's onesies. Kate is a wildlife biologist with a passion for frogs, thus the little frog on her girl's togs.


And who doesn't love THUNDER! 

Plus, this bolt reminds me of the chest bolt on the hero of the 1970s cheeseball TV series Shazam! I used to watch the show back in NYC as a wee lass.

Can't wait to meet these babies! 

A family of my own and children were not in the cards for me, sadly. But I do love kids, so spoiling my nephews and the kids of my friends is something I adore with a passion. Auntie O needs her own special decal!

French knot obession continues unabated.

But for now I want to focus more on my artwork. So I'm back to this massive pile of French knots on a piece I haven't worked on in some time, a self portrait of my back (yes another!) called Shadow Spine. It's a lot of French knots, so it will take a while, but it feels good to be back to making something just for me.

Something wonderfully impractical.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Satellites of Sorrow

Holding the Nano-satellite of my sorrow by Iviva Olenick, 2013.

Last month I attended a wonderful evening in Brooklyn hosted by the artist Iviva Olenick combining two forms of art that mean a great deal to me -- embroidery and poetry.

Nano satellite of sorrow, by me, 2013.

Iviva called it an "embroidery slam."

Iviva Olenick, photo by Mrs. Olenick. I have a serious art crush!

As poets read (including my friend Kevin Kinsella) both novice and experienced needle artists stitched up words and fragments and bits of imagery.

We tweeted out pieces, creating a collection of found digital poems.

The larger project is called #BrooklynTweets.

I tweeted out lots of found poem fragments, including some of the language found in these two pieces, one by Iviva and two by me.

My baby is the moonlight, by me, 2013.

I'm so intrigued that Iviva and I sunk our needles into some of the same language and imagery. Especially the line about sorrow.



What does sorrow bring to your mind? Loss, sadness, grief. Pain and hopelessness. Despair. Regret.

Sorrow. It was such a huge weight in my life at one time. Overwhelming me. I think that, in many ways, it's something I've spent years moving away from. And yet, no matter how many good things one creates for oneself, sorrows from our past hover around us. Sorrows are our satellites, never escaping the gravitation of our lives, loves and art.

#BrooklynTweets by me, 2013. Oil and acrylic on cotton,
cotton pearl thread.


I don't live in sorrow any more. But I can see the streaks of sorrow, burning across my distant sky as the hurt whirls by, refusing to let go.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

45-Record Insert Dress for a 21st Century Girl

I don't stitch enough wearables. 

Altered Gap cotton dress, 3T.

Seeing the beautiful, Los Angeles three-year-old wearing this little altered Gap dress reminded me that I need to do more pieces that I can wear.  She looked so fresh and adorable. 

Detail of appliqued 45-record insert. Anchored by pink chain stitch.

I made her this very simple design by appliqueing a 45-record insert and stitching around it in pink, pearl cotton chain stitch. (Her father is a musician and of my vintage, so the selection of the mid-Century vinyl paraphernalia was intentional.)

So easy. I must make more garments and accessories for me and for friends.

I've been having West Coast adventures for the last week. Lots of Stitch-speration! More Los Angeles fun to come...