Friday, April 3, 2015

So long, Blogger!


Blogger has been GREAT. This blog is such an important part of my life. I'm still going to blog about my artwork... I've just move over to a new site on SquareSpace. I'm still working out the details of my new site, but please come visit me in my new home at

Don't be shy!

xoxo, O

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

RuStitch Rocks San Jose

Strange as it may sound, you enter my tiny Durham apartment through my bedroom. The first thing you see is my bed, with its deep red quilt, and a giant framed print of the RuStitch grid hanging above it.

RuStitch Grid, by 35 artists. Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2013.

So it felt oddly intimate to find the same image I see every day on the homepage of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

It's there because Aubrey Longley-Cook's RuStitch x stitch/video art collaboration is now showing at at the museum as part of the exhibition "Common Thread."

I'm thrilled that my piece, Frame 11, is part of the exhibition. Woot!

Here are the details:

March 7, 2015 – July 5, 2015
A Common Thread, Guest Curated by Susan O’Malley

So if you're in San Jose before the 4th of July, go say hi to Ru. In the meantime, watch this awesome video of the finished project.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Can you say penultimate?

No time to celebrate, but my crazy, epic x stitch project has turned the final corner!

Spanish Eyes. WIP 3/13/15.

Last night I finished the penultimate section of Spanish Eyes. One more 50 x 50 stitch section to go!

Stitch code for the final section!

I have no idea what I was thinking when I started this self portrait of my eyes. Why did I design it so huge? (It's 6 x 14.5 inches, or 15.25 x 36.8 cm.) Because I'm insane, I guess. 

Stitching until my fingers are bloody and raw. Ha!

Ok, back to work.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Turn your head, Mami

This is my beautiful, complicated mother Min, at around 30-years-old.

Redwork Mami, 2015. Hand embroidery on cotton.

Mi mami, mi mami. ("Mi mami," because my mother's family is from Puerto Rico.)

Chain stitch detail of her thick, black hair.

I look at this image, based on a photo taken by my Irish-American father, and I'm back in the position of my five-year-old self. The longing I always felt for my mother. The desperate wish that she would turn her head and look at me. Smile at me.

For my parents.

Turn your head, mami. Please.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vulnerable & confident... with a needle in my hand

You are who you are.

Detail from Redwork Mami, 2015.

I am who I am.

Rinsing. Still stitching.

Confident and still very vulnerable. As an artist, a woman.

Still so many stitches in the Spanish Eyes.

Right now I'm working on a redwork version of my beautiful, complicated mami. And I'm trying to finish Spanish Eyes, which is a piece where my eyes look so much like my mami's.

It is so hard. But I keep moving that needle. Even when I'm sad.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Everything is there, under the thread

I painted this background watercolor of a cold, dark, rainy day. The kind of day that usually wears me down... the grayness of the external world bleeding into me, oppressing me.

Silver & Lead, 2015. Watercolor, graphite and
pearl cotton hand embroidery.

But not that day. I felt passionate and alive. Yellow and red. I could see the bitterness of the atmosphere around me, but it did not touch me.

I wondered at my alchemical good luck. I searched for signs. But I'm a rational person, not prone to believing in mysterious forces. So I found none.

Detail from Silver & Lead, 2015.

But still, I penciled in a few alchemical symbols on the piece, for silver and lead. Fortune and hard work.

8 x 10 inches.

The symbols are there, under the thread. Everything is there, under the thread.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bascom Hogue Considers my Riff

I’m immensely fortunate to have some amazing artists and writers as online friends. The indomitable Kansas-based artist Bascom Hogue is the spiritual king of my Stitch-U-Verse.

String Box 5, 2015. Distressed watercolor, graphite and pearl cotton
hand embroidery.

Bascom was incredibly generous to write me about these String Boxes. He compared them to a hook or riff, which really resonates with me. So I’m going to borrow his words for this post about my latest String Box.

Detail from String Box 5, 2015.

First he defined the riff. "A musical idea, often a short riff, passage or phrase, either melodic or rhythmic, that is used to make a song appealing, to catch the ear of the listener."

String Box 3, 2014.

Then he explained their power. “And the thing about hooks is that they have an almost neurological effect. They do something to you. They get to you. They push your buttons in a way that's hard to withstand."

String Box 2, 2014. (For Andy)

And he lamented their absence of the riff from the discussion of art making. “It's a pity that useful words like "hook" and "riff" don't find their way more into the discussion of art, because there's some art they can help us to understand.”

WIP: Slightly different spin. Silver and Lead.

Finally Bascom related the concept to my String Boxes. “Take that definition of hook and change ‘musical’ to ‘pictorial.’ It could be a description of the String Box. This work is all hook, it's designed as a simple, strong visual catch; one riff, writ very large. And damnation, it's good.”

Detail from String Box 5, 2015.

Thank you so much, Bascom. I'm beyond grateful for the attention you paid to my work and the incredibly articulate way you described it.

Read a fantastic interview with Bascom on Donkeywolf. And check out Bascom's stunning work!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blurs and WIPs

Feeling frazzled by work in the salt mines and balancing it all with my creative life. Boring refrain of many of poor chump, I know.  

Plotting a distress watercolor. With graphite and pearl cotton.

But, fuck it. I can complain if I want to. If I need to.

A few stitched before work.

Little time to write, stitch, paint, read, think.

The Eyes are waiting for me.

Stealing time here and there to work on a project.

No time yet to stitch this drippy watercolor.

Practice a stitch.

Experimenting with woven wheel stitch on watercolor. Didn't work. 

Fuck it.

Poking holes when I can't sleep. 

That's the way the fates played out for me.

Shipping Frame 11 for exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Textiles.

Onward ho.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Quick, 80s-themed Seven for the Pi Day Project

The good folks of Vancouver, WA, are organizing a little textile art celebration for Pi Day this year, March 14, 2015. The little nerd that I am, I had to get in on this project.

This is what I call a fast project. 

The ever cool Jamie Mr X Stitch Chalmers turned me on to this project, called the Fiber Numbers of Pi.

Regram from Jamie Chalmers, who recently visited NC.
More on that visit soon!

I stitched up a quick 80s-themed seven for the project.

A gallery of numbers for Pi,
from the Pi Project site.

Don't be shy! The deadline is Feb 14th. Get stitching, fools!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Moonlet and String Diamonds

Finished two new pieces for an art fundraiser at the Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill.

Moonlet, 2015. Watercolor, hand embroidery.

I'm enjoying painting some patchwork backgrounds and some space-inspired scenes.

String Diamonds, 2015. Watercolor and hand embroidery.

The pieces for this show had to be 5 x 7 inches. Both pieces felt like studies at that size; I'd like to try to make both of these pieces on a much larger scale.

Painting patchworks.

I'm also working on some more muted color background watercolors. But for now, lots of color seems to have captured my imagination.

WIP. Size 12 Pearl Cotton.

Fighting against the gray days of winter. I just love color and pattern.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Scenes, 2015

WIPs and starts of early 2015. Mostly mute.

Getting back into the early morning strength training, corporate salt mines day job and attempted art making at night... it's not so easy.

WIP, Planet. Watercolor and pearl cotton, hand embroidery.  

New Years Days X stitching on Spanish Eyes (self portrait.)
In my tiny apartment. 

Painting scenes.

Well worn pokes.

Vintage film star trading cards. Inspirational gift to stitch from my friend Mel.

String Box 4. Featured on

Insomnia stitching on planet piece. Watercolor and hand embroidery.
I'm trying, 2015.