Friday, August 24, 2012

In My Hoops... Suga and Colors

Stitching in my bed on a sunny morning, chez moi.

Been traveling a lot on the weekends and I will continue to travel for a few more weeks.  (Valleys, seas and mountains.)

Working on lots of things...

Hope no one is sick of my hips, because they're back... with a little piece called Suga Belt. More to come on that story from Carthage.

Suga Belt, 2012. Kona Cotton, stem, back and satin stitch.

And the pile of color words keeps growing. The bigger piece is taking shape in my mind, if not in actual physical space!

I'm STILL loving stitching up other people's handwriting. It feels decadently intimate.

So if you'd like to contribute a color word, let me know. I have a pile of words and fabric and thread and I want more handwriting.

C'mon and play!

Playing with Keefie.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Big Yes! Isle of Wight Fest by Sewphie T

Lucky me hosted the most recent Mr X Stitch/Phat Quarter swap. I chose the 1970s as the theme. Artists from all over the world ran wild using the 1970s as a starting point and, so far, the pieces have included meditations on science, music, cultural history, fashion and craft of the 1970s. And new work keeps being added.

By Sewphie T, 2012

I’ve been blown away by many of the pieces. This is especially true of the amazing embroidery that I received from Sewphie T, a master needlewoman from the U.K. 

When I made the swap lists I actually felt a little guilty for assigning Sewphie to me. I so admire her work and skill. She does stumpwork! (Good god, stumpwork! That is some serious needlework in my book.)

Sewphie’s Isle of Wight piece… it is breathtaking. Based on a photograph from the 1970 Isle of Wight music festival, the artwork is covered in her delicate, fine stitching. The variegated thread resembles tie-dye. It is hard to describe the slightly haunted look on the subject’s face that Sewphie has somehow managed to capture. Uncanny.  I am awed by it. Inspired.  I have never made such tiny stitches in my life.

Sewphie writes about this gorgeous piece on her blog

Having this in my own home to look at whenever I want is amazing. The quality of her work will serve as my guide in my own stitching.

I’m hosting the next Phat Quarter Swap, which will open for signups on the 31st of August. I picked the secret new theme especially to encourage playfulness and creativity. Please join us! For more information, check back on Mr X Stitch and in the Phat Quarter group on flickr.

For now, spend some time with Sewphie T’s beautiful artwork (which was recently featured on the cover of &stitches) on her blog and her flickr stream.

Big, breathless Yes to Sewphie T and her amazing work!

"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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Tiny Great Curve

I finished my Tiny Great Curve self-portrait today. Ah....

Tiny Great Curve, 2012.

Been working on this piece for a long time, in fits and starts. It's based on a photo that my I designed and my friend Alex shot of my last year.

Detail of layered feather stitch for my hair.

I made it just for me. And I realized that I've been making things mostly for other people, which I love to do more than anything, but it is nice to have something I can keep for myself.

Stitching various edits of the fantasy jungle.

When I first started the piece I hadn't expected it to feature the dream-jungle background. In the last few months I've been sketching for the piece quite a lot -- the wild riot of fantasy plants and vines just felt right. I think it's my dream of living in a wild, natural place, which has certainly been my life in the last year.

Detail of leaves and blanket on my hip.

I really pushed myself to use stitches that I haven't in a while... or ever. The piece includes stem, fishbone, feather, french knots, chain, Pekinese, back, blanket, button hole and closed fly stitch. The ground fabric is Kona cotton and the thread is a limited palette of Valdani perle cotton in size 12. 

I feel like I know my own hips better after stitching them for so long!

My dream framed.

And here is a song for you, my friends. Sometimes, the world moves on a woman's hips.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brassiere Enflammé for Phat Quarter Swap

So, my piece for the Phat Quarter 1970s-themed Swap arrived in doaflip's hot little hands, deep in the wilds of England. And she said she likes it and has it hanging in her home. Dy-no-mite!

Brassiere Enflamme, 2012.

I decided to continue on my imaginary prohibition sign series and designed a sort of "burn your bra" or "no bra" symbol, to riff on the 1960s and 70s mythology about bra-burning radical women who weren't going to take it anymore.

With good old Do Not Enter, 2010, my 1st stitched prohibition sign.

Now, we all know this "burn your bra" idea is a fabrication in and of itself and statements by feminists of that error were far more subtle than that. I'm playing with the myths. imagery and ideas about "women's lib" from my 1970s childhood. As a 2012 feminist, I'm proud of what 19th and 20th Century feminists worked so hard for.

Detail of thick backstitch. 

A couple of notes about this piece: The bra that I used for the design is somewhat anachronistic. It's not the pointy bra of the 1970s. It's based on my bra -- that sort of foamy, push-up, rounded style made popular by Victoria's Secret.

Sketch of my bra, early in the process. 

I'm also one of the few women I know who likes wearing my bra! I remember my abuelita encouraged it and said that Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor (her ideals of femininity) always wore theirs, even to sleep. Now, I have a much less sexualized ideal of female beauty than my abuelita, but I retained her passion for the benefits of the well-fitted bra. (And yes, I sleep in mine.)


Check out more fabulous work from the Phat Quarter 1970s Swap on flickr. I'm hosting a new swap for Mr X Stitch that opens at the end of August. Fun new theme! Stay tuned...