Friday, March 29, 2013

A beautiful, strange word

Divulse was the word of the day about a year ago. The word upset and disturbed me. (Yes, I'm clearly too sensitive to words.)

Stitched on a bit of vintage linen in variegated pearl cotton.

I spoke to my friend Erin about it. She loves words, too. I explained that the word somehow hurt me.... that it touched me to the quick and made me sad. (It was a difficult moment of transition in my life.)

"What should I do?" I asked.

Pinned it to my red board of fragments.

"O, what can you do? Create something. Stitch it."

Erin is very special. How lucky and I to have friends who understand? Now it is a beautiful, strange word.

And I don't feel torn apart.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Black birch do not care for my despair

Finished another stitched poem fragment.

the brook mocks me more each day

Vintage linen. Pinned to a new covered cork board. I will stitch more fragments of my own poetry, words I love and other people's poems. I will pin them to this board. Just for me.

Obscured the text with some feather stitch braches.

"Just for me," is not entirely true. For everyone I love, whether they know it or not. Whether it means anything to them or not.

Monday, March 18, 2013

These WIPs have my attention!

At the moment, I'm almost distracted by having so many ideas for projects. Trying to quietly work on these two longterm pieces.

Frame 11 is my contribution to Aubrey Longley-Cooke's X stitch animation.

WIPs: Frame 11 & detail from Shadow Spine, 2013

I'm mesmerized by the way the piece is slowly developing before my eyes. It reminds me of my past work in the darkroom, standing in the dim light over puddles of chemicals and watching my prints come to life in the tray of developer. There is almost something alchemical about it.

Each new color I stitch adds a layer.  

As crazy as all of the Atlanta travel was in the midst of my anemia flare, I'm so glad that I am able to be a part of it. (Special thanks to my dear friend Kate for patiently showing me how to somewhat neatly do X stitch!)

Using a Q-snap frame is making it easier to stitch.

Exciting news from Aubrey -- the animation is going to be included in The Window Project in Atlanta this September! The Window Project is a digital, public art installation, featuring enormous screens that will display various videos and other digital artworks. I will definitely be making another trip to see that in person!

Shadow Spine in process. What is it with my and portraits of my back?!

At the opposite end of the spectrum of the intensely colored Frame 11 piece is a more personal, private portrait of my own back that I'm calling Shadow Spine.

French knots as shadows. Detail from Shadow Spine.

I'm stitching it on gray Kona cotton in shades of charcoal, silver and black. I'm experimenting with French knots to create shadows and will use other free-hand embroidery stitches to build the piece as I go. This feels entirely different from the pixilated grid of the X stitch piece. This process is more familiar, but I find that building pieces like this gives me a sense of uncertainty that is kind of exciting. Like I'm creating as I go.

Stitching at the infusion clinic. Take that, anemia. I'm a tough mofo!

Going back and forth between the two pieces is a wholly jarring pleasure. I like being jarred like this.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

WIP: X Stitch Animation

I'm in Atlanta for the third time in three weeks to work on an amazing cross stitch animation project with Aubrey Longley-Cook. Life is chaotic with all of this travel, but I'm crazily inspired by this this collaborative art process.

Frame 11, WIP, on the bus.

More to come when life settles a bit, but the quick details...

Aubrey leads a discussion about the collaboration.
WonderRoot Studio, Atlanta. 

Aubrey (one of the only artists I know who combines textile art/stitching with animation) has collected over 30 artists and friends to each stitch an animation frame. He will shoot and loop the stitched frames into a video artwork. It will be shown at the Barbara Archer Gallery in a show this September.

WIP: Frame 11.

Each artist selected his or her own color palettes. I chose bright, juicy colors. Others are using pastels and still others are stitching in a virtual grayscale. I can not wait to see how the frames fit together to create a gorgeous kaleidoscope of color and stitching.

My frame! 

This is my first foray into cross stitch. Jamie Chalmers, a.k.a., Mr X Stitch (for whom I blog) has teased me about my cross stitch virginity. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've not been compelled by cross stitch before. My own style of work with freehand embroidery, creating images by building it with stitches, has always been vastly more appealing to me than stitching row after row of tiny xs in a grid.

But this experience has opened my eyes to what the little pixels of stitches can create. And it is harder to be neat in my stitching than I ever realized! I am humbled!

Riding the bus to Atlanta has been wild and inspiring in its own way.

On a personal note (and for me, my art and my personal life are intimately entwined -- so much so that I sometimes feel sorry for my friends, family and boyfriend) I've been having some serious anemia problems that should be resolved soon with an iron infusion tomorrow.

Shooting the breeze with fellow travelers back in Durham.

But, I haven't had my normal energy to tackle my artwork. I hope to be returning to my normal hale and hearty self soon!

Durham bus depot in the early morning.

I head back to Durham today on a Greyhound (all the driving got to me -- with the anemia, I was having trouble staying awake) which has been a wild experience. I live tweeted the bus ride to Atlanta yesterday. (I'm @olisacorcoran on Twitter.)

Today I will just quietly stitch. Ahhh... sounds lovely.