Showing posts with label me me me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label me me me. Show all posts

02 September 2014

wichita :: sen :: 1000 doilies - new piece

so... i asked for help. knowing that i was going to the ulrich. knowing i was supposed to make a companion piece to the 1000 doily piece. YOU - you lovely people sent me drawings and knots. i packed up a big bankers box and shipped them there to meet me.

but i really didn't have a plan. other than i knew there would be 1000. when we finished installing the big doily piece, i opened my box and started counting - both the knots and the drawings. at first i kept the drawings together by the people who made them. then, i began organizing them by place. maybe i should make a map. place the doilies in spaces close to where they came from globally.

when i counted the knots i touched them and thought about where/who they all came from. how far they had traveled. should i make a quilt? a really big seninbari belt? organized by color? by fabric color? by knot color?

then i flashed on something:

when i was in japan these - EMA - caught my attention at every temple/shrine we went to. thousands of people, leaving thousands of wishes.

what if i treated this installation like a wish wall? what if each drawing/knot made was like a personal little wish? 

so i found giant nails. set up a grid. 

as i kept sorting through the doily drawings i realized that i just might have 100 colors of drawings. 

the doily wall has 100 colors of doilies. oh. that would be a nice connection.

at first i thought i'd stick the "main" color in front, and then fill the rest in behind with other colors to make even stacks. but as i sorted i realized why not let the stacks be what they are? if they have 1 doily they have one. the black pile would simply have over 100. i liked the idea of the numbers being dictated not by me. 

so began the task of punching holes.

i also had doily drawings of various sizes. so i thought i'd "arrange" them so that you could see the different scales. 

i also felt as though the thread that the drawings hung from should match the doily drawings themselves [also to link to the 1000 doily piece]. 

luckily there were a few more workshops to round out my numbers and get me to 1000 drawings. and the museum staff made sure to contribute drawings as well. 

my mom helped me tie a thread to each drawing. every night we'd sort them, separate the floss, tie loops and then attach a loop to the drawings. while we worked we watched japanese samurai movies. [fitting don't you think]?

then i'd come and hang them up. 

until finally they were all up on the wall. 

this might have been one of the scarier projects i've ever undertaken. mostly because i didn't have a SOLID plan before starting, and because i knew i had a very finite time [2 weeks after putting up the other piece] to complete it. 

but as is usually the case - pressure cooker situations are often good for the studio practice. and once the idea gelled, i felt like this was really a cool way to once again incorporate SO many hands, and my love and interest of color. and the nod to japanese culture [including my own experience with it] tied in nicely with the doily piece. 

i made the museum a color chart - with some extra threads in case one broke. and of course i love IT as an object in and of itself. 


when you are there... the air conditioning makes the pieces move. which is also a lovely bonus. 

so... to all of you that sent drawings, and good wishes, and happy thoughts; and for those of you that sent knots - i haven't figured out how to use them yet, but i will... once i finish all the work for my upcoming show at walter maciel [opens november 8th. mark your calendars]. THANK YOU. i am once again humbled and grateful. the almost indescribable magic that happens when a piece is collectively pulled together is present in this piece. and i will be sending you all little parcels of thanks soon. 

i don't think i will ever stop just making drawings and things that i do on my own, but this process - a social practice, has altered my approach to work in a very significant way. so again, thank you. 

i'm excited to visit the two pieces together this weekend. 

11 August 2014

wichita :: sen - 1000 doilies revisited

so... what did i do in wichita at the ulrich??

well... part one was to put up  sen : 1000 doilies. the same installation that i first put up at fouladi projects [more about that installation and all the fabulous people that crocheted for me, etc. ]

except this time i wanted to reconfigure it. instead of putting it into horizontal rows...

i wanted to see it in vertical rows. one color per row. all 100 colors spread across the wall. 
i kept the color order approximately the same. rainbow order, red to black, light to dark. 

once again it took a village - a GIANT village - and a couple of laser levels to put it up. i had warned the curator and the preparator [james ackerly porter - who swore that this was the absolute hardest installation he's ever put up. the doily installation that broke the professional preparator] but until we started putting it up, they really had no idea

the really awesome thing is that everyone on staff at the museum ended up helping too. from curator, to director of the museum, to the education curator, to the marketing person, to outside arts people [including heather smith jones ! but more on her later], some students, etc. etc. i'm working on the full list and will post it shortly. 

with all the help we were able to put it up in 4 days and finish it literally 2 minutes before the show was having a "soft opening". i had been told that it didn't need to be up for that event, that we could take much longer, but as we got closer and closer a core group of us worked fervently to get it done.

i have to say... i was/am really thrilled to see it this way. it's a totally different piece. 

for my residency i was asked to build a piece while in wichita as well [this will be my next post]. but i spent days and days sitting IN the museum working. i've never quite had that much of an opportunity to sit with my work while other people interacted with it. 

the thing that people said over and over again was some version of - oh my god this is so much labor. 

even the culligan water delivery man stopped to mutter that to himself under his breath. 

and it's true. the wall is a living testament to labor. each doily handmade by someone. each one put up with 8-10 pins - painstakingly placed in the wall. [everyone has calluses now]. 

every artist who put up doilies said : "you know you should try..." trying to think of a way to make a jig or use a tool that would simplify and make the process easier. one helper [lindsey] was going to write an essay on all the suggestions. but i wonder if the LABOR is part of what makes this piece magical. 

because there are so many hands involved the piece becomes bigger than just me. bigger than my head. bigger than all the initial ideas that i had about it. 

it becomes a piece about bonding. a piece about joking about who's thumb hurts the most. a way for me to learn about a person - what kind of job do they have? what kind of food do they like? i got to meet several local artists and chat with them about their work, their interests, how they made a living [with the cost of living in wichita, MANY artists don't need day jobs. such a different world than california or new york or other major cities]. 

i'm continually amazed that people THANK ME for the opportunity to help. even with their sore fingers and the potential mind blowing monotony. 

and because it's a museum - they make signs. with my name HUGE. 

and they asked me give a lecture - they have a series called senior wednesday. a very engaged audience came, ate snacks and then listened to me blab for a bit. they asked amazing questions. 

i also talked to a couple of classes. an art history one [where students were then invited to help put up doilies]. and a philosophy class - where they admitted they didn't interact with art on a regular basis. where one woman asked if this was my "hobby" - and when i politely, but firmly informed her that no it was NOT merely a hobby - she apologized for perhaps offending me. [i told her she hadn't - and indeed she didn't. i'm not offended by that question, but i do find it disheartening that this seems to be a position that working artists need to continually defend and navigate.]

i coaxed them into seeing a relationship between sports and art and i had them question why one was so prevalent and the other was marginalized in our society. [hey i tried]. 

it was moments like these - 2 local boys pointing out their favorite colors - that will be seared into my consciousness. it's easy to forget how art CAN actually influence people. in a multitude of ways. i'm grateful that this residency gave me a reminder of the potential impact of art and a way for me to voyeuristically witness that fact. however briefly. 

come walk by the piece with me??

the piece garnered a bit of press - the wichita eagle wrote about it
and lindsey - who helped install it - happened to work for the local NPR station - for which she created a commentary.  i told her that as an avid NPR listener i felt like i could die happy now that i was mentioned on an npr affiliate.

06 July 2014

why do i write?

romana from the creatory got in touch to ask if i wanted to be part of a blog chain/hop whatever you want to call it on the subject of why do i write. and i said yes...

but first a little history [ok - more like a meandering]. 

i have been blogging now for TEN years. that is a *&^#&@!! long time. in this past decade i have literally seen the landscape of the internet change dramatically. needless to say the function, look, feel, use of blogs has also changed significantly. there was no instagram, facebook, insert your other favorite social media here. in my best grandma i walked 5 hours in the snow voice let me tell you that in the beginning blogs were so very different. i was able to find, get to know, fall in love with a whole host of people, artists, makers, thinkers that i am STILL friends with - the beauty is that these people became some of my best friends in REAL LIFE.

blogs were a way for me to "meet" up with other creative people holed away. they were a lifeline. an instant filter - if i liked your photos, i would probably like you... and if your writing spoke to me, well then that sealed the deal. blogs were a means to get inspired. to see how other people did things. to talk about what was important to us. to make visual diaries. to explore. to share. to feel less alone. 

my days consisted of waking up, drinking coffee and then checking in with my friends via their blogs, and their flickr accounts. 

in fact back in the day i asked the question why do we blog? and a bunch of people just answered.  [i'm not sure if all those links are live anymore, but you get the idea].

blogs now feel much more polished. they are often associated with building a name for yourself - for selling and branding your creative person/business. for getting the word OUT about what you are up to, blah blah blah. around the time of the explosion of lifestyle blogs i seriously thought about giving up blogging all together. it felt like there were so many blogs, too many to keep up with. and all the friends i had made were all doing well... and thus were super busy. some of them stopped blogging. some of their blogs felt entirely different. the internet didn't feel the same. it didn't feel like we were all having our morning coffee together. the thought of stopping crossed my mind again when i had my child. why? why do this if it doesn't feel like the same community it did when i started? i now had even LESS time to look/write/read. what was my blog for? for me? for an "audience"? for ??? 

but here's the thing. in the end i figured out that for me the act of writing itself is important, has merit, and ultimately helpful. the act of curating images together, of putting down/out my thoughts is/was something that i enjoy immensely- and helps my creative process. the act of being here in some shape/form [and it's certainly decreased over the years] is still viable and interesting for me. it helps me congeal what i'm thinking about. writing holds me accountable. and so that is why i'm still HERE. why i still write. 

still with me?
here are the questions that are part of the meme. you can visit the creatory's blog to find out how she answered...


right this minute i am working mostly on my artwork. i'm getting ready for my residency in kansas and for my upcoming solo exhibition [which i wrote about in my last post].

for those of you who who might be visiting me for the first time or who have no idea what i make... my work is always rooted in something that interests me personally [duh - what artwork isn't]. i tend to do a lot of research on a subject and then make art that is an interpretation of what i've discovered [or is a visual means to discuss what interests me]. my work utilizes a lot of "crafty" materials - particularly embroidery and crochet - and i'm a serious color nut. i'm continually exploring color theory and what colors do/mean.

if you want to know more about what i do, feel free to root through the archives here or visit my website or read my artist statement. i also just recently talked about my process on fuel your process.


i'm not entirely sure how my writing differs. to be frank i'm not even sure what genre i'm in. this isn't just an artist's blog. or a crafter's blog. or insert your genre here blog. i've always avoided boxes and categories for my work and what i make, and have never really felt comfortable writing on a singular topic or in a singular style.

i think what is certainly consistent in my blog is that i write in a very conversational manner. i don't adhere to grammar or technical constraints. [i don't capitalize for faster typing]. i also over use parentheticals [but i won't stop this habit i'm sure. see?]

i also now post when i want to. there is no schedule. i don't feel the need to "feed" my blog like i used to. i do try to announce things that are related to my work or workshops that i'm teaching, but otherwise i write about what/why i'm making, cooking, eating, doing as a mom, how i feel about any subject, art/makers i like, photographs i'm taking [often polaroids]. occasionally i've been asking for help from people to complete art projects.

i try really hard to be genuine in this space. i fell in love with blogs because they offered an insight into how people lived their lives, and how they do what they do. i like the sense of community, and i want to maintain that feeling.


in the beginning i used to worry that my blog had no focus. but now i don't really care.
i write what i do because i want to. something strikes my fancy and i write about it. i finish making something and i want to share it.

i've discovered over the years that writing is a great way for me to focus. it's a way for me to work out

ideas, make sure they are sound and not completely off the wall [or if they are off the wall to figure out why they interest me]. i actually really enjoy the process of writing. it makes my brain work in a different way.

it's a way for me to document my process and my life. it's very much a virtual sketchbook for me.


often times i just open up blogger and start typing. i generally know i have one thing i want to share/show but other than that.... it's rather freeform. i do tend to organize and photos/links together. i type everything out and then add the photos/links as needed. or i place the photos first and then type around them.

what i've found really interesting over the years is that if i'm thinking about posting something that is highly emotional or sensitive i write things out by hand in my sketchbook first. my brain kicks in a different way when i take pen to paper.

voila. i've answered the meme. don't kill me romana, but i'm not going to invite specific people. i was always the kid the broke chain letters when i was a child. BUT - i throw this out to anyone. if you want to answer the questions, please do and link to your post in the comments.

p/s all the images except typewriter [which is from the lovely papermonkeypress] are from #lookupanddown

10 November 2013

november = hyperdrive

november has started with a vengeance - hence the lack of posting round here.

the live internet TV thing is DONE. phew. it was actually really fun - the people at creative live are SO nice. they kept saying how well it was going - i kept wondering if they were doing that TV thing where everything is FABULOUS - or if i was actually doing it right. maybe it did all go OK - although i doubt i'll watch my entire segment. 

i think my favorite part was that i used it as an excuse to get a manicure cause i knew my hands were going to be on camera a lot. also i wore the necklace that the little made me. if you want to watch you can now pay for the class here. i do go over 3 very basic stitches you need to make the snowflake - so if you are new to crochet this would be a good way for you to practice a chain stitch, as well as single and double crochet. i go over running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch in the embroidery segment. and if you purchase the course you get the patterns for both segments. 

next up is the installation of SEN. i'll be at fouladi projects ALL next week [with some help - thank god] putting up 1000 doilies. any guesses on how long it will take?

here's the postcard for the show. 

if you can make it on november 15 from 6-8 - come and say hello. i'm excited that some of the people who helped me make the doilies will actually be there ! including cynthia who is visiting from baltimore !

finally i just want to share 2 books that i recently got. i've been meaning to make a quilt for the little [she even reminded me - mama after your show you are going to make my blanket right?]

and i've never really made a functional quilt [the one my mom really made when i was younger doesn't count].

these two books are going to help me immensely.

the first is the gorgeous quilt essential by erin. this book feels like a quilting bible to me. it doesn't have any specific templates - but it really gives you all the info you need to know to put a quilt together. it's so clear and well written and just beautiful. i got mine signed. 

second is this really stunning book - brave new quilts -  by the late kathreen ricketson. i wrote a little bit about her passing here. for some reason today as i write this isn't live. i hope it's just a glitch today. i did a little guest post that's here [when the site is live] about my relationship to "quilting" and how i use some quilting techniques in my work.

this book takes it's cue from contemporary art. i love this idea. i could totally see making some of the quilts in here - altering them to suit my color palette. there's a lot of really good coverage on quilting basics here too.

between these two books i feel like i'm ready to go.

i'm attempting to make a little time lapsed video of my installation as it goes. so i'll post that here if i can pull it off... until after my opening... hope all is well in your worlds.

26 October 2013

it's thursday afternoon live !

ok. so that live internet TV thing i was telling you about? here's a little commercial they put together for it. i actually want to watch the all the other segments with janette [feather headresses], genevieve [cocktails], and tiffanie [the woodland ornaments]. they were really nice women and super talented !

i haven't been able to watch the commercial so i have no idea if it's any good. i really hate watching moving images of myself. i'm better with photos [and it took me eons to be ok with those, so give me another 10 years]. i know the brittish guy was so nice and tried to make us all feel comfortable [and clearly he didn't have any problems being on camera]. the whole thing was supposed to be completely silly. i bet i rolled me eyes... [hopefully they edited that out].

the whole thing is being put on by creativeLIVE - which really is this cool resource. it's FREE to watch live. i'm on nov. 7th from 12:45-4pm. i'll show you how to crochet and embroider a snowflake. you can sign up here to watch live  - i'm pretty sure that you can interact via twitter with us while the show is going on. or if you can't watch live you can purchase a pass to watch it anytime. you can also get a bundle for all 4 segments here.

and if you are local and want to be in the audience - there are some spots ... fill out this form and they'll get back to you. it'd be SO great to see a familiar face.

p/s please tell me someone got the saturday night live corny reference... in my post title ??

21 September 2013

places to see my work [RIGHT NOW & soon]

up thru tomorrow the walter maciel gallery has some work of mine in their booth in Chicago for the edition art fair. if anyone has gone/is going i'd love to see pictures !

my large scale bed drawing piece - nocturna: we will soon be three - is on view at the bedford gallery in Walnut Creek through November 17th. more info here. i got to see the show when i was installing and there are a lot of really GREAT pieces in it. including work by dean monogenis who also show's at walter's and was my gallery mate for my solo show there last year. carrie lederer the curator at the bedford is an amazing artist in her own right and i'm so happy she included this piece of mine. 

two of my toxin glass ball sculptures will be on view at the italian cultural institute - located at 844 montgomery - in san francisco starting october 4th. 

i'm also frantically working toward my solo show. which opens friday night, november 15th, at fouladi projects. mark your calendars. if you are local i'd love to see you there !

happy weekend !

12 May 2013

the power of a group + an invitation

i received my first school generated mama gift from the little on friday. she had told me all about the day they started them in school [she is NO good at keeping secrets from me - which i love]. she was so proud. 

the mom's club... it's a powerful group. it instantaneously binds women together in a way that is really indescribable ... [or understandable to non-moms]. ridiculously cliche i feel like i should now apologize to my mother and thank her to the moon for the amazing patience and generosity she showed me [and still does] my whole life. we mothers are a lot of things to our kids... one of the funniest roles to me is - taker of anything they don't want. food, gum, garbage, clothes, whatever it is that they are done with, don't need, don't want gets handed over with a "here mama!". sometimes i find the grossest things in the pocket of my jeans. something handed off in a moment when there was no garbage can. 

why yes. yes i am here. and so are you. here's to the amazing mama role models out there, all the mom's i know that inspire me daily and laugh with when i see them face to face. and if you hate mother's day - that is your prerogative too !

yesterday i got together with a group of lovely lovely smart smart crafty crafty crafty gals to help lisa congdon make decorations for her wedding. clockwise starting next to me lauren, jen l,  jen h, mikel, kristen, lorena, mati, rena.

in the span of 5 hours we laughed and joked, made poufs, cupcake toppers, ate... the good stuff. and it made me realize [again] the power of inclusion. of a group.

how a group dynamic alters everything. it makes the impossible possible [we made over 200 poufs !]. it makes boring things more fun. it binds you together. gives you a place to bounce ideas [who is a good fabric manufacturer? what would be a good venue?]. it's INSPIRING. granted i was in the company of some bad ass talented women. but really. we are all talented. at something. you just have to find out what that is....

so in the spirit of that - i invite YOU. anyone who wants to come - who CAN come. to ARC [art {retreat} camp]. this summer. August 14-18.

first off - it's on a FREAKIN island. !!! [yes you read that right] in new hamshire. an island in a lake. 

there are cabins.
yes. this is an ADULT camp.

with art workshops  - i am teaching 3 - an embroidery one, a crochet one, and one called day-to-day where we talk about what it means to develop a daily art habit - a practice. what that might look like for YOU. how it can be meaningful and helpful...

and if you don't want to be in my class there are other AWESOME instructors to take classes with

and what else, pray tell is there to do? sleep, eat, hike, swim.
have more questions? you might find answers here

i dunno if you remember when i went to japan to install a show? it felt a lot like an art camp - and i loved it. so wanted that feeling again. and here's a chance for that. 5 days of making. of hanging out - of finding out what this group dynamic will bring. so - if you are interested.... come join us ! your tuition covers EVERYTHING. lodging, meals, supplies for all the workshops. you just have to get yourself to the dock where the boat comes to pick you up. just SHOW up. and let the power of the group do the rest. i, for one, can't wait. [oh and if you come. you'll get to meet my mom and my little. they're coming with me !]