Friday, December 9, 2011

Maybe you can hire. . .

"The A-Team"
8.5" x 11"
embroidery floss and ink on cotton

This piece is in the Wonders to Come (toys as fine art) group show at The Springbox Gallery in Portland, OR.  The show opens tonight (12/9/11) if any locals care to check it out.  There's a wide variety of work from some pretty awesome artists.  I based this design on a comic book cover, switching out the original A-team crew for a selection of well known and hopefully recognizable artists.  (Just in case: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali)  The hardest part was changing the proportions for Andy Warhol.  The other figures had the same average human proportions as the originals but turning Mr. T into Mr. W took some serious tweaking.  Luckily, I have quite a few life drawing classes under my belt so I'm pretty familiar with the human form.  It's fun to play around with facial features and clothing when you're trying to create a representation of such iconic people.  It helps a lot when they have a signature style (or a wackadoo hair cut, uni brow, twirly mustache, crazy eyes, ginger beard . . . you get the idea).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bite-Sized Monsters

"Tromaville Field Journal"
6" Square
embroidery floss and ink on cotton

nest detail

"Nothing to See Here"
6" Square
embroidery floss and ink on cotton

I made these pieces for the Bite-Sized Monsters group show that opens October 8th in San Francisco.  I was watching a little Troma-thon while I worked; Can you tell?  In case you don't know, Troma is responsible for some serious B-movie gold that is not for the easily offended or squeamish.  I had to make my own frames since there was a six inch square size restriction for all of the pieces.  So i dusted off my skills with the miter box and I think they turned out pretty well.  It's pretty economical, especially once you have the miter box and saw.  Next time i may try to get fancy and add a piece of plex to the front.  The field journal piece was pretty time consuming but I love the texture all of those little tiny stitches create.  The hardest part ended up being the text.  It should have been the easiest since I used a pen but I'm a perfectionist and you can't rip out ink like a stitch.  I reminded myself that it was supposed to look like quickly written notes and as long as I didn't completely botch things it would be fine.  In fact it would have looked off with perfectly straight, evenly spaced lettering. You can check out the show this Saturday, October 8th through November 6th so check it out if you can!  It's a beautiful space and there will be plenty of gorgeous artwork to take in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Proof Positive (well, sort of)

Eddington's Proof
10" diameter
embroidery floss on cotton

This was a submission for a juried show in San Francisco.  It wasn't chosen for the show but neither were over 90% of the 500+ other entries.  Besides it's all a matter of the juror's taste so you can't take it too personally.  They have to create a cohesive collection so pieces can be rejected for any of a hundred reasons from the media and size of a piece to the color scheme.  You can't take it personally or assume it's a reflection of the quality of your work.  Anywho, the theme was proof so to get started I decided to find a quote as inspiration.  "Proof is the idol before whom the pure mathematician tortures himself" - Arthur Eddington.  I knew immediately what I wanted to do with the piece when I read that.  The portrait is Rene Descartes surrounded by a variety of new and old mathematical machinery.  I love the look of vintage calculators so this was really fun to draw up and stitch.  I'm especially happy with the candles.  I stitched them freehand (I always sketch everything out but I couldn't find my fade pen so I just went for it).  It's always a little disappointing to not make a show but my husband is happy.  He gets more attached to them than I do and hates to see any of them leave our walls.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stitch Wars Strikes Back photos and info

Stitch Wars Strikes Back opened last Friday and runs through September 25th.  If you can’t make it to the gallery, you can still check out pictures of all of the show pieces, link to a price list and purchasing information and even check out some pictures from the opening night reception here.
Stitch Wars Strikes Back Gallery Setup

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A little side project

So I have one last Stitch Wars Strikes Back piece to post but I think I'll save that until the show opens.  Scratch that; I just realized that I have posted all of my SWSB pieces.  (Although I do have another Star Wars piece in progress but it's massive and will take a while to get done)  Not to worry though as I have been busy working on some other new projects.

embroidery floss on cotton, 7" hoop
I made this hoop for my niece's 1st birthday and just sent it off to her (only a month late but it took longer than I anticipated).  While I'm pretty darn comfortable drawing A person, drawing a REAL person is always a challenge.  Even the tiniest of changes to proportion or placement of features and at best you've drawn A person but not the person you intended.  This is especially true of babies and children since they can easily slip into the bizarre and often disturbing realm of babies with adult features.  Fortunately, this piece turned out just how I hoped it would and almost as gorgeous and my beautiful little niece.  I plan on doing more portraits but for the moment I've been side tracked by some teacups (more on that later).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Final Stitch Wars Piece

14" width 2" depth
embroidery floss and felt on organza

Here's my final piece for the Stitch Wars Strikes Back show.  It's my biggest piece to date (soon to be dwarfed by the 18x27" piece I'm working on).  It turned out really well but was incredibly time consuming.  I think of it more as a shadow box than a hoop.  It's a little tricky to get a good photo since there are layers of organza and felt to create depth between Slave I, the clouds, cloud city and yes that is a tiny millennium falcon flying off in the distance. 

The most time consuming part of making this was stitching Slave I.  In order to get the right look for the chipped paint, I did thousands and thousands of tiny stitches.  It will be available to purchase here when the show opens August 12th.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Star Wars Evening Post (second series for Stitch Wars Strikes Back)

(clockwise from upper left) "The Runaway Padawan", "Wait He Cannot" and "The Dark Discovery or The Truth About Vader"

7" hoops, embroidery floss on cotton
I just packed these up and sent them off to Florida for the Stitch Wars Strikes Back show.  They're all based on Norman Rockwell paintings and I was very happy with how they turned out.  I really enjoy doing pieces that combine themes.  I only intended to do one piece like this but I couldn't decide which idea I liked best.  I actually have one more piece that didn't make the show deadline (yes, it's in the dreaded long term work in progress pile) but I'll finish it up and post a picture soon.  Check out the Bear and Bird website when the show opens (August 12, 2011)  if you're interested in purchasing one.  (I also may be opening an online shop soon; more on that later)

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's a Crest!

Third and final piece in the "emblems" series (not to worry, there are 4 more Stitch Wars pieces I have yet to post).  So, this one strays slightly from the everyday world (unless you're a resident of the fifteenth century or participate in Renaissance faires).  I wanted to give a nod to the admiral without using the oh so popular "it's a trap" so I did a little expanded universe research and stumbled upon the knights of Mon Calamari.  I really love how this one turned out and am a bit sad to send it off this week.  This is another one that I finished half of and then set aside.  The mirrored waves were a bit daunting.  I sketched the whole thing out onto the fabric but things tend to get wonky when I put the fabric in the hoop so I have to adjust as I go and step back and adjust more.  I finally sucked it up and just dove in, trying not to over analyze as I went along (there's always the temptation to give up part way through when I'm not sure it's going to work but 9 times out of 10, if I just keep going the end result is a success)  The show opens 8/12 and all of the work will be for sale on the Bear and Bird Gallery's online shop (here)
the second piece in my "emblems" series for the Stitch Wars Strikes Back show.  I actually started this piece before the Jedi Union one (here) but had to step away from it after finishing the first tauntaun (mirror images can be quite frustrating and there's usually at least some amount of pulling out stitches and adjusting lines).  Like I've said before, I love the everyday world of Star Wars.  The idea for this one came from "The Empire Strikes Back".  Echo Base was a pretty big endeavour; engineering, construction, tauntaun wrangling.  I mean they've been repaving the freeway here for at least five years now so multiply that by an entire galaxy's worth of planets and there'd have to be some kind of organization for all that labor.  And thus the idea of the taunatun teamsters was born.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Union Pride

Here it is; my first fully completed piece for the Stitch Wars show!  I’m quite happy with how it turned out.  First off I have to say that I am a Star Wars fan but by no means a Star Wars expert.  I’ve known quite a few people who I would call experts in the field so I’ve seen the movies…a lot.  I really like the idea that there could be this whole everyday world going on in the background.  I dunno why but I find it infinitely entertaining to think about things like ”who forged that bikini?” or “who’s doing all that Jedi laundry?”  Also “is there some kind of passport system involved in interplanetary travel?  do I have to get shots? can I drink the water?”  and so on.  When I do this with other movies it’s generally to be snarky and poke holes in the plot but with Star Wars it’s genuine interest  I guess I just find the mundane details fascinating.  (and I know there’s a whole expanded universe beyond the movies so I’m not the only one)  So here’s an emblem for the unionized Jedi Order.  I sense an upcoming strike in the force… unless we get time and a half on Sundays and bank holidays

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stitch Wars!

If you're anywhere near Lauderhill, FL be sure to check out this group show at Bear and Bird!  If you can't make the show, artwork (including mine!) will be available to view and purchase on Bear and Bird's website

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Velma Von Tussle

felt applique and embroidery on Ultrasuede (6” hoop)

“Debbie Harry Exploding Hair”  This is what you should type into YouTube if you want to see the inspiration behind this hoop.  Do NOT type in “hairspray bomb”.  That’s something else.  So US government if you see any suspicious bomb related searches going on from my computer I assure you it was purely accidental.  I heard John Waters on NPR a few days ago and realized he was conspicuously absent from my hoop wall.  I decided to start at the PG end of the spectrum (I plan on doing a few more JW pieces).  I was also really wanting to do something that was a little bit interactive since embroidery is already so texturally interesting.  Or am I the only one who’s immediately drawn to touching embroidery?  I had to play around with the felt a little bit to get the flap right.  I ended up doubling it up because a single piece wasn’t strong enough (It kept getting all wonky and frayed)  That also solved the problem of the stitching on the back not looking so pretty.
Now I must wait for my flexi hoops to get here so I can start my next project!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What if we aren't parked on a hill?

10” hoop
embroidery floss on flannel
Here’s the latest addition to thehoop gallery. It’s my own artwork ( It was one of those late night inspirations that I had to get down on paper as I was falling asleep)  I had no idea it would take as long as it did.  I’d say I put a good three weeks into this one. There were a lot of details to fidget with and it was my first design that included people (always a bit tricky to get the proportions and details right)
 It was hard to get a good picture since without the flash the colors look washed out and with the flash there’s some funky glare going on.  I’ll take a picture in natural light as soon as we get some (we’re in the midst of some seriously stubborn rainy weather here).  I was just so excited to get it done that I had to post it ASAP!
… and now on to the next hoop!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Several Miles Above the Surface of an Alien Planet…

embroidery floss and felt applique on flannel

I thought this piece would be a quick one but it ended up taking about a week.  I had to redo the text on the thought bubbles a few times before I was happy.  It’s only the first in a series based on The Hitchhiker’s Guide books (my favorite-favorite books).  I’ve done several drawings and paintings based on The Guide as it is such an fab source.  So much amazingly imaginative imagery to play with!  Visual reference material is great but there’s nothing like a great work of fiction to get the creative juices flowing and keep the imagination and freehand drawing skills sharp

Sunday, April 10, 2011

all together now

the bomb, Dimitri

embroidery floss on white cotton

I'm the lone female in a testosterone dominated house.  My oldest loves to "wrestle" the baby and I find myself saying things like "be gentle", "no, no put him down" and "we don't stand on people; It's not nice" (I never imagined myself having to tell someone not to stand on top of another person and yet here we are. . . )  Now don't get me wrong, we have a lot of adorable moments too: hugs and kisses for brother, returning a dropped sippy cup.  Sunshine and roses.  But this is now hanging in our living room as a little reminder to the troops.  *Merkin Muffley for President 2012, Baby!*

Good, morning. . . I'm heeere

embroidery floss on white cotton

Nightmare inducing clay-mation aside, PeeWee's Big Adventure was and honestly still is one of my favorite movies.  Since I'll probably never have such a rad bike of my own (I do have a cute beach cruiser but the PeeWee bike is epic) I can at least have it in stitch form.  The Jay-Z pun I just threw in because, well that's what I was listening to when I started this.  Plus it makes the whole thing just that much weirder and that's always a bonus.


Felt applique and embroidery on organza

So this is the first piece I started but not the first I finished as I generally have at least three hoops going at once in addition to sewing the flannel monsters (check out my monster blog for pics and links to my online store  This should put any doubts about how truly nerdy I am to rest.  Dr. Who is one of my favorite shows (although I have NOT at this time accepted the departure of David Tennant and refuse to watch new episodes. . . maybe later. . . just not yet *tear*)  I was originally going to do this piece completely in embroidery floss but the satin stitching with different shades of blue was looking way too busy.  The felt turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.


black embroidery floss on purple organza

This was my first attempt at embroidering transparent fabric.  It's a bit of a challenge to work clean since you can see any loose or tied off threads that are out of place.  I love how it turned out and it now graces the wall above my sewing machine.  I'm amassing a gallery of fantastically nerdy embroidery hoops.  I've done a lot of pen and ink and acrylic pieces in the past but have fallen head over heels for needle work.  It's portable, easy to abandon and pick back up (a very desirable craft quality for a mom) and I find it extremely cathartic.