medium /// embroidery




rhian swierat

rhianswierat

Ooooh! Painting and drawing and thread and sequins! I’d love to see these gems in person, but an extreme close-up or two is going to have to do for now. This is the mixed media work of New York based artist/graphic designer Rhian Swierat. Does she have a plan going into each piece? Yes – ish. Small stitched sketches get her going, but then she lets go and the whole process becomes very organic… perhaps that’s how those spider webs and flowers made their way in there.

“My process takes precedent over any drive towards a preordained composition. Sewing has no short cuts, you need to make every stitch to fill a space. This process becomes meditative as I work to recall each memory and distill it into a physical representation.”

Beautiful.





xuan chen

xuanchen

Damn. I wish I thought of that. Today marks the 8 year anniversary of ‘The Jealous Curator”, so what better way to celebrate than with gorgeous art that takes my breath away. These pieces are from a series by China born, USA based artist Xuan Chen, titled “Light Threads”YES! Colorful thread that looks like magical shafts of light cutting its way through neon geometric shapes on aluminum panel. So. Good. That thread is the kind o’ thing that makes me want to write posts for 8 more years! Love.





meredith woolnough

meredithwoolnough

Thread. WHAT!? Yes. Coral and lily pads made from thread.  This is the stunning work of Australian artist Meredith Woolnough. How you ask? I have no idea, so I’m going to let the ‘about’ section from her portfolio site do the talking:

“… Through a delicate system of tiny stitches she creates intricate and complex openwork compositions that are then carefully pinned in shadowboxes, just like preserved specimens. 

The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith’s embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.

Robust beauty and elegant fragility of life… love.





“simply complex”

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Simply complex, indeed! Beautiful colors, clean designs, and perfect stitching. Today I’m talking to New Zealand artist Jane Denton. As always, Jane and I have “known” each other for years, but today is the first time we’re talking. We recorded this just before Christmas so it was cold and snowing in my Canadian backyard and Jane was boiling hot on holiday at a lake in New Zealand! Well, even though we were on opposites sides of the world, I was still able to ask her all of the questions I’ve had for years. Ready? You can listen right up there under Jane and her gorgeous work, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

As usual, let’s start with a few of my favorites:

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Sigh. The designer in me, who’s also obsessed with embroidery thread, is smitten. I mean, those colors, come on!

So, it turns out that Jane and I have a friend in common… the always fabulous LA based designer and stylist, Emily Henderson. She loves Jane’s work as much as I do, and in case you need proof, here are some images from Emily’s site. Oh, and first image below is the cover of Emily’s book, STYLED. Look to the far top right… oh hello, Jane Denton circles:

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Gah! That light pink X and O in Emily’s nursery might be one of my favorites of Jane’s. Lovely, lovely detail and that delicate pink thread is killing me. So continuing with this artsy connection, Emily and Jane just did a “maker collaboration” together. Here’s the simple, yet complex, design that resulted:

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Beautiful! I love how much texture Jane’s pieces bring to a gallery wall. {All of the photos are from Emily’s site, on the post she wrote about this project.} 

This is a perfect segue into these next few images. Circles. Tricky on a square grid, yes? Um, yes:

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… yet somehow Jane makes them look simple. Ahhhh, gorgeous. I had wrongly assumed that Jane went to design school – wouldn’t you think so with these beautifully composed pieces? Yeah, me too. Nope, business school. Hm. Perhaps that’s why she’s so good at the whole marketing thang.

Up next, the two pieces I was a little bit involved with. The top piece was the pointy triangle piece that I brought to New York for a maker event, and the bottom piece {triptych on the far left} was her contribution to my Land of Nod collection:

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Dreamy. All of it. And that’s that! Thanks so much to Jane for taking time out of her family holiday to do this with me; thank you to Saatchi Art for supporting yet another episode; and of course, thank you so much for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links:

  1. Jennifer Pudney’s kits
  2. Emily Henderson Collaboration
  3. Framebridge
  4. Jane’s online shop
  5. My new art site
  6. Susanna Bauer, Episode No.40
  7. Flight of the Conchords

ps. This is my 4’x4′ “Type A” button piece I mentioned, along with photographic proof of how “organized” my thread jar is:

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Yeesh.





“not enough hours in the day”

shannon_rankin1

Maps, cut into perfect little leaf shapes and attached to the wall with tiny red pins. What?! Yeah. Today I’m talking to American artist Shannon Rankin all about maps, vellum, more maps, constantly pushing yourself, and pizza… in that order. Shannon’s currently at a residency in Roswell, New Mexico, so that’s where I called. You can listen right up there, under that gorgeous installation,  or you can subscribe on iTunes.

As always, let’s start with a few of my favorite pieces from Shannon’s beautiful portfolio:

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Now THAT is some insane precision. So gorgeous.

Next, we were talking about Justin Richel… Shannon’s long time partner, and amazing artist. I’ve written about Justin before, and both he and Shannon are in my first book, “Creative Block”. Justin’s with Shannon in Roswell at the moment, experimenting with sculpture! Cannot wait to see that:

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Couples that make art together, stay together! 

Alright, and now the craziness that is Shannon’s installation work. This first piece is “Germinate (5000 seeds)”. Yep, thousands of tiny pins and map dots make up this 12′ beauty:

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And of course, I had to include a close up of “Matrix” from the first image in the post. I also had to include that shot in the gallery for scale. Cra. Zy.

Up next, her latest work! These are the pieces she’s been working on in New Mexico:

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Embroidery, and paper, and maps, oh my!

Ok, who knows “Selflesh” on Etsy? Yep, that’s Shannon’s alias. I loooove these simpler, smaller works too. And yes, more maps:

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Sigh. Right?!

The reason this episode is titled “not enough hours in the day” is because of the diverse, insane amount of work Shannon does. This leads me to her vellum work. If you couldn’t tell on the podcast, I LOVE THESE:

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That’s mine! And there it is hanging in the GoCA (Guest-room of Contemporary Art)… ps. there’s an original by Justin just to the upper right of Shannon’s work. Both very coveted pieces in my GoCA collection. But wait, there are new ones that are black and white!

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Swoooooon  ♥  You can buy her vellum pieces in this lovely shop.

Now, if you’re wondering where Shannon was during this chat, wonder no more! This is a peek into the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program:

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And there’s Shannon in her Roswell studio. Enjoy every moment of the next four months, Shannon! There is one more “Art For Your Ear” left in 2016, and it will go up next weekend. See you then!

Other links:

Saatchi Art Sweepstakes Info:  Ready to #stART2017right with new art? Saatchi Art is gifting one original artwork from this collection to a lucky winner every day for five days, Monday December 19th through Friday December 23rd. Follow @saatchiart on Instagram and share your favorite artwork from this featured collection with hashtags #stART2017right #sweeps for a chance to win. Good luck!

  1. “Selflesh” (Shannon’s Etsy shop)
  2. Maine College of Art
  3. Shannon’s Instagram feed
  4. Roswell Artist in Residence ps. Feb 15, 2017 deadline to apply!
  5. Ali Cavanaugh – Episode No.63

 





nicoletta daríta de la brown

nicolettadelabrown

Forgotten plastic bags that have been embroidered into unforgettable works of art. This is a series from 2013, titled “El Barrio Bodega”, by Baltimore based artist Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown. Why embroidery on old bags? Here are Nicoletta’s words on exactly that:

“Embroidered corner-store grocery bags. Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects. Growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pennies in hand, and leave with priceless treasures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neighborhood and are a symbol of my cultural identity.”

Beautiful, in every way.





per fhager

perfhager

Yeah. That’s right… CROSS-STITCHED VIDEO GAMES! This is the meticulous work of Swedish artist Per Fhager. I had to include that image of Per in action so you’d believe that these are embroidered pieces, not screen-grabs. Insane. Here’s a bit more about why he does what he does:

Per´s choice of material, technique and color gives us a perfect example of how traditional crafts can receive a new expression and context in the modern world. The embroideries differs largely in texture, technique and color density, these differences are important in the process of producing the needle point works. The handmade pictures arrives from video game stills where composition, narrative and memory plays its role.

It really is kind of crazy how close a pixel is to a cross-stitch. Hm. And with that bit of amazingness, I will wish you a happy Friday. Mic drop.





jessica wohl

jessicawohl

Have you seen the movie, “Fur:An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus”… I absolutely loved it, and these sewn drawings by American artist Jessica Wohl make me want to watch it over and over and over again. Alright, that last piece {titled “Sparkle Face”} wouldn’t quite fit the fur theme, but it was just too good not to include in the post. Love!





“art. therapy.”

emily_barletta1

Oh boy. The work of Brooklyn based artist Emily Barletta blows my mind, and has for years! She is a very talented woman, with an incredible story that I really want to share. Emily was diagnosed with a rare spinal disease when she was in her early teens, and was in a huge amount of pain for years – both because of her back, and because of the bullying she experienced. We’re talking about alllll of that today, but I will slip in a spoiler – yes, she used art to push herself through to the other side. She’s incredibly inspiring, just like her work. If you are a teenager, or if you have a teenager, I think this is a really important episode. You can listen right up there under that insanely beautiful embroidered mound, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Alright, let’s take a peek at the work we talked about. Here are some of Emily’s crochet pieces from a few years ago {this is the work I discovered her through}:

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That first piece is “Pelt” which we mentioned. Isn’t it all so amazing? Art and science falling madly in love!

And then one day she decided to embroider on paper. Excellent decision, Emily:

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So beautiful! Still mainly red, still mainly hump-like. And her work continued to evolve from there. Brace yourself because these are crazy amazing:

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Whoa. I wish I could show you how stunning these are in person. Yes, the photos are lovely, but in person, my goodness! I happen to know this because out of nowhere, Emily sent this to my house:

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Oh. I love it so much! She mentioned how crazy the back of her work is so I took a photo so you could see. And that final image is the pin she has for sale in her shop that totally reminds me of my gorgeous piece [pause in writing] Ok, I just popped over there and got one! YAY!

And finally, her latest work. She talked about “drawn white lines”… they’re kinda drawn, but then embroidered around leaving her lines as un-embroidered negative space. Here are a few final pieces, closeups, and in-progress pieces so you can see her process in action:

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Stun. Ning.

And finally, Emily herself! Here she is with a brand new pixie cut, working on her couch {probably watching bad TV as she creates}, with one of her two tiny pooches by her side, and her “block blanket” behind her. The “block blanket” is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard of! Whenever she was stuck/not feeling it when working on something, she’d take a break and go crochet a few rows of this giant, colorful blanket until she worked her way through the block. LOVE. I may have to take up crochet just for that!

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Thank you so much to Emily for sharing her story. I added a little bit of our “post-interview” conversation in there because she talked about the bullying she suffered through in high school, and the fantastic way she handled it – I just had to share. I know there are teenagers out there who feel alone, but just know that it does get better. Emily is proof.

Thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and thanks to you for listening {high fives to everyone who has left a rating or review over on iTunes… I appreciate those so much!} There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Stumpkins {My craft obsession as a kid}
  2. John Cage’s “Some Rules for Students and Teachers”
  3. True Blood {TV show}
  4. “Mind Over Matter” {Emily’s upcoming show in Florida}
  5. ps. sorry for all of the chip talk – I must have been hungry!

 





severija inčirauskaitė-kriaunevičienė

Severija

Actual helmets – from various wars and several countries – that have been hand-embroidered with delicate flowers. This series, titled, “Kill(ed) for Peace”, is the powerful and beautiful work of Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė. I got chills when I saw them, and this is why…

I have been so overwhelmed by, well, the general state of world. I feel nauseous every time we have to come up with a new hashtag to #prayformorevictims. I’m not sure what to say, how to say it, when to say it. I’m Canadian so I can’t make my voice heard by voting in the US election {I would if they’d let me, so if you can PLEASE DO}, and I can’t call a US Senator about gun control {I would if they’d take my call}. But the main thing I can’t do is this… I cannot even begin to make sense of the terrible attacks that are bringing heartache and pain to so many cities, families, and communities. You come here for art, I totally get that, but sometimes my artsy posts seem so frivolous in the social media news feeds compared to the shocking, upsetting, and absolutely devastating events that are taking place all over the planet. Yes, I want to deliver happiness, beauty, and the work of talented artists, but I also want to take a moment to say how much my heart breaks every time a horrific piece of news is reported.

And so here we are today. When I found Severija’s work, I wanted to share it immediately. Sometimes it feels like there’s not much I can do from my tiny corner of the world, but I know that sitting here silently isn’t doing anything at all. I can be one voice that says, ENOUGH. We are smarter than this. We are better than this. We are all human. Enough.