medium /// embroidery




nana akua’s grandmother

Have you seen these amazing things?!



Amazingly detailed, hand-embroidered Christmas ornaments? No, although they would be perfect on my tree! These are called temari balls. I had never heard of them before, so just in case they are new to you too, here’s a bit of Wikipedia info:

Temari are highly valued and cherished gifts, symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty. Also, the brilliant colors and threads used are symbolic of wishing the recipient a brilliant and happy life. Becoming a temari artist in Japan today requires specific training, and one must be tested on one’s skills and technique before being acknowledged as a crafter of temari.

Traditionally, temari were often given to children from their parents on New Year’s Day. Inside the tightly wrapped layers of each ball, the mother would have placed a small piece of paper with a goodwill wish for her child. The child would never be told what wish his or her mother had made while making the ball.

Lovely. Beautiful on the outside, and so, so sweet on the inside. The temari balls featured in this post are the work of an 88 year old grandmother. Since the 1960s she has literally made hundreds and hundreds of them, and recently her granddaughter, Nana Akua, documented them – thank goodness!

{via Colossal}





jose romussi


Another day, another post featuring contemporary embroidery! I have written about Chilean artist Jose Romussi a couple of times already {here and here}, but when I saw his new, flowery/fashiony work, well, how could I resist? Gorgeous!

ps. Jose is 1 of the 30 artists featured in my second book with Chronicle {on shelves Fall 2014}… it’s called COLLAGE, and I’m so excited to tell you more! Wait til you see what Jose made for it! ♥





anouk desloges


Ok. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I like it! Toronto/Quebec City based artist Anouk Desloges embroiders… on plexiglass? The description of the work is: Textile embroidery on plexiglass, bronze leaf. I think there might actually be holes in the plexi?! Anyway, whatever is happening there is absolutely gorgeous. The first three are like beautifully embroidered, bronze-leafed rorschach tests… I know what I see… what do you see?





ana teresa barboza



Oh my word. So good!!! I wrote about another embroidery artist last week, and in the comments field someone {aka Kelsey from The Tarot Nook} suggested I take a look at the work of Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza. Yep. I loved it. I’m quite sure that an audible little ‘gasp’ snuck out of me when I clicked through to Ana Teresa’s site. Some of her work is so simple, and other pieces are incredibly complex – but all of them have so much feeling – and some of those feelings are pretty uncomfortable, especially in those last two pieces! Ouch.





i’m jealous of diane meyer



Embroidery and photographs… yep, my favorite art recipe! This series is titled Berlin, and is the work of American artist Diane Meyer – it shows the former path of the Berlin Wall. Oh, if only that wall had actually been made of soft, colorful thread:

“This aspect of the sewing emphasizes the unnatural boundaries created by the wall itself. The sewing, which is soft, provides a literal contrast to the concrete of the wall and a metaphorical contrast to its symbolism.” ~ Diane Meyer

Lovely. But, we can’t stop there. I wasn’t quite finished snooping around in her portfolio, and look what I found from another series, titled Time Spent That Might Otherwise Be Forgotten:


Ahh… so much nostalgia! You can never go wrong with a bunch of cross-stitching, some Christmas sweaters, and a little old school Donald Duck. Love, love, LOVE!

{via The Design Ark}





i’m jealous of silke baltruschat

Ew!!! …and also, Ahahahaha!!! This is the work of Hamburg based artist/designer Silke Baltruschat. These are posters from Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten (Schoolgirl Report Part 1: What Parents Don’t Think Is Possible) – a 1970 West German sex report film. Already kinda creepy, and then Silke adds some strategically placed, dangly, black thread. So gross, but oh, so so good. Ew.

{via the always fabulous yellowtrace}





i’m jealous of defne tesal

Pastel icebergs floating in a flat, muted sea of embroidery thread… sigh. This is the lovely work of Istanbul based artist Defne Tesal, from her contemporary embroidery series, “Sea”. I would love to be adrift on this hand-stitched water, although the pieces in her “Along the Road” series might bring me paddling back to dry land:

Love.





i’m jealous of stephanie k. clark



Houses, trailers, AND embroidery thread. Say no more. I’m in. Speaking of “in”, yes, I’d like to live in that A-frame …  but I don’t want to play favorites … I love all of these homes {most of which are from a series titled “Dwellings”} by American artist Stephanie K. Clark. Oh, oh! But wait  - we can’t leave out this sweet little piece that she made for a baby girl’s nursery:

Yep. A great white shark themed nursery. Kinda awesome.

{Thanks to her lovely/supportive sister, Staci, for sending me a link to Stephanie’s work!}





i’m jealous of hannah stephenson

Ah, poetry & art… a perfect combination! This is a beautiful book of poetry, written by American poet Hannah Stephenson. She is an amazing writer/editor/teacher, with a great love for visual art. In fact, a lot of her poems are inspired by art… sometimes even work that she finds here! For example, after seeing the ceramics of Caroline Slotte, Hannah wrote this:

Great Migration

Patterns on china have begun

to show evidence of a great migration.

Waves roll out to a plate’s edges,

drop off, are absorbed into carpet.

In the stock-still water, feeling no wind,

cranes panic and launch, beat their wings

with such force that nearby villagers

mistake them for dragons.

Smaller birds leave their nests in the trees,

head for the dark, unporcelain woods.

Lovers no longer come here

to sit on the grass together,

discovering speechless ways to speak.

They stay away from this place.

The land here isn’t fed by any source.

Parents shield their children’s eyes,

pull them close when passing the pond.

Someone should do something, they mutter

and leave the land to its calm disintegration.

Whoa. Her newly released book, In the Kettle, The Shriek, is filled with beautiful poem after beautiful poem… but I also wanted to share something that isn’t in this book. Now, you know I realllllly don’t like showing my own work, but… last year I had a show at Seattle’s Assemble Gallery. Hannah saw one of the pieces, wrote a poem, and sent it to me. I almost cried. I could not be more honored… and I love the poem so, so, so much… I love it so much in fact, that I’ll even show you my work that went with it, titled “Jeremy Brown jumped over this at a bush party.”

Living Daylights

To find that part of me
still flickering,

to chew and exhale flames,
a dragon with a mouth
crammed with Bazooka Joe,

to use my heart
as a flashlight,

to meet my ghost
as a dance partner,
spinning away from me,
and back toward me,

to sift out the glowing shards
with unshaking hands
and swallow them back down,

to greet my fiery shadow,
saying, here is our bed,
our mirror, we can learn
one another again.

LOVE! Thank you so much to Hannah for this amazingly creative gift. Ok, now let’s all go buy this book : )

{cover art by Aron Wiesenfeld}





sneak peek: art show at the fig house

Oh, you guys. This is gonna be good!

So, just to refresh your memory: I’ve been asked, by the lovely Emily Henderson, to curate a show in LA at The Fig House, a new event space that Emily is designing/styling. I received zillions {literally} of submissions and I want to thank you all so much for that! Now, I’d like to say that made my job easier, but it really just made everything a whole lot harder… there was sooooooo much fantastic work to choose from, and I had the tricky task of getting it down to TEN ARTISTS! Impossible? It felt like it a few times. Well, after much back and forth, I’ve got a truly amazing group lined up. Yes, there was really great work by lots of people, but this came down to finding pieces that will work well together, and work well in the space that Emily is creating {art deco meets the 80’s. For real, people.}.

Here is a little taste of what will be on the walls when The Fig House opens this fall:

YAY – I love it all! As soon as I know the exact date of the opening party, I’ll let you know. See you soon, LA!

{1.(and right *) Stephanie Vovas 2. Kai Samuels Davis 3. Jaime Derringer 4.Ellen Heck 5. Clare Elsaesser 6.(and left *) Emily Rickard 7. Max Wanger 8. Nike Schroeder 9. Amy Wilson Faville 10. Zoe Pawlak}