15 July 2014

wichita - part 1

hello hello.

i am here. i have been SUPER busy. pics of the 1000 doily install to come - i promise. if you want to see what i've been posting in terms of process... click here

tomorrow i'll be taking some install shots of the exhibition - and i'm hoping to get the video surveillance footage of all 4 days of install... i can't wait to see that myself actually. in the meantime... i'll show you where i'm staying.

fisch haus - it's an artist run/artist built space. and if you had asked what me what an artist loft should look like when i was 16 years old... i'd say this space. it's a thrill to live here while i'm in wichita [but truth be told i won't miss dragging 7 bags of groceries up 2.5 flights of tall stairs].

the heart of the loft is the kitchen. and they are chefs. lots of knives. 

off the kitchen is what i'm calling the library. 

the very comfy living room area

this is patrick duegaw's studio. his wife elizabeth stevenson is also an artist/architect.

there is an amazing sun porch with a roll up door that opens out. from here you can see downtown. it faces west so the sunsets are pretty nice too. 

i love how they've used reclaimed windows and doors throughout the space. 

but my favorite space just might be the bathroom. because the tub is elevated and you can see the whole other area of the living space from it. 

you can tell that they have spent a lot of blood sweat and tears making the space into what it is. it's great too because everyone in town asks where i'm staying and they all seem to know or have heard about this space.

more soon. 

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

27 June 2014

toto we're going to kansas

if you are on my mailing list you've already heard the news... i'm spending the summer in KANSAS. wichita to be exact. i'm going to be the Ulrich Museum's very first artist in residence - they are calling me the ulrich underground artist in residence

all the doilies and knots that you all have been contributing are going there and i'll be working on two pieces that incorporate them. at least that is my hope. i'm super grateful for this opportunity. time and space to play. the curator sees this residency as a means for the public to see an artist's process [i'll be like a zoo animal. here we have an artist in their native environment!]

but i'm also excited because i'll be staying in a loft which means there is enough space for the little [and my amazing parents] to join me. 

funny thing is that the little has been pretty into the wizard of oz lately and she turned to me one day and said "mama - i want to go to kansas". i grinned from ear to ear when i said well it's your lucky day. we are going to kansas this summer. 

if anyone has any must have things to do in the area - please let me know !
or if you live around there come see what i'm up to at the museum.

the last few weeks i've been busy trying to figure out what supplies i need to take. aren't these color dictionaries by tombow AMAZING. the japanese still RULE when it comes to packaging. 

and i've been working on drawings to complete while there [for my show in November at walter maciel gallery in los angeles]. this is how i sometimes figure out color palettes.

when i finish the actual drawing part of the pieces i go to match the colors i used with embroidery thread for phase 2. this is actually one of the most joyful parts of my process. i wish i could find a paying job that allowed me to do this all day.

oh ! when i get back i'll be teaching some classes around the bay area -
>> a hand applique class at britex fabric [yes the famous britex!] on august 16th. you can register here
>> a parent/kid embroidery class brushstrokes studio in berkeley [my kid will be with me!] on august 10th - they don't have an online registration for the class yet, but i'm sure you can call and ask about it. 
>> and i'm VERY excited about the classes i'm doing at kala particularly the artist packet class - two tuesdays in sept - 2nd and 9th. this is the first time i'll be teaching a small portion of my professional practice class OUTIDE of a university. i get asked about this all the time... so here we go. and also at kala an embroidered portrait/drawing class - dec. 6th [just in time for holiday gift giving]. 

and i'm obsessed with galettes now. made these for father's day. 

finally... i'm gong to restart look up and down for the month of july. 1. because i miss it. 2. because i'm going to be somewhere where the landscape is ENTIRELY different 3. because i want to document my time there and i can look back at my year of look up and down and actually remember the days in ways i can't w/out the visual/language clues. 

ok. back to organizing/packing and general excitement/freak out. 

19 June 2014

oh denver - part 2

i'm ashamed to admit i didn't know too much about the denver art scene before my trip.
but now. now i know that it's there. and not only there, but thriving. 

right down the street from fancy tiger  is gildar gallery. it's a beautiful store front space. and i really like adam's program/artists/vision. i didn't get a shot of his space because we were chatting and then he + friend had to run, but if you are in denver his space is definitely one NOT to miss. 

we also took a quick look at a couple spaces in riNo

first up a preview tour of nathan abel's show at hinterland - which was also a gorgeous space and has a very vigorous program. nathan's oil paintings are dreamy and lush. 

then we stopped in a helikon - which i knew a little bit about because they follow me [and me them] on instagram. they had a fiber show up that was interesting, but i really liked the whole set up. there are artist's studios and a cafe in the building and it felt like a very happy community. 

i really liked naomi scheck's work. layered, detailed, labored... what's not to like?

the denver art museum designed by Daniel Libeskind. it's really an amazing space. very disorienting at points [in the best possible way] some completely diagonal walls [i wonder how artists feel about their work hanging at a 45 degree angle]. but MAN is was hip. several really really good shows. including material world which was all about the use of non traditional materials and materiality.  

i particularly loved this david admao piece - those are tromp l'oeil erasers

like the deYoung museum in SF there are a lot of other kinds of exhibits throughout the space. above is risa experiencing african art with music. 

they have a lot of kid friendly projects too. i made a lace ruff out of paper. 

the exhibit on modern masters [from the albright/knox collection] was pretty stunning too. i sort of never tire of seeing all time favorites. 




so much so that in my sketchbook i decided to pretend to be some of the art gods. [with the captions i am no clyfford still, joan mitchell, frank stella, helen frankenthaller, philip guston and clearly no agnes martin].

do you keep a sketchbook? do you take notes when you travel? .....

the piece de resistance i think, though, is the clyfford still museum 

truth be told, i am not a giant still fan. he's good. he has his moments, but he and i do not have a long intense art affair. but his museum? it's amazing. 

just look at the ceiling ! and it is really great to see his works in conversation this way.

also because they have EVERYTHING from the estate there are cool peeks into conservation and storage and his tools too [drool]. 

and now... here are the pola's for you. these 4 are impossible project 680 film 

the fancy tiger ribbons on 600. [one of my last packs. insert sob here]. 

and the signage. oh the signage. so much good signage. 

13 June 2014

oh denver part 1

the denver airport is a modern wonder. you can't get in or out without riding a little tram. they also have made the outside to look like snowy mountain peaks. 

denver has really good summer cloud skies [and some thunderstorms]. 

denver also has really good vintage signs. especially along colfax. the above is technically NOT a bobs big boy - although you might think it is. it's a giovanni's pizza. see -he's holding a pizza pie.

i have some pola signs too [but that will be in my next post]. 

my hosts and friends risa and jordan were wonderful. their home is lovely and their kids are hilarious. if i'm ever in a car in denver again i will just have to imitate them [age almost 5 and 2+] "mommy - i see a castle" [which was really a church], and "mommy - are we on the highway? mommy are we on the lowway?" [you have to imagine little boy voices. on repeat. once one said it, the other had to say it. so funny]. 

jaime + amber of fancy tiger are also wonderful hosts ! they took me to crema for sweet potato waffles [WHAT?!] and excellent lattes. 

and the STORE. OH MY GOD. so freakin cute i could hardly stand it. and big. thank god i had only a tiny suitcase that almost nothing would fit in or i might have just bought the whole place. seriously. one stop craft shop heaven. 

and the neighborhood they are in? perfect.

wigs from boss vintage

plant goodness in ironwood

the surrounding neighborhood [known as baker] is also SO charming. lots of cute brick cottages and victorians. some painted candy colored. 

all up and down S. Broadway are good stores ! here's a good comprehensive list of where i went - with good pics.  

i also had pistachio ice cream from sweet action . the good thing about being away from home is that you walk. no guilt about eating extra rich food for a weekend.

my classes you ask? SO FUN. 

risa's embroidered necklace. 

kyra's photo turned into an embroidery. 

after my classes we went to a really excellent dinner at beatrice and woodsley - a high concept farm to table restaurant that had an amazing array of ros├ęs on their current menu.

they had a very cute wine tagging system. [mine was bubbly and delicious]. 

i also went to the source and had breafast at comida . and then oggled at all the adorable stores. 

it HAILED [and rained] one day. so we ended up staying mostly inside. and we checked out the weathervane. an adorable cafe. 

in another life i want to be a floral arranger and an interior designer. i want to put funky spaces like this together.... 

they had the cutest chairs outside.

in my next post i'll talk about all the ART that i saw in denver. there's some good good good spaces there.