Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Embroidery workshops in the new year - get your stitch on!

Hustle in the new year with some creative workshops. 
Here are some embroidery classes perfect for beginners and more experienced stitchers: 

1) Course: The Embroidered Art Journal 10/SP-PMDA-104-01

When: five, 3-hour class sessions on Sundays from 10am - 1pm - 

January 31 - February 28

Where: Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies in Manhattan

For full course listing: Click here

To register: OR OR call 212-647-7199 and register with a credit card M-Th 10am-6pm; F 10am-2pm

This class is offered again in the spring on Wednesdays, April 21 - May 19, 6:30-9:30pm–10/SP-104-02.

2) Extraordinary Embroidery - 3-hour workshop

When: Saturday, January 9th from 1-4pm

Where: 3rd Ward in Williamsburg - 573 Metropolitan Avenue, just steps from the L/G train stop to Lorimer/Metropolitan

To register and for more info: Click here

3. Course: Extraordinary Embroidery - 3-hour workshop

When: Saturday, February 13th, 11am-2pm

Where: 3rd Ward in Williamsburg - 573 Metropolitan Avenue, just steps from the L/G train stop to Lorimer/Metropolitan

To register and for more info: Click here

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My disappearing maps

The image at left is of my latest map, a tribute to my first treadmill run of 2009. Running on the treadmill can be immensely boring. I try to placate myself by listening to my ipod. I never listen to music on my outdoor runs. I like street noises, and I feel as though I need to use my ears to pay attention to traffic - cars and pedestrians I may not be able to see.

Anyway, this map says:

"1st treadmill run, winter 09

Music as landscape:

Can you see anything?
We are not your friends
You are a knife
I brought the bbq

Of course, these were not the only songs I listened to that day, but they are the ones I remember.

I am sad to say that the map I posted less than one week ago is gone! Who is removing my maps? I am very troubled by their disappearance. I think it is not neighborly to take them down. At the moment, the two bulletin boards are largely empty. There are two laminated signs offering a hefty reward for a dog that's been missing since October. I hope the owner finds the dog, and also that he or she is not taken advantage of in the process.

I am still working on alternative venues for my maps...I will let you know what I come up with.

Friday, December 25, 2009

In love 4ever

"you and me in love 4ever"

"He treats 
women like 
he can interchange."

New "post-its," sweet and savory

"Oh, you play me so well, I'm always three steps back, a cat chasing my tail, trying to guess at your latest transgression, when all I want is to love you and only you."

Your game is the gift that keeps me tied to you. (This is fictitious, don't worry, readers.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mapping my run on the snowy banks

Much to my disappointment, I have not been able to run outside for the past two days. The first snow of the season left the streets slushy, icy, and wet, with huge banks of snow on the corners. I actually ran on the treadmill, which is a poor substitute for an outdoor run.

To honor my love of running while the sun rises, I posted this map yesterday morning on the Boerum Hill bulletin board. As you can tell, it was not yet light out. 

I was disappointed to discover that my two previous maps had been removed. Where did they go? Who took them?

I need to find a more permanent space for my maps. I am working on reaching out to arts organizations that help artists produce public projects. I applied for a slot to talk to some of the administrators of Creative Time, a NYC-based non-profit that produces public art projects. The next one-on-one artist counseling sessions are being held at PS1 in January. I have no idea what my chances are of being picked for a meeting, but I am excited about the possibility.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Quickest Path

"I'll take the quickest path to loving you."

I seem to be on a very slow path to finding someone to love. I used to feel more of a sense of urgency about this in my late 20s. 

Now, I'm all tied up in dreaming of how to make my living as an embroiderer/embroidery workshops teacher. Every day, I do feel closer to this, and as if I am on the right path.

One current business idea: "Hope for the love-torn" - 
Custom embroideries of your perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/etc.

You supply a written description, I will create a preliminary sketch for us to review, which I will then translate into an embroidery.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Your Place

"I carry you with me everywhere.
You will always have a place inside me."

Be My Home

"I've scoured the City for someone who feels like home.

Now, you're standing right in front me of, yet you're out of reach. 

Darling, come down from the heights of my imagination and be my home."

Some day, my relationship-related wishes will be more than conjecture and fantasy, and I will have a reasonable semblance of the love I've always dreamed of. The question remains as to whether this will be with someone I already know, or someone I've yet to meet. I can't wait to find out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Disappearing Man Makes More of an Appearance

The disappearing man is coming into view, becoming better defined, more present. I am loving working with the image...As soon as I get down to his feet, I will add in the text.

He is my dream of the love I want...although my dream definitely includes someone who is present and available the majority of the time (we all need some time away sometimes).

Long live the French knot!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My love overflows

This weekend was the holiday gift fair at the Center for Book Arts, a wonderful laboratory focusing on artist books located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. I met some artists who run their own presses, and saw some great work. I also had the opportunity to share my work with many enthusiastic visitors. Thanks to everyone who came out, signed my mailing list, purchased a little something, and expressed interest in my work.

I also woke up super early this morning with phrases running through my head, asking to be embroidered. This newest piece says:
"I'm brimming over with love for you. My desire overflows." 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Standing right in front of me, yet out of reach

This piece in progress is of a "disappearing" man. 

It will say something like the following:
"I have scoured the city for someone who feels like home. Now, you're standing right in front of me, yet still out of reach."

The love and partnership I want still eludes me...My primary relationship is with my art, and all it encompasses -- teaching, constant stitching, updating my blog, scribbling ideas on the back of receipts, text messaging myself when inspiration strikes...

Let love come to me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Results of BECA Art Auction

Thanks so much to Andrew Thornton, friend and fellow artist, who placed the winning bid on my piece for the BECA (Bridge for Emerging Contemporary Art) Art Auction. Andrew, I appreciate your generosity and kindness, and BECA, here is wishing you ongoing success in your mission to support and present the work of challenging emerging artists! 

I encourage you all to check out Andrew's blog, and to visit BECA's web site and learn more about their programming and ways to become involved!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Art Fairs

It's holiday season, and in addition to food binges and parties, it's time for Holiday art exhibits and fairs. Here are some places where you can catch my artwork, including pieces like the one at left:

1. Shop Art Holiday Group Show - December 2-31
51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY
F/G train to Bergen

2. Center for Book Arts 2009 Holiday Gift Fair - 
Friday 12/11-Saturday 12/12
The Center for Book Arts
28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor

Friday night is a preview party with $10 admission. I have a few tickets, so if you're interested in music, food, and great book arts, please contact me.

Friday 12/11 6-9pm
Saturday 12 noon - 7pm FREE admission

3. My Etsy shop! That's right. Some finds on good, old Etsy:

Happy holidays to all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Waiting for us

"A great love is waiting for us."

I spent most of Thanksgiving weekend working on this piece. The fabric is a lace handkerchief, a gift from my friend, Lynn, an artist who makes paper pulp sculptures, and ink drawings. 

I plan to stretch this fabric onto a backing, or possibly attach it to something stiffer to help shape it. 

Maybe there is something to the irregularity, though?

BECA Benefit Art Auction

My friends, Melissa and Kurt, spearheaded an important new art space in New Orleans several years ago, BECA, or Bridge for Emerging Contemporary Art.

Right now, Kurt and Melissa are expanding their programming to offer even more opportunities for exposure to young artists. They are also facing a challenge: they need to raise funds to save their original gallery space in New Orleans.

I am participating, along with a number of other artists, in BECA's Benefit Art Auction. The piece at top is what I have donated. 

If you have the time and would like to check out some interesting work, and even make a bid, please visit BECA and the art auction online.

Mapping My Run, Hoyt Street and Atlantic

I noticed yesterday that the map I attached to the bulletin board on the corner of Hoyt Street and Atlantic Avenue has remained. Yay!

I have decided to continue to post my maps, one on top of one another, so that I will create a public diary of my runs. 

I will probably collect the maps within a few months, and bind them into a book, which I may try to exhibit. 

If you live in the neighborhood, keep an eye out for this bulletin board!

You Make Everything Sweeter...

There's just something about stitching on bananas that seems to interest me right now...

This one says, 
"You make everything sweeter."

Yesterday's banana stitchery is now being sold as a greeting card on my Etsy shop. Check it out here!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

OMG You are Sooo Sweet

"OMG you are so sweet"

Please send this image to someone you love. 

The banana's skin was perfectly soft and resilient, easy to stitch on, yet sticky and somewhat wet. Yes, it was gross to hold onto this sticky banana peel, but I thought this was a funny idea.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Fire

I miss how it feels to get chills when you walk into the room...I miss how I used to burn for you.

Hoyt Street and Atlantic Avenue

This map is on a bulletin board on the corner of Hoyt Street and Atlantic Avenue. 

Before posting it, I got into a conversation with a neighbor, who was prying old staples off the bulletin boards.

I described my project to him, and as a former runner, he seemed sympathetic. He also told me that an artist is planning to plant corn on a patch of land in the neighborhood. The corn is a native strain. That should be interesting to keep an eye out for.

Left Behind on My Run, installment 2, Bergen-Court Sts

I decided to approach my "Left Behind on My Run" project from a slightly different angle. I am now selecting and searching for publicly-accessible bulletin boards along my running route. 

The picture at left is a map I placed at the intersection of Bergen and Court Streets. I wonder how long it will live in this space, and if it will generate interest?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love Stains

Last night was my gallery talk at Shop Art Gallery. We had a great turnout, and an engaging audience. Many thanks to friends, neighbors, fellow artists, and new faces who came out in the rain, and stood and listened to me share about why and how I make my work.

I had the opportunity to share some new pieces, including the one at left, "Love Carpet." It reads:

"It can be hard to remove the stain of an old love. No matter how many miles I run, or men I meet, your memory stays, carpeting my apartment."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Artist Talk Thursday night at Shop Art

For those of you in the New York area, I am giving a gallery talk this Thursday night at Shop Art Gallery in Brooklyn. My work is on exhibit there in a 4-person show, "Visual Vernacular," through November 29th. The gallerist, Muriel Guepin, kindly invited me to talk about the process and inspiration behind my work.

My brief talk will be followed by Q and A, so get your questions ready! I like a challenge.

Thursday, 11/19, 7-8pm at Shop Art.
51 Bergen Street, F/G train to Bergen Street station.
Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mapping my runs

Since initiating "Left Behind on My Run," I have realized how much I enjoy hand-stitching a map. I get to re-experience the run, and to share it with others.

After installing the first round, I was happy to see that my pieces lived on for nearly a week.

They were taken down, probably not by pedestrians, but by the Department of Sanitation. I called 311 to try to find out if I could obtain a permit to post art publicly without the risk of a fine or having it taken down.

Neither the person I spoke with at the hotline, nor the internet research I did led me to the precise information I want.

The Department of Transportation has three programs to which non-profits can apply with an artist to do a specific project. This is not quite what I'm looking for.

What I really want is to be able to post my maps and emotional quips on the streets of the neighborhoods I traverse regularly. These streets and my runs are as much a part of my emotional landscape as the dates I've been on. When I run, all of these parts of my life seem to collide.

In the meantime, I plan to keep making maps, which I will assemble into a book. I have discovered that I really enjoy stitching on plastic. I like the semi-transparent quality, and the versatility and surprising strength of the material.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The first installment of Left Behind on My Run, Monday, 11/9/2009

At left: Boerum Place and Pacific Street, the start of my run. A bleak corner across from New York Sports Club Cobble Hill. Lots of construction on the block.

At right: Atlantic Ave and Boerum Place, turning the corner and ramping uphill.

The run continues...what I left behind, part II

Corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court...Lots of pedestrian traffic.

"In my mind, we're heading
towards marriage. He doesn't
know it yet, but he will."

Left Behind on My Run, heading down Court Street

"You tie me into knots,
and I'm not ready
to be tied down."

Intersection of Court Street and West 9th. Lots of bicycles road past as I posted this.

From Court and 9th to 3rd Avenue

Corner of 9th Street and 3rd Avenue. I posted this right next to a bus stop, hoping passengers waiting for the bus would be amused by it.

"When you're around, I want to crawl
inside you and never leave."

Left behind on my run: Third Avenue and Third Street

Third Street is a great block to run on. It's quite hilly, and also traverses the Gowanus Canal. I particularly like this part of Brooklyn.

"With each step,
I feel
our connection renew."

This is a map of another one of my running routes.

Left Behind on My Run - Smith Street and Third Street

This is where I left my final sign this evening. I had intended to leave more, but somehow lost my packing tape!! 

"I still hope he'll change."

If people do read these, and I very much hope they do, maybe these pieces will inspire more affection among couples, and a great leap forward towards secret crushes...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When You're Around

I don't actually have a cat, but some close friends of mine do, and he's sick. He's so proud that he continues to have a sleek, shiny, black coat, even though he is getting skinnier. 

I keep wondering if we can love the cat enough to talk it out of its illness?

I once fell for someone with several chronic injuries. Every time he talked about them I wished I could take away his pain. 

Just like I wish we could talk the cat into being healthy. And I wish I could have coaxed my grandmother out of her illness before she died.

"Food tastes better, trains run on time, even my cat's coat looks shinier when you're around."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Left behind on my run

As many of you know, I am an avid runner. While running, I think about all kinds of things. Sometimes I count the number of blocks left on my route, sometimes I make a mental list of everything I need to do at work that day, and, quite often, I have a realization about how I feel about someone in my life at that moment. 

The map at left is one of my running routes through Boerum Hill-Carroll Gardens-Gowanus-Park Slope. I tend to pick hillier paths so I can increase resistance. I seem to like slogging through the difficult parts to get to my running high.

Is the same true of my relationships?

My plan is to install some of my "post-its" along my running route. These will be stitched on pieces of plastic bags. I feel as though I have accumulated a lot of dating experiences, and it's time to let go of a lot of ideas and memories. Similarly, I seem to accumulate plastic shopping bags. I can reuse them if I want, but ultimately, they are disposable. In today's dating culture, I feel as if relationships are disposable. We are "shopping for perfection," and can always replace a current love interest with someone "better."

The piece at left says, "What I left behind on my run: thoughts of you and my relationships, current and swollen with memory."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Towards Bliss

Can desire for another person light us up from inside and give us a sense of purpose?

Does the desire need to be mutual to be so potent?

I realized on one of several train rides this weekend that many of my relationships have been a monologue. I think I held on to my sense of what could develop, rather than what was necessarily present. And in one relationship in particular, I felt an underlying anxiety that my boyfriend would disappear. Ultimately, he did leave in a way that felt like complete abandonment.

At this specific moment, I have no desire to date. I am bored by the dynamics of dating, and I am tired of being on uncertain ground. I am tired of waiting for something to develop.

I have always hoped I could become very good friends with a man and have the relationship transition to being romantic within a period of a few months of getting to know each other.

Readers, I will share this with you when it happens, I promise. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My idea of romance

I hope this one gets a few laughs, although, I really do feel this way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dream with you

My dream is to quit my design job, and start my own business. When I say I want my own business, what I mean is that I want to be my own brand: IvivaEmbroiders, Iviva Fiber Artist, Iviva Olenick, etc. 

Right now, I feel as though I have three jobs: a full-time job as a designer for a menswear company; an artist; and an embroidery workshops teacher. I love everything I do, but I am always thinking about my other jobs when I am engaged in one of them. This causes me stress. I don't feel satisfied. I feel as if I cannot give everything of myself in any one situation, and I am constantly drained and frustrated. It isn't fair to me, or my students, that I feel this way.

I need to make a change, and am working towards being my own boss.

Thank you to the friends and family members who believe in my work. Thank you to the friends I feel comfortable enough with to share my hopes and ideas.

He Left Me Standing

In my late twenties, a year out of a relationship, I met someone who absolutely captivated me. He was a writer, and was lustful, imaginative, and emotionally unstable. 

Our dating relationship was brief. He both pulled me in and pushed me away. He said one thing and did another. It was a classically bad situation, a waste of my energy, and a waste of an otherwise brilliant guy.

"I wanted him to spend the night. He grabbed my shoulders and said, "In you is everything you need to be happy," and left me standing alone in the doorway.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thanks, Andrew!

In 2005, I spent a month in a studio program at the School of Visual Arts. Since I never actually went to art school, this experience helped give me insight into peer reviews as well as critiques from professional artists.

I ended up meeting some terrific friends who continue to be a part of my artist network. Andrew Thornton was in the same cohort as me. Since we met, he has been an unofficial press agent for me, promoting my artwork and exhibits on his blog. I can't thank you enough, Andrew, for your support and encouragement and generosity.

I learned recently that Andrew is about to leave New York for a new adventure. In an email he described to me his relationship with New York, and I instantly fell in love with what he'd written:

"My relationship with New York is like an abusive one... it beats me up, takes all my money, and I run away vowing never to return... but oddly enough come crawling back, begging for more."

Andrew, this piece here is for you. Thanks so much!

Friday, October 16, 2009

You Were My Marathon

I've been running since I was fourteen and joined my high school's track team. 20 years later, running has taken on new meaning for me. I love it. I dream about it. Everything feels heightened when I run  - thoughts, sensations, memories. I especially love a challenge: wind, rain, difficult terrain.

Last spring, I went into a running craze. I was gradually increasing mileage, and my runs were primarily on hilly areas and on broken sidewalks. I had to dodge dogs, bikes, construction, broken glass, ambling pedestrians.

Around the time my runs deepened, I also had to extricate myself from someone I really loved. To this day, I know for certain he does not get how I was feeling. I finally figured this out recently. My devotion to running was somehow tied to my devotion to the idea of him. I know the two were connected.

Now, it's finally cool enough for running to feel right again. My body has healed from a torn muscle, a tiny muscle that connects the pelvis to the thigh, and from some distress to my pelvic bone (if it sounds painful, it was -- I could barely sit for three months).

I have a different perspective on the man I was running to and from as well. 

When I meet other runners who say they've stopped running because of an injury, I tell them I've had injuries, too, and that a break from running is like a breakup from someone you love dearly and are used to being with nearly every day. I finally realize that my relationship with running is a marriage. I plan to be running as long as I can stand and walk. There may be periods that are more intense than others, years when I run farther and faster, in more difficult locales. But I will always run.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Your Ghost

Sometimes, my fantasies of a person are as vivid as a relationship. I wonder sometimes if this prevents me from moving on once a relationship has changed or ended? 

I also know from painful experience that each person experiences a relationship differently. It astounds me that people can stay together for years, like my parents, who are about to hit their 40th anniversary. There must be enough overlap in their perceptions of their daily lives and their deeper spiritual connection for it to work. I have never experienced that, and still feel puzzled by most of my dating experiences. I sometimes feel as if there is no one on the other end. I wonder if this will ever change. I still struggle with feeling like my perceptions of given situations are far from what the man on the other side is experiencing. Does this mean I am too imaginative? Or have I simply met many single yet unavailable men?

Piece at top left: I wear your memories and dance with your ghost.