Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tonight @ 6:30PM!!

At the risk of being redundant, I am pleased, nervous, and excited to announce that tonight I will be giving a behind-the-scenes look at the embroidered component of "Were I So Besotted" at an artist talk at the Center for Book Arts, coinciding with "Threads: Interweaving Textu[r]al Meaning."

"Threads" is up through September 12, so if you are in the New York area, please check it out! It is an unusual compilation of fiber-related book art. Text and thread collide to reinvent book arts and fiber art. 

Those of you who read my blog are part of the Were I So Besotted journey. This event will formalize what I do in my blog. Think of it as the "live" or "real-time" version of this blog.

More details about the talk:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I feel like a tooth on a thread

"I feel like a tooth on a thread." 2009. embroidery on fabric. 7.25" X 1.35".

Actually, I feel great. 

Sometimes, my materials inspire a phrase, which begs to be embroidered. In this case, I had a scrap of fabric with a lace border. It looked to me like a tooth dangling from a thread. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Richard Alwyn Fisher, guest blogger

"If we can fall for each other Perfect," a guest blog post by Richard Alwyn Fisher.

“If we can fall for each other’s ‘perfect’ self, we may become more perfect” is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in a long time

and it made me think of a line I’ve been working on:

He kept staring at her eyes as if within them

he could see the map to how perfect his life would become.


Good old perfect

what a thing to think about, yeah?
a target, a ghost
a will-o-wisp.

There’s a line in a song by Matthew Sweet that goes:

‘I didn’t think I’d find you perfect in so many ways’
that I have always in my mind punctuated
‘I didn’t think I’d find you, Perfect, in so many ways
and I’ve been waiting
and I want to
have you’

It’s a funny thing, Perfect, always striving for it

chasing after it

living up to it
using it to make the good feel second rate.

And the search for love is where old perfect seems to cause the most troubles.

Maybe you’ve been told you’re looking for a tailor fit in an off-the-rack world,
or maybe you think you’ve had Perfect
perfect except for it lasting.

I have a friend who tells me, “Perfect will not come without all sorts of adjustments needed.”  And she, for one, likes the project, likes taking them off the rack and trying to make the fit a fit.  But then she also admits to more than once trying to force an arm down a sleeve, hearing a tear and trying to sneak the bewildered garment back onto the shelf, thinking no real damage done, hoping no one will notice, but it always notices, doesn’t it, and now it’s even less perfect.

In so many late night teary conversations where one tries to convince another of the perfection they’re so close to, the arguments are always false, circular, negated by the fact that an argument has to be mounted in defense of it all anyway; like a shady tailor trying to pass off his shoddy craftsmanship, he pulls on the back “Fit’s in the front,” pulls on the front, “Fit’s in the back.” 

She claims to have never sought the perfect ones, only to make something about him or something about herself or the two of them together or some small part of the experience into a bit of perfection.  And maybe it’s that bit that can shine in the half-light of the argument’s morning after and light the way for two seekers of their own little perfects.  Or maybe it’s a shadow of something she just thought she saw, like the afterburn of the sun on her retina, blinding her in an otherwise well lit room.

“But the idea of something that requires no alternations, no changes,” she says, “that’s almost like some 1870s ideal of a soul mate.”  But maybe it’s an even more ancient, more stylized idealism that’s a better parallel.

The Imitation of Christ holds out Christ and the saints as perfection, and gives the reader directions for a striving toward this always.  “If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect.”  Soon?  Really?  Perhaps the readers of such a book are much closer to perfection that I am.  At least for certain they have a greater amount of patience.  One vice a year, and you’ve got to have at least, let’s say nine vices, that’s nine years, at the inside.  “You say it’s going to happen soon, well, when exactly do you mean?” to paraphrase another crooner from my youth who’s probably struggled a bit with the whole perfect question.  I’ve always taken my solace and thus guidance in the fact that while no one can ever be truly perfect, it is still worth reaching for.  That self-improvement is never wasted time. 

But being perfect and having something perfect, finding Perfect, in so many ways, are very different things.  The Imitation gives us another quote “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing,” and it reminds me of an interview I transcribed with a scientist who studied butterflies—actually he studied what he called superstimulants and had done an experiment on butterflies.  So there is this species of butterflies who choose their mates basically by watching the speed at which they flap their wings.  It’s not a difficult evolutionary rubric to figure out:  The butterflies who flapped their wings more often were healthier, would yield healthier offspring, and as such make more attractive mates.  So what the scientists did is they created a superstimulant, a little mechanical butterfly that could flap its wings faster than any real butterfly possibly could, and put it out among the population.  Well, it was a sensation.  All the butterflies wanted to mate with this mechanical butterfly and even after they figured out that they could not (if a butterfly actually has the capacity to ‘figure out’ something), they were less interested in mating with the real butterflies because they had been so superstimulated by this fake-ass butterfly.  Conceivably an entire generation of butterflies was wiped out or at least came to regard their eventual mates in comparison as subpar underachievers.  Things start getting rough around the butterfly household and the inevitable is brought up, “Oh, sure, you’re real and everything, but you should have seen what I could have had, wings flapping like you wouldn’t believe, my life could have been perfect if not for you.” 

“If you would persevere in seeking perfection,

you must consider yourself a pilgrim, an exile on earth.”
And perhaps this is what we are and will always remain, pilgrims, seekers, exiles, unable to find this elusive perfection and unwilling to settle for anything less.
  And yet, moth-like true believers that we are in the Perfect, we go back to the flickering sites of internet dating, the candles between cocktails, the fix-up, the dinner party, the singles social, and each time we meet someone new we look for those shimmering signs of perfection, how their wings beat faster than we’d ever imagined possible, how we start to beat our wings faster than we’d ever imagined we could and how good it feels when we do.  And maybe that’s what that feeling of early love really is, the excitement, the sense of floating and then also of a finding a home deeper than you’ve ever had before, that you’re freer and safer, that you know you are moving toward something that will help you to become more perfect.

Without reason

I loved you without reason, 
as if there is any other way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tourists and Visitors

The men I've dated have all been tourists in my life: visitors to New York; visitors to art viewing and art making; and visitors to the rigors of daily exercise. There have been sleep-overs and late-night walks home, but not a single one has moved in.

I am looking for the man who will be a cohabitant, not a visitor. I am looking for a true partnership, and I have yet to find it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 29 Artist Talk at Center for Book Arts

Hello friends, fellow bloggers, and blog readers. I am excited to say that I will be participating in an artist talk at the Center for Book Arts in conjunction with "Threads: Interweaving Textu[r]al Meaning." The show, which opened on July 8, is up through September 12. It is a lovely survey of unconventional artist books incorporating thread. Embroidery, quilting, crochet, and weaving are just a few of the techniques employed by the many artists.

Here is some info about the show, and the artist talk:
Center for Book Arts
28 W 27th St, 3rd Floor
between 5-6 Aves
1 train to 28th; F/V to 23rd; N/R to 28th

Artist talk:
Wednesday, JULY 29, 6:30pm
More details to come

This year's Artist Members Exhibition brings together current members of the Center's artistic community and invited artists who use actual thread as a design element to convey both content and form. Artworks featured in this exhibition represent a broad range of book and related arts, including prints, books, sculptures, and multi-media installation.
Participating artists include: Jen Bervin, Inge Bruggeman, Macy Chadwick & Lisa Hasegawa, Rosemarie Chiarlone, Patricia Dahlman, Andrea Dezs√∂, Ipek Duben, Tiffany Dugan, Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, Dianna Frid, Ximena Perez Grobet, Tanya Hartman, Candace Hicks, Yoko Inoue, Vandana Jain, Heather Johnson, Andr√© Lee, China Marks, Pamela Matsuda-Dunn, Heidi Neilson & Chris Petrone, Tara O'Brien, Iviva Olenick, Yani Pecanins, Catya Plate, John Risseeuw, Donna Ruff, Meda Rives & Veda Rives, Stephen Sidelinger, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Edyth Skinner, Tamar Stone, Dana Velan, Elise Wiener, and Anne Wilson & Shawn Decker. 

Organized by: Lois Morrison, Artist and Independent Curator; and Alexander Campos, Executive Director of The Center for Book Arts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You wanted, I wanted

You wanted to reserve space inside my body. 
I wanted to crawl into a warm space I thought existed in you,
and later found empty.
So I have dismantled the past
to make my future free from you.

How do you end a relationship with someone that is personal and unsatisfying, and also involves a business collaboration? How do you walk away when there are so many threads strung in between you? 

It's time to yank at the threads, which have loosened over time, so that I am not longer tethered.

I am no longer tethered.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

And the scraps keep coming

"I poured everything I had into you, and you were still empty." 2009. Embroidery on interconnected scraps of antique lace.

Sitting in Battery Park today with my brother, we listened to the River-to-River concert featuring Jenny Lewis, one of my favorite musicians. It was a beautiful day after weeks and months of rain. 

I brought along my art kit—needles, threads, and the piece of antique lace that I am now cutting into small scraps. It was the perfect setting to get some work done.

This piece is about the frustration I feel when my faith in someone I love dissolves. There is the loss of a relationship, and also the loss of belief in the other person, which can be equally painful and disappointing. In this case, it's not particularly that the person was empty, but that the love I wanted was unattainable. The relationship did not meet my needs, and I began to feel empty. 

But there is a night ahead of me in which anything can happen.

Happy July 4th to everyone!

Taking it Apart - What my process teaches me

The more art I make, the more my process teaches me about my work. 

My last two posts have focused on using a beautiful piece of antique, Irish lace for my "post-it note" pieces—my textual pieces on scraps of fabric. As I chose discrete sections of this lace for each textual excerpt, I began to realize that my post-it-note pieces are powerful partly because they are on rough-edged fabric scraps. They are small, a little raw, and therefore intimate. Sometimes I hem the edges of these pieces, and often I don't. The rough edges seem consistent with the experiences I describe.

So I decided to extract each textual snippet from the antique lace. As I cut, I feel as if I am betraying the fabric, yet I am setting my work apart.

Piece at left:
"My relationships are nutritionally deprived. It started with my recession boyfriend." 2009. Embroidery on snippet of antique lace.