Saturday, August 29, 2009

"I feel like a tooth on a thread" revamp

I posted this piece earlier, but it needed a revamp: the text was originally in orange thread, and was too light to read. I am happier with this new version.

August 29, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bloggers unite!

I just discovered a lovely and very unexpected blog post about my work written by Joetta Maue, a fellow Brooklyn embroiderer:

Thanks, Joetta. You can see her work online, and at Space 414 in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You're supposed to...

"help alleviate my chronic pain."
Embroidery on scrap of antique lace. 2009.
2.75" X 3.4".

Monday, August 17, 2009


Cleaning my apartment recently, I found this old piece. I must have made it about four years ago. At the time, I was starting to stitch excerpts from conversations, many from dates, onto fabric, but had not yet considered this the start of a more serious project. 

I like the idea of "reviving" work that has been sitting idle for so many years.

Monday, August 10, 2009

He Disappeared into a Whiskey Night

"Friday night at local bar, tall, dark-haired guy dropped napkin in my lap with partial sketch of me, then disappeared into a whiskey night still holding my sketch."

Piece at top left:
Ink and embroidery on bar napkin from Sample on Smith Street. 2009. Ink by Phil Lockerby; embroidery by Iviva Olenick.

Thanks to Phil Lockerby for introducing himself to me at Sample, and for giving me the idea and the napkin for this piece. (BTW-he still has the sketch.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Viva Iviva

My talk at the Center for Book Arts last week was wonderful. I felt part of a community of engaging, thoughtful, intelligent, accomplished artists, and am grateful to have been a part of it.

A conversation I had with one of the artists, Tamar Stone, has inspired the piece above left. Tamar makes miniature beds as books—the linens have embroidered text, often taken from historical documents about the domestic lives of women. After the formal presentation, she told me that when she and her husband got together, everything became easier. This idea has really stuck with me. In most of my romantic exchanges, I have felt as if I were doing most of the work, waiting for my efforts to be returned. As it says in the piece above, "I am tired of running uphill to meet you." Let's walk up together instead.

Piece above: Meet Me at the Hill, and We'll Walk Up Together. 2009. Embroidery on fabric. 

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Embroidered Art Journal -- My September class at Pratt

Well, the artist talk at the Center for Book Arts last week was fabulous. I was in wonderful company, and was impressed by the other artists' work, and their public speaking skills. I really felt as if it were a communal experience: there were common threads among our work. One of the audience members wrote a lovely review on her blog. You can check it out here. 

My next adventure will be teaching at Pratt this fall in the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies on West 14th Street in Manhattan. I encourage you to sign up! Unfortunately, the Pratt web site is down until August 18th, so if you'd like to register, call 212-647-7199. Here are the details:

The Embroidered Art Journal: Embroidery as Narration and Illustration

This introductory workshop on embroidery and artist books will begin with making a sampler of 12 embroidery stitches and learning some basics about how to work with different fibers and fabrics. Your instructor will work with you to develop concepts for an artist book that incorporates embroidery and other media. Emphasis will be on the creative process, and the application and use of new skills and materials. In addition to experimenting with embroidery, you will be asked to record information in visual and/or textual form during and in between each class. You can do this in any way you choose: by keeping a conventional sketchbook or diary; writing a blog; taking photographs; making paintings or sculptures; even recording notes in your iPhone or through emails or text messages. The goals of this course are to become comfortable with embroidery and fabric; practice engagement with your daily visual and social environment; develop a project from initial concept to artistic execution; and participate in a group environment where new artwork and ideas are created and shared.

Topics include: 

A vocabulary of embroidery stitches; the basics of fabrics and fiber materials; 

conventional and unconventional materials in embroidery;

transferring images and text onto fabric;

drawing and writing with embroidery;

text as a primary artistic medium; 

an introduction to book arts, including blogs.

Prerequisite: No previous experience with embroidery, sewing, or book arts needed.

• Section 1: W 6:30–9:30 PM

5 sessions Sept 2-30

Iviva Olenick

• Section 2: Su 9:30 AM–12:30 PM

5 Sessions Nov 15–Dec 20

Iviva Olenick

PMDA 104 1.5 C.E.U.s $195