Friday, December 31, 2010

FiberGraf Henster edited

I wasn't satisfied with the original version of this piece - I felt as though the composition was awkward and incoherent. I have added many more French knots, and bring you this final version of "FiberGraf Henster."

Monday, December 27, 2010

FiberGraf update

My FiberGraf partner, Jon Baker and I recently visited a beautiful book arts gallery in Dumbo, Central Booking. We met with artist/curator Maddy Rosenberg, who will be showing some of our work in 2011. Thanks, Maddy. We're excited about this new development.

At left is a new FiberGraf piece composed of Jon's marker on recycled envelopes, collaged together with my French knots.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Boyfriend sweater

These are the wise and witty words of my friend, Julie McKim, a Brooklyn based curator.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All I want...

Happy Thanksgiving, dear blog readers. Thank you for sharing my search for fulfillment.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Man in a Crowd moves forward (towards me)

I visited my gallerist today, and she selected some new work, including this piece, "The Man in the Crowd." She and I agreed I needed to visually distinguish one man. I love his tie. I love him (even though he is not the tallest man pictured, and I almost always pick the tallest man in the room).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The crowd grows

Still looking for that one special man in the crowd.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Standing Out in a Crowd

This is the start of a piece that will include a crowd, or at least a row, of men. The figures are actually quite small - around 4.25" tall and 1.25" wide.

"I am looking for the man who will stand out from the crowd."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here I am talking about my art again

In an earlier post, I talked about my one-night stand, or one-night exhibit with Salon Ciel. I was paired with photographer, Robert Gerhardt this past September. As part of the event, Robert and I gave an artist talk. I think you'll get a kick out of it. Click here to watch an edited version of our talk. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Your Hand

I know that the person for whom this is written will find me.

"Before you left, you held my hand
gently, briefly, and I could feel
everything I love about you
in your hand. I could feel all of you."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Salon Ciel, Wednesday, 9/22

Last Wednesday night, I participated in a two-person, one-night exhibit through an organization called Salon Ciel. The show was held in the private home of the event coordinator. It was a stormy night, and my friends enjoyed watching lightning from the balcony, which has amazing views of New York City, while I hugged people I hadn't seen in months and maybe even years.

Thanks to Rob Gerhardt, the photographer who shared the exhibit with me; Lyndsey Beutin, the Salon Ciel curator who organized the event; and David Rheingold, the host. 

Thanks also to all of my dear friends who shared the evening with me and made it truly successful. I love you all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thanks, Andrew Thornton and Lark Crafts

I was very happy to learn this morning that I am mentioned in a blog post/interview about Andrew Thornton conducted by Lark Crafts. Thanks to the publisher, Ray Hemachandra, Team Lead, Lark Jewelry & Beading, Lark Crafts / Sterling Publishing Inc., for letting me know.

And many thanks to Andrew for including my name amongst those who have inspired him.

To read the post, click here.

To find out more about Andrew, visit his blog.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Treehouse

"Since we've started hanging out, it feels like we've built our own treehouse. I can't wait for the branches to lengthen and intertwine. Our treehouse will grow bigger, more loving."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

OMG I love him!

In this piece, I play myself at 15 talking to myself at 15. The conversation is not entirely different from ones I have with myself now. The irony of being 35 is that at heart I'm still 15 and the beginning stages of love feel the same in some ways although also radically different.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Embroidery workshops at Pratt - sign up now for September!

You know you want to embroider with me...

Want to learn how to embroider? Know how to embroider and want to take it to the next level?

Sign up for one of these classes at Pratt Manhattan, 144 West 14th Street, near 7th Avenue:

1. The Embroidered Art Journal

5 weeks, 15 total hours - $ 195

****Section one (PMDA-104-01): Thursdays, September 16th - October 14th, 6:30-9:30 OR

Section two (PMDA-104-02): Fridays, November 5 - December 10, 6:30-9:30

After mastering a glossary of 12-15 stitches, I will work with each student to create a project that fuses book arts and embroidery. Mixed media, inter-disciplinary projects are encouraged. In addition to hands-on demonstrations, I will show images of artwork by contemporary book artists and fiber artists.

For more info:

To register: OR 212-647-7199

2. Crafting Stories Through FIber, PMDA-107-01

8 weeks - Sundays, 1-4pm, September 26th - November 14th; $305

Everyone has a story to tell, a favorite anecdote they like repeating, or a message they have always wanted to share with a loved one. This class will give you tools for expressing these sentiments through embroidery, fabric, and fiber arts, and is perfect for beginners, as well as more experienced embroiderers, artists, and craftspeople. The class will begin by making a stitch sampler of 12_15 stitches, exploring conventional and unconventional materials for embroidery, and experimenting with fabric collage and appliqué. The instructor will work with you to develop an idea for a narrative art piece incorporating embroidery and/or fabric collage. The piece should include text and/or images, and will likely be illustrative in nature. Ideas for projects can be: interviewing a family member or friend about a specific event in his/her life and using this as the basis for an illustration or a text-based piece; illustrating a series of emails or letters; developing a narrative from a collection of text messages; writing a piece of poetry or fiction; illustrating song lyrics. 

For more info:

To register: OR 212-647-7199

Love Buzz

Ahh, Facebook. A great place to muse about love in a public sphere. An amendment or addition to blogging. Facebook and blogging are venues where the very private and the public collide. In my recent post, above, I was seeking clarity about a new friendship. I am still seeking clarity, and getting closer. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Add Image

"Love me" mandala

The process of stitching on this once round piece of fabric created distortion. Now, it looks a bit like a mis-shapen pancake.

"Love me...."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hell Yeah, We do!

Since attending the 5-day artist's dream workshop on Governor's Island, I have been working on long-term planning, which feels like writing down every wish I've had since I was five. In addition to fleshing out my career goals as an artist, I have spent significant time writing about the type of life-partnership I'm looking for. I am trying to visualize what I want as a way of encouraging it to happen. 

The piece pictured here uses some of the fabric my dear friend, Andrew Thornton sent me. It also is a somewhat wry take on the act of getting married. FYI - I am far more interested in the long-term health of a life partnership than I am in the wedding itself. Nevertheless, using the iconic imagery of a wedding ceremony seemed like an easy way to enter into a discussion about marriage.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Brooklyn Bikes

This is the final image of a woman on her bike, casually riding down an idyllic, Brooklyn street. I very deliberately did not give her a helmet. I am always troubled to see people on bikes without them - it seems like an unnecessary health risk. Nonetheless, an attractive woman on a bike in an attention-getting outfit without a helmet is a relatively common scene in hip Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bergen Street bikes

I love where this image is right now...Partially rendered, it fully suggests the experience of being on a bike. And I know how for bike lovers, the bike becomes an extension of their bodies.

This is the start of my 7th piece for the new hip hang-out spot that will be opening on Bergen Street very soon.

Stay tuned for more details - you are all invited to the grand opening!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inspiring Gifts

For the past five days, I've had the privilege of attending Artist Summer Institute, a business/career boot camp for professional artists. LMCC and Creative Capital co-sponsored this event. 

I can't even begin to express my gratitude for all of the information, perspective, advice, warmth, and sense of community we shared over five days. LMCC and Creative Capital assembled an incredible group of visual artists, dancers, choreographers, writers, musicians, performers, multidisciplinary artists. I learned so much!

Did I mention ASI took place on Governor's Island? If you haven't been there, the Island is an idyllic hamlet, and a 7-minute ferry ride away from Manhattan.

To add to my excitement, I returned home last night to find a package from my dear friend, Andrew Thornton. When I opened the box, I found a pile of beautiful, antique linens.

Wow! The possibilities for this stash of fabric are endless!

Andrew, you are so thoughtful and caring and I appreciate the support for my work. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"I want us to be permanent"

I realize this is a bit hard to read. It says, "I want us to be permanent."

I started by crocheting some chains, and then using them as a loose canvas to stitch my message.

I am interested in creating something filmy and ethereal. I think I will keep experimenting until the "right method" comes to me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer fun with new exhibits!

I am excited to announce my participation in "from the tongue," an exhibit about text-based work curated by the lovely Brooklyn embroiderer (and new mom), Joetta Maue.

I will be exhibiting "Rose Hens," which is part of FiberGraf, my collaboration with graffiti artist, Jon Baker. For this piece, I scanned one of Jon's old drawings, printed it on fabric, and carefully covered his tag with French knots...This piece took months to make, and I am grateful it will soon be seen by many New Yorkers. 

Details for the show:
Opening - June 24, 8-10pm 
@ Lotus Gallery Space/34 North Moore Street

The exhibit will remain on view until August 6th.

There are 30 participating artists. I can't wait to be surrounded by "my people" at the opening - fellow embroiderers!

And if this isn't enough excitement, I am participating in the Center for Book Arts Summer Bene Fête on Wednesday, June 16th. The event takes place from 5-9pm and it's free -- a party with food, music, and the opportunity to see and purchase the work of some cutting-edge book artists. 

The Center is located at 28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor. 
Accessible via the N/R/W to 28th Street; the F/V to 23rd Street, or the 1 to 28th Street.

Hope to see you at one of these events!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

How do (did) you know?

I don't think anyone knows how it's supposed to happen, but somehow it does. Somehow, people "find" each other. As one of my friends says, you find someone who finds you.

And that's what I'm looking for.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love birds

A piece about love fairies has to have some love birds! 

Finally, I have some time during this lovely, 3-day weekend to attend to "my work" - pieces in progress I have put on hold to work on special requests from my gallerist, and a commission I hope to be sharing more about soon. This piece has been lingering for a few months, and it is slowly coming into focus. I can't wait to see where it leads me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Aglow with hope

Buttressed by experience, and aglow with hope...

Changes happen when we make room for them.

punch drunk frenzy...

a punch-drunk, crush-driven frenzy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Can't Wait!

I am so excited about my upcoming classes at Pratt. I especially love my Embroidered Art Journal class, a practical and creative intro to embroidery that fuses fiber arts with book making, and even talks about blogs as an art form and an extension of artists' contemporary practices. I have taught this class 3 times already, and I swear it improves each time. I have had such wonderful students, who have helped me hone the syllabus.

Are you in the NY area? Then sign up and join me for a class!!

Do you have friends who are curious about embroidery? Get them involved, too. 

For all course listings, visit my bio on Pratt's web site. 

Hurry up! Classes start soon and I would love to meet and work with you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Affordable Art Fair report

This week is the Affordable Art Fair in New York City. The madness has once again begun!!

My gallerist, Muriel Guepin, is representing my work. She has many of my  post-its, like this piece here, and some Brooklyn-specific pieces. In fact, I jammed out this piece just yesterday morning, responding to Muriel's request for more pieces of this kind. 

I am off from work, but feel as though I am working just as hard, if not harder...As I think I shared last year at this time, standing around while others discuss your work can be funny, uncomfortable, etc. No one who saw my work yesterday realized I was the artist. The responses were quite emotional. I am glad to see my pieces finding an audience. 

Thanks again to Muriel for supporting my work wholeheartedly.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Teaching here, there, and everywhere

This spring/summer, I am teaching here, there, and everywhere. 

If you'd like to join me, here's how:

1. Extraordinary Embroidery

1-day, 3-hour workshop at 3rd Ward, 573 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, btwn Lorimer and Union

Saturday, May 15, 2:30-5:30pm

For more info - -

2. The Embroidered Art Journal, PMDA 104-01 - 5 weeks

Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:30, June 2-June 30

@ Pratt Manhattan

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

For more info:

To register, you can go online:, or call 212-647-7199.

3. SECTION II: The Embroidered Art Journal, PMDA 104-02 - 5 weeks

Friday evenings, 6:30-9:30, July 9 - August 6

@ Pratt Manhattan

For more info:

To register, you can go online:, or call 212-647-7199.

4. Incorporating Embroidery into Art, Design, and Craft Projects, PMDA

106 - 8 weeks

Sundays, 9:30am - 12:30pm, May 23- July 18th

This class is ideal for those who are new to embroidery and are already comfortable working in another artistic/creative medium.

For more info:

To register, you can go online:, or call 212-647-7199.

5. Crafting Stories through Fiber - PMDA 107 - 8 weeks

Sundays 1pm - 4pm, May 23 - July 18

This class will give you tools for expressing your story through embroidery, fabric, and fiber arts, and is perfect for beginners, as well as more experienced embroiderers, artists, and craftspeople.

For more info:

To register, you can go online:, or call 212-647-7199.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Great things to come

I was asked to design some pieces for a new space opening in Brooklyn this spring. In response, I am creating an homage to the neighborhood. This is a cropped image of one of my designs... More to come.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thanks, Patsy Kay Kolesar

Many thanks to Patsy Kay Kolesar, jewelry designer, who wrote a lovely blog piece about my embroidery and this blog. You can read her commentary here.

Patsy found my work through Etsy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drunk with love

Besotted means infatuated and also drunk. I want to be drunk with love...

Yes, I know I need to stitch in her hands. More to come.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What's missing

This week marked class two of my four-week Embroidered Portraits class at the new and wonderful
Textile Arts Center in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I have one male student, a knitter, and four women. All of them are doing interesting work, and I am excited to watch their processes and progressions. 

As often happens in craft-based classes, we have been sharing personal histories. Today we talked about coming of age experiences. Last week, we talked about the difficulties of meeting people in New York. I commented that people come to New York for all kinds of reasons, one of which is to start over, and even create a new persona. I feel as though many of the men I've met are looking to fill something that's missing in them. Instead of looking internally, they're looking externally, setting up a situation where I become a caregiver for someone I hardly know. New York, with its large number of people, can be a safe place to hide and to avoid confronting personal issues. Instead of looking inward, we can always find another person, a stranger even, to help fill our time and give us the sense that we are changing and experiencing new things, when we actually remain static and inert internally.

Here's to personal growth of all kinds...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Love fairies

About a week ago, spring hit New York, and I was so elated I felt as if I could fly away. I started imagining all kinds of things, and invented a new figure - the love fairy, an ever-present yet not always visible guide who will steer me towards a more satisfying relationship than the ones I've had to date.

This is the beginning of an embroidery about love fairies. The base fabric is from a friend, Paula Overbay, who also shows her work at Muriel Guepin Gallery. 

Paula, thanks for the gift. I can't wait to develop this piece more.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

MTA: Brooklyn's veins and arteries...Get there from here

J train: ReJoice
L train: BeLoved
G: Get going
C: Come on
M: Mystery train
D: Diverge
R: Ride

(c) 2010 Iviva Olenick

Friday, April 2, 2010

Center for Book Arts Annual Auction and Benefit

The Center for Book Arts, a non-profit center dedicated to the art of the book, turns 35 this year. (Consequently, I turn 35 in July!). To celebrate, the Center is hosting an annual benefit and auction. 

The auction takes place on Wednesday, April 7th at the Center's home at 28 West 27th Street (3rd Floor) in Manhattan. For info on tickets, click here. 

Otherwise, you can check out the items for auction online, and can place a bid by visiting the Center's web site.

Up top are some images of auction items. Many more wonderful works are also available. Check it out online!

The pieces pictured above are: Clockwise from Top Left: Dana Velan, Untitled; Robert The, Cultural Literacy; Iviva  Olenick, Let's Walk Up the Hill Together; Brendan Carroll, From the Piss And Vinegar series; Beatrice Coron, Biblio-balloons

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get stitchy in April

Over the course of teaching the past few years, I've created numerous stitch samplers. I have also discovered which types of stitches seem to confound and confuse, and which bring nearly instant delight and gratification. I like to challenge and reward my students, and I always learn from them. 

By the end of a single, 3-hour class, students are able to embroider their names using a combination of different stitches, and begin a portrait or drawing.

If you'd like to learn with me, here are some workshops in April:

1. 5 weeks of studio time with Iviva - The Embroidered Art Journal class at Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies (14th Street and 7th Ave in Manhattan):

5 Wednesdays:
April 21 - May 19th, 6:30-9:30pm


After mastering a dozen stitches for decorative and practical use, we will explore a range of methods for interpreting photographs as embroideries, drawing with thread, and transferring images and text onto fabric.

The goal is for each student to embark on a personal project that incorporates embroidery and narrative. Mixed media projects are encouraged.

Previous students have worked on a wide range of pursuits: one is in the process of making a book for her soon-to-be grandchild, another did preparatory work for exhibition pieces for a show. Students experimented with non-traditional materials, like sewing on bubble wrap and other forms of packaging. Some created sculptural "landscapes" by manipulating fabric and thread. Others reinterpreted their own drawings and illustrations using fabric and thread.

The possibilities for this class are endless...

2. Saturday, April 3rd (next weekend!!) 3 hours of studio time
3rd Ward in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
For more info and to register: 3rd Ward

Get an early start to the evening by joining me for a 3-hour embroidery-athon.

In addition to tackling stitches from the sampler up top, we will review methods for transferring images onto fabric, and for interpreting graphic images and photographs as embroideries. 

I will supply materials. Come with your favorite fabric, a piece in progress, and any questions you may have. 

Final art-fair ready version of Bygone Brooklyn

Here is the final version of "Brooklyn of a Bygone era." Muriel Guepin, my gallerist (of Muriel Guepin Gallery in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn), thought the piece needed a little more visual information on the top right corner, which I added in as narrative. I also removed the graffiti. I knew she would prefer the sign without it!

The Affordable Art Fair is from May 6-9th in New York City, and I am nearly finished with piece 4, which I will post soon. 

In the meantime, I have been working away at some FiberGraf pieces (check out FiberGraf's blog here) in preparation for an application due this hot minute...I am also set to teach every Saturday in April. More info about that imminently.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Strange world of blogging

Just a quick post to say that I am pleased to have found a mention of my blog and artwork in Philadelphia's Citypaper blog. Here's the link:

Citypaper picked up on me after the Philadelphia-based clothing company, Free People, mentioned wereisobesotted in their blog.

How did these internet elves find me?

However they found me, I must thank them for the publicity. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tied in Knots leaves its post on Court-9th Streets

I was surprised and flattered to discover that one of the signs I posted along my running routes, "You tie me  up in knots and I'm not ready to be tied down," remained at its post on Court and 9th Streets for months. Someone had actually wrapped tape around it and the light post to keep it intact. Thank you kind stranger and friend to public art!

I went to visit it yesterday, and found it filthy, battered, tattered, and blowing in the wind. I decided it was time to take it down. I am excited to have it, and to see the signs of wear. It held up pretty well. It has small holes in it, but the text is intact. It is also covered in New York City dirt, which is probably mostly car exhaust.