Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sampler survey or remnants of my years of teaching at 3rd Ward

I taught embroidery at 3rd Ward starting in 2009. Over the years, I connected with hundreds of talented and creative adults from all over New York City and surrounding areas, some of whom have since taken workshops with me elsewhere, remaining important members of my artistic and teaching network. I am grateful for everything I learned from my students, and for our inspiring group conversations, critiques, and skill shares. I still have yarns an anonymous student left at the reception desk for me one day, many years after the initial donation.

Below are a few of the in-class samplers I created. Their quirkiness and inconsistencies reflect the varying requests, needs and interests of class members. Perhaps befitting historical precedents, these samplers tell their own stories...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Poets near, far and beloved come together at Weaving Hand

This past Thursday, 12/19, marked the culminating celebration for my @EmbroideryPoems project, and my residency at Weaving Hand studio in Brooklyn. Many thanks to Dad, Tavi Gonzalez and Montana Ray for performing; Cynthia Alberto for hosting me as a resident artist, and the Brooklyn Arts Council for financial and spiritual support. This was fun - let's do it again soon!

Tavi Gonzalez @WeavingHand
Monte Olenick aka #dadknowsbest

Woven Poetry Bridge @WeavingHand

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brooklyn Bench, embracing fall

Opening tomorrow night at Muriel Guepin Gallery - 6:30-8pm. Stop by if you're around - 83 Orchard Street. Good art, wonderful artists, including Nathan Vincent and Kathy Halper...

My newest addition, below - stitched right up until the installation.

Embroidery, watercolor and applique. 2013. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Woven Poetry Bridge

Join Cynthia Alberto and me on Thursday, December 19 for a celebration of contemporary and traditional crafts - weaving, embroidery, music, poetry. 

Weaving Hand
47 Hall Street, Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Woven Poetry Bridge

I'm really looking forward to some upcoming shows, including the culmination of my Weaving Hand Artist Residency on Thursday, December 19th. The evening will feature woven and embroidered handwork, artwork from my Brooklyn Arts Council-supported @EmbroideryPoems project, and readings by some of my favorite poets, Montana Ray, Octavio Gonzalez, and Tico Cortez. Stay tuned for more details!

In the meantime, below is the woven lace I created, which I will transform into a woven poetry bridge!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oh, Facebook. We never met, but...

"Visual assault of your Facebook
photos the morning after we
didn't meet. Your flimsy excuses
and unrepentant arrogance.

"Piecing him together from
Facebook and OkCupid photos.
We never met, yet I almost ended
up at his apt one night..."

Embroidery, watercolor, and
appliqué. 2013. 6" x 4.5"
Another piece for my December 13th show with Muriel Guepin Gallery. Stay tuned for opening reception and exhibition details!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My first woven comes off the loom.

I've been having a blast at Weaving Hand lately, experimenting with unconventional yarns in the form of cut fabric. Here I am wearing my first woven piece, which I will later cut into individual, smaller pieces.

Stay tuned for details on a December 19th opening and celebration of work made during my Residency!

Repurposed and hand cut fabric is also coming into play in my workshops with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation at MS226 in Queens. I'm teaching pre-teen boys to knit - it's fun! We're also building sculptures from discarded clothing via folding, piling and manipulating. See below...

I only like him when...

I'm ovulating.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dyeing, repurposing and weaving with Weaving Hand Studio

Dyeing and drying the warp by hand with an iron. I actually hand painted the warp with watercolor wax pastels...

I also spent some time weaving, using cut-up, old t-shirts as "yarn" for the weft. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fun with 3 dimensions

So the fun of making jewelry and experimenting with 3 dimensions has led to more figurative experiments as well. Below is a piece in progress. I can't wait to continue and "finish" this "doll."

"Stitching Myself Together."
Watercolor, embroidery,
stitching, batting (fill)
appliqué. 2013. In progress.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Neckwear by Iviva - something new!

Dear blog readers,

While you know me as a stitcher of language and portraits, often combined, I have lately started making jewelry. Here are some images of a new line I'm working on. I thought you'd all appreciate a preview!

"Links." 2013. Hand embroidery.
"Collar." 2013. Hand embroidery.
I'm hoping to turn this into a custom-order line, so get in touch if you have questions, or need a unique piece!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tangible yet loosely structured

Thanks, Weaving Hand and Cynthia Alberto for giving me an opportunity to weave again and try out some new ideas.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Sprawl

When the weather shifts even slightly in New York City, it's apparent immediately in people's fashion choices. The G and L trains are great places to spot people expressing themselves through clothing, as in my below sketch in homage to a woman I observed recently on my way home from Bushwick.

Using my new method of a very leaky watercolor drawing with embroidery on top, I recreated from memory a woman I observed from afar. I was mostly interested in her textured, brightly colored skirt, severe haircut, and heels...

Friday, September 13, 2013

New - Resident Teaching Artist at Brooklyn's Weaving Hand Studio

September has introduced some exciting changes! For one, the day job I'd had for 7 years as a textile designer came to a denouement. While I'm sad, it's opened the door for some unexpected opportunities. I'm now able to get back into hands-on weaving as a Resident Teaching Artist at Weaving Hand studio in Brooklyn. I'm so excited!

This comes at a perfect time, as I'm preparing for a December exhibit at Muriel Guepin Gallery. I feel as though some of my embroideries could use some 3-dimensional accompaniments...and I now have more time and access to the equipment with which to explore my ideas!

And I'm teaching embroidery at Weaving Hand in Brooklyn on two Sundays in September - September 22nd and 29th from 12-4pm. This 4-hour class is a great intro to classic stitches and ways to apply them to make artwork. Check out the workshops here.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at part of a larger-scale watercolor + embroidery piece I'm making, "Subverting the Pattern."

More to come soon!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crustacean support group

"Maybe I have to have a soft shell, be a soft shell crab so that I don't get smashed. But then I'll just end up in someone's sandwich." Crustacean Support Group.
Text by a friend for @EmbroideryPoems, BAC-sponsored project. 2013. 
Embroidery and watercolor on silk. 3"x3.75".

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paint Stains...

Sometimes, a piece just isn't finished. I updated this over the course of 18 hours, starting last night and ending just a few moments ago...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Paint, paper, cut-outs, stitching

I'm in a place where memory meets current transformations. What better way to process this than through art?

Textile paint (which is basically acrylic) on paper with cut out and chain stitch. The chain stitch is supposed to represent the net we created...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shorty needlepoint

Overheard at an art opening...

"ShORty NeEdLEPoiNt with thE tiGht a$$." 2013
Embroidery on fabric. For @EmbroideryPoems

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The nano-satellite of my sorrow

Thanks to Olisa Corocan for the text. This piece is for her - it's her "found
poem" from the June 6 poetry reading at 61 Local. A pleasure to make this!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Selfies, i.e. love in the internet age

Sneak peak for an upcoming show in winter 2013 at Muriel Guepin Gallery, recently of the Lower East Side (formerly Cobble Hill).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Poetry reading June 6 - join me!

Thursday, June 6, 6-9pm 
@61 Local, 61 Bergen Street near Smith Street
F/G to Bergen Street

As poets read and musicians play, embroiderers will stitch snippets of lyrics and verse to create new, "found" poems.

Join us!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spelling Lesson, by Kevin Kinsella

Poem "Spelling Lesson" by Kevin Kinsella. Embroidery by Iviva Olenick. 2013.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tiger Tooth from Angela Meyer aka @candylecoque

Thanks to @candylecoque (Angela Meyer) for tweeting
this to me. Embroidery and appliqué on fabric. 2013.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Spring renews.

#cantstopthinkingaboutyou. Embroidery and watercolor.
2013. Text by @EmbroideryPoems. 2.25" x 3.5"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mosquito from @lisakimlisakim

Thanks to Lisa Kim, friend, curator, and Director of Cultural Affairs, Two Trees Management (Dumbo, Brooklyn) for sending me this haiku.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Creative Voice, text by Sandy Denarski

Thanks to Sandy Denarski for writing the text for this piece. Of course, you're probably thinking that the piece could refer to me...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Creamsicle by @EmbroideryPoems

"Orange Brooklyn - Running under a creamsicle-colored sky."
2013. Embroidery and watercolor on fabric.
Text by @EmbroideryPoems. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Echoes, poem by @Rachellah

"Echoes." Embroidery on fabric. 2013. Poem by @Rachellah,
aka Rachel Udell. Embroidery by Iviva Olenick

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Some of the people I love most in the world suffered a devastating loss very recently. We are all grieving, and even though I am not in the same city as them, I think about them constantly, and long for a time when they will feel less pain, and have some sense of "life as normal."

"Grief." 2013. Embroidery on fabric. 2.75" x 3.75".
Text by @EmbroideryPoems. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013



"How to love him back to joyousness." Inspired by @melissabroder's "Google sex" comment (which I have since learned from a reliable source is not entirely accurate).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Loneliness w truth

Thanks to @melissabroder, whose tweet is the content for my latest embroidery.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The latest from @EmbroideryPoems

Thanks to Elizabeth Rose Daly, friend and neighbor, for writing this poem.


As we start to shed our winter skins, I am struck by how much winter affects our posture and body language, in addition to our wardrobes. There is something about knitted hats, especially on men, that I am starting to like and might actually miss when the weather gets warmer. 

I am thinking also about the concept of emergence, defined in Wikipedia as "the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions." I am picturing embroideries of men emerging from soft watercolor strokes. As my first experiment in this direction, I made a watercolor drawing of a hat, under which I embroidered the outlines of a man in "shlumpy" dress (see below). I may add some seed stitches to the hat; I also hope to add more men. I am not sure if the men will come together in a larger piece or not, or what they are going to say to me (or to each other?). But I feel compelled to create some new imagery right now.

Spring seems to bring a renewed energy for going out of the house, outside of the norm, outside of ourselves and meeting new people. Emergence...I wonder what spring will bring for me in my personal and artistic life....