Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

When I was a kid, I overheard the term "glass ceiling" pretty often, meaning an invisible barrier to women and/or people of color seeking advancement into high level corporate positions. While I never dreamed of making it in the corporate world, I kept an image in my head of an actual clear glass ceiling, and how it would feel to accidentally bang into it.

As an artist, some of the gallerists and administrators who favor my work have suggested that I'd sell more and show in more galleries if I were a man. While I recognize that these comments are meant to be supportive, I am not 100% convinced that being female has hampered me. I know a far greater number of disappointed male artists than female artists, for instance.

So, what is a glass ceiling in 2015? I am not sure exactly how I would define it. I think the glass ceiling of my 80s childhood has shifted and changed shape. I unfortunately do think that misogyny still permeates our culture in sometimes obvious and other times subtle ways. For instance, I've noticed Facebook posts describing how women silently tolerate subtle forms of abuse — inappropriate sexual remarks or jokes, unwanted physical contact — in social and/or professional settings where speaking up seems unfavorable. I am disappointed to see women close to me in age feel as though they cannot voice disagreement with behavior that belittles or maligns. While experiencing unwanted remarks or physical contact is not a glass ceiling, the psychology of grinning and passively participating in unwanted behavior encourages women's all-over passivity. Instead of self advocating, we laugh off something offensive, hurtful or inappropriate when we should be demonstrating a lack of approval and advocating for ourselves. If we won't stick up for ourselves in the context of casual banter, how will we ask for a raise or a more flexible schedule? How will we advocate for better parental leave and other benefits? How will we shift antiquated ways of thinking and behaving?

In a series of sculptures and characters now in formation, I am playing with the intersection of fiber and glass. Both of materials can be seen as delicate (and by extension feminine) while also being surprisingly resilient and strong. In the below piece, which says "breaking the glass ceiling," the figure's arms are glass beads. I've since taking this photo somewhat changed the structure of the piece, and am adding a jacket with more text about breaking my own glass ceiling. Stay tuned for more photos.

Friday, October 23, 2015

In Residence, Monday, 10/26 – Sunday, 11/8

Join me at Workshop Gallery Artists Foundation at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery for the 2015 finale to Native/Immigrant City, my exploration of New York natives, immigrants and transplants from other parts of the country through soft sculpture. Since December 2014, I've been collecting stories and memories of moving to and from NYC, surviving rent hikes, questionable roommates and landlords, and falling in love with the City despite all the stress and vowing never to leave.

I translate friends' and strangers' stories into stop motion animations and embroideries on fabric paintings and sculptures. I try to give voice and tactile form to varying cultural points of view. With a Brooklyn Arts Council grant, I've had the opportunity to host some communal storytelling and embroidery events in the past year. Thanks to 61 Local and Brooklyn Workshop Gallery for donating space.

From 10/26–11/8, you can find me at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery. Special hours are:
Monday, 10/26, 12–7pm
Saturday, 10/31, 12–5pm
Sunday, 11/1, 2–5pm
Monday, 11/2, 12–6pm
Tuesday, 11/3, 11am–4pm

Join us on Thursday, 11/5 from 7-9pm for a poetry reading featuring KC Trommer and friends.

For additional hours and dates, contact me to set up a private viewing of the work, or look for updates via Facebook.

Friday, September 25, 2015

3D Stitch-By-Stitch at Pratt — Starts Tuesday!!

Join me!

5 consecutive Tuesdays.

Embroidery basics leading to 3D explorations. Lots of individual attention and group demos. Collegial environment. Fun!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Lovin

Summer's long days and nights fade before we're ready and catch the perfect selfie on the beach  in front of a sunset.

Summer romances are said to be similar. I've spent my summer teaching elementary school students for whom English is a second language. With no summer romance appearing, I've had to embroider one into being...

Come home and put me on like a sweater is a season-less romance for the whole year round.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Are blogs obsolete?

Has Instagram surpassed blogging? I've come to prefer its ease of use and immediacy. Twitter, too, enables quick sharing of ideas, mostly stream of consciousness commentary, which feeds my embroideries and artist statements, hyperbolic though my comments may be. How to transfer followers from one platform to another?

To check in with me more regularly and give me access to your visual diaries, let's follow each other on Instagram.

For now, here are some more images of figures I'm profiling in Native/Immigrant City, an ongoing conversation with Brooklynites and New Yorkers (natives, transplants, immigrants) about surviving/thriving amidst breakneck speed gentrification and crushing daily demands. Currently receiving support through a Greater NY Arts Development Fund grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs administered by BAC (Brooklyn Arts Council).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Artists Who Write

I'd like to think that Artists Who Write, Salon II, was as moving for audience members and performers as Salon I. Thank you Swati Khurana and Montana Ray for sharing your never-before seen or heard works. Thank you Jenny Douglas for trusting my curatorial vision and for the warmth and generosity that makes The Brooklyn Cottage a community home.

We just might do this again sometime, when The Cottage resumes programming in September. Until then, enjoy the summer. I leave you with some of my favorite photographs from 6/17...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Artists Who Write, Part II

Last Wednesday's inaugural Artists Who Write Salon was a success, with unexpected revelations and debuts of new writing from Yazmany Arboleda, Kent Shell and Seldon Yuan. I can only hope they each get a book deal.

We resume this Wednesday, 6/17, from 7-9pm, with Swati Khurana, Montana Ray and Iviva Olenick. We're going to turn up the dial just a bit louder.

Reserve your ticket here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

#ArtistsWhoWrite @TheBrooklynCottage

Thrilled to be teaming up again with Jenny Douglas of The Brooklyn Cottage for a new literary reading series mining multiplicity. Artists Who Write features sculptors, installation artists, dancers, designers, performance artists, painters, crafts people, book artists, for whom writing is an integral part of their creative practice and a pursuit on its own.

Seldon Yuan, Plant Poem. 

Join us this Wednesday, 6/10 from 7–9pm for Artists Who Write Salon I, featuring Yazmany Arboleda, Kent Shell and Seldon Yuan – heavy hitters in the visual and literary art worlds and in design.
Tickets are going fast. Get yours here now!

Join us also Wednesday, 6/17 from 7–9pm for Artists Who Write Salon II featuring
Swati Khurana, Montana Ray and Iviva Olenick 
Tickets available here.

Thank you, Jenny, for your warmth and radiant generosity, which pulled the inner curator out of me. And thank you roster of artists I've admired for years. Assembling us in a collaborative series of evenings is a dream come true.

Join us!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stitch by Stitch

Learn how I make these small fabric sculptures this summer at Pratt!

We will review embroidery basics; learn image transfer techniques and strategies; and most importantly, 3D embroidery: learn how to make small stuffed animals, fabric sculptures, dolls, jewelry.

at Pratt Manhattan
144 West 14th Street

Course name and number:
Stitch by Stitch: Crafting for Collaboration, Investigation
Sundays, 5/31 – 6/28
9:30am – 12:30pm

Registration: reg@pratt.edu or (212) 647-7371
Questions? Ask me!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Brooklyn in Stop Motion

One of my favorite parts of being an artist are impromptu collaborations. Friends and strangers become part of my work by sharing their stories, which I record and transform into 2- and 3-dimensional embroideries. I sometimes even make stop motion animations using the audio recordings (which I edit).

Stop motion is new to me; I read an online tutorial to get the basic concept. And I now make these pieces which to me have a handmade feel. They're not clean and overly produced and edited; they're more about finding another way to share narrative in the digital age.

The piece below, An Old New York You Don't Really See, is narrated by my friend, Sherri Kronfeld, a native New Yorker and current Brooklynite. She is particularly gifted at capturing 1908s NYC through the eyes and impressions of a child. I wish my own memories retained the feelings of being a kid.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

An old New York that you don't really see...

I am thrilled to have made major progress on these coordinated pieces. The embroidered painting and doll share the memories and stories of a native New Yorker (Queens born) who now lives in Brooklyn and has seen the borough go through many changes.

As I continue developing Native/Immigrant City, my embroidered study of assimilation versus acculturation in richly textured, socioeconomically challenging Brooklyn, I am excited to find stories like these from natives. I also want to thank the Greater NY Arts Development Fund of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs administered by BAC for partial sponsorship of this project.

Coming up in May, I will be sharing the techniques I use to make the above pieces at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery at 393 Hoyt Street in Brooklyn near 3rd Street (and not too far from Whole Foods). Martine Bisagni, Director of the Gallery, is kindly hosting a Sewing and Embroidery Studio on Thursday May 21 and 28 and June 4th from 1-9pm. I will be on site from 6-9pm on those dates, sharing my techniques and processes and teaching embroidery basics.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Where has March gone?

While warmer weather continues to evade us, I've taken advantage of the climate to work indoors on growing Native/Immigrant City, my homage to New Yorkers born in the City and from other States and countries.

My current piece in process is below. Please get in touch if you happen to be a current or former Brooklyn resident with a story to share about your experience making a home in the borough.

I also want to thank the Brooklyn Arts Council for providing me with some funding to grow and continue this project. More specifically, I have a generous regrant from the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

Finally, stay tuned for announcements of by-donation workshops coming soon to a Brooklyn venue near you...I provide supplies and instruction; you show up with an idea for a soft sculpture. Together, we turn your vision into a physical reality.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Selfie and @YrImaginaryDog, hanging out at IMC Lab and Gallery in NYC

The opening for Reach Out and Touch Me was fun. It was one of the coldest nights of the year. Nevertheless, many friends showed up, surprising me.

Above is my soft sculpture "family," Selfie, @YrImaginaryDog and her iPhone watching a stop motion video of me embroidering Selfie's and @YrImaginaryDog's tweets on Selfie. 

The exhibit is up through March 18th at IMC Lab, 56 W 22nd Street near 6th Ave in NYC. Get in touch if you'd like to visit!

In the meantime, stay tuned for news of my BAC-sponsored Native/Immigrant City project. As for me, I'm off to art fairs today. I can't wait for Spring Break!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winter cheer - Thursday opening @IMCLabGallery

Dear blog readers,

Yes, it's cold. Yes, I am suffering from season-long sinus congestion. I'm giving up dairy. For real, this time. It's going to be hard. I will miss Greek yogurt more than I can say. I am hoping coconut yogurt (which is basically a sugary custard) will suffice. Who am I kidding? I can't even keep a straight face typing this.

Anyway, enough about me. 

Thanks to IMC Lab & Gallery, the opening for my solo show, the culmination of my Co-Create Residency, is this Thursday. Details below on the invitation co-designed with James Tunick, Residency co-director and technology guru.

I can't wait! If you're in the NYC area, please come by!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

It's been a long, cold, lonely winter

As the Beatles sang in "Here Comes the Sun," it HAS been a long, cold, lonely winter. In my case, not terribly lonely, as I teach 4-6 times a week and am surrounded by students ages 6 - 75, so I very often have company and constant conversation.

I've been keeping myself busy, getting ready for an upcoming solo show (opening night Thursday, 2/19!) at IMC Lab and Gallery in Manhattan, 56 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor. I've been making stop motion videos to add texture and elucidate some of the narratives embroidered on my hand held and life sized selfies. Here is a sneak peak of one stop motion piece: