so i used to make art
i hesitate to call myself an artist, but i did make art

i got into it during my stint in the woods junior year of college
and i kept doing it during my senior year
i took drawing and sculpture and more sculpture

i realized that i had always been a “maker” – that i’d been creating things, making things, for as long as i could remember.
i had my mom and nana teach me all the crafting techniques they knew – sewing, cross-stitch, knitting, embroidery, cooking, baking, gardening
and i ADORED craft stores, i constantly picked up new techniques from kits and mags and books
and i got my mom to sign me up for classes at a local art studio – lots of ceramics, jewelry-making, sculpture

then in high school i got an apprenticeship/internship/personal assistant job with a jewelry designer and creator who owned a boutique in lincoln park – she taught me about beads and stones, about wire-wrapping, weights and balances, about making lamp-worked glass beads and pieces, about enamels and acrylics, and she let me play with colors and techniques – it was awesome
(she was also suffering from a long-term pain condition and on loads of morphine by prescription and basically totally nuts, but that’s another story that may never get told)

the year after i graduated college i was pursuing post-baccalaureate studies at my school in art. it’s a fellowship that you can take classes for free in return for doing some kind of service to the school. i was supposed to take art and art history classes and be the assistant director of the off-campus study program that i had done (and living in the woods for spring term)

i had been inspired by Brenda Moore who visited my college campus and taught a couple seminars during my senior year. She creates fine art through embroidery and other sort of old-fashioned crafty techniques. Here’s some of her work

i love how she uses these “old-fashioned” techniques to create these awesome and somewhat disturbing works.

i went to her seminar and quickly remembered all the embroidery stuff i’d known and it was FUN!

So I started doing embroidery again, but just for fun, not for any of my classes

and then i started my post-bac and i showed some of it to my mentor and he liked it!
So i started doing more of it

AND THEN one day i found a bunch of old photos – doubles and triples and nothing worth keeping
and I remembered how Brendan Moore had talked about how you can embroider on anything – not just cloth…and i started embroidering on PHOTOGRAPHS
and it was awesome! i was digging it!

then Bro died

and everything fell apart

i ended up dropping my post-bac, i lost my drive, i felt like i couldn’t create
i cried constantly

and i could NOT imagine going to live in the woods and basically being the RA for a dozen undergrads in a converted barn for 10 weeks
no Bear? no phone? lots of time to think?it was unthinkable
so i quit
(it wasn’t the worst thing ever, there were actually 2 assistant directors so they still had one left!)

and i haven’t made art since

until last week

i dug up my old embroidery stuff – a few hoops, a pile of floss, pin cushion, a bunch of needles – and my envelopes full of extraneous picsand i started it up again
it feels REALLY good

Bear asked me why i liked it so much – specifically embroidering on pictures since he thinks it’s a little weird
But i don’t think it’s that weird – people usually embroider pictures onto fabric, either the image is printed on the fabric or they’re recreating it using a pattern/chart thing
so i embroider images too – i just do it on top of the literal image
i like it – i’m imposing my vision onto “reality”except a photo isn’t reality – it’s a flat representation of a particular moment bounded by a rectangular frame

anyway here are some examples of what i did in the past, and there will be more to come when i finish new works
(sorry the pics aren’t very good!)