Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog
Detail of work: "Tamed" Embroidery on rubber, 2014 (photo courtesy of the curator Alex Hamilton)

Detail of work: “Tamed” Embroidery on rubber, 2014 (photo courtesy of the curator Alex Hamilton)

While working on ‘Tamed” I thought a lot about the book: The little prince”:  “Come and play with me,’ suggested the little prince.  ‘I am so terribly sad…”  “I cannot play with you’ said the fox.  “I am not tame.”

‘What does tame mean?”

“It is something that is too often forgotten, “said the fox. “It means to establish ties…”

But before I quote the whole chapter where tamed are being written about – I will end of with this:

“The little prince went off to look at the roses again.  “None of you is at all like my rose.  As yet you are nothing,” he said to them.  ‘Nobody has tamed you and you have tamed no one.  You are like my fox when I first encountered him.  He was just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.  But I made him my friend and now he is unique in the world….”

This work among others will be exhibited at the Prince Albert Art Festival (PArt) in September 2014.  It will be part of the group show: Flippen Vlambaar/Freakin’ Flammable curated by Alex Hamilton.  This show will include work of a variety of amazing artists….will tell you more closer to the time.  I’m looking forward to be in such good company.

for the love of art part two

Studio news/blog

so as you know….I’ve entered an art competition – see here.

Last night the ‘winners’ were announced and here they are:

"for the love of art" competition winners

“for the love of art” competition winners

I am really happy for these artists!

“Which brings me back to happiness, and a quick look at the word.

Our primary meaning now is the feeling of pleasure and contentment’ a buzz, a zestiness, the tummy upwards feel of good and right and relaxed and alive…you know….

But earlier meanings build in the hap – in Middle English, that is ‘happ‘, in Old English, ‘gehapp’ – the chance or fortune, good or bad, that falls to you.  Hap is your lot in life, the hand you are given to play.  How you meet your ‘hap’ will determine whether or not you can be ‘happy’.

What the Americans, in their constitution, call ‘the right to the pursuit of happiness’ (please note, not ‘the right to happiness’), is the right to swim upstream, salmon-wise.” pg 24 from the book: Why be happy when you could be normal? by Jeanette Winterson


The subversive f-word

Art portfolio- my work

Once in a while I treat myself.  Yesterday this treat arrived in the mail:

subversive sitch

In art school they taught us art history.  Since I taught myself to embroider I consider it a good idea to home-school myself in the history of embroidery.

On page 5 Rozsika Parker (the author of the above book) touches on the hierarchy of art/craft:

“The art/craft hierarchy suggests that art made with thread and art made with paint are intrinsically unequal:  that the former is artistically less significant.  But the real differences between the two are in terms of where they are made and who makes them.  Embroidery, by the time of the art/craft divide, was made in the domestic sphere, usually by women, for ‘love’.  Painting was produced predominantly, though not only, by men in the public sphere, for money.  The professional branch of embroidery, unlike that of painting, was, from the end of the seventeenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, largely in the hands of working-class women, or disadvantaged middle-class women.  Clearly there are huge differences between painting and embroider;’ different conditions of production and different conditions of reception.  But rather than acknowledging that needlework and painting are different but equal arts, embroidery and crafts associated with ‘the second sex’ or the working class are accorded lesser artistic value”

mmm….I’ll think about that.

This brings me to the f-word: Feminism….

“Moreover, because embroidery was supposed to signify femininity – docility, obedience, love of home, and a life without work – it showed the embroiderer to be a deserving, worthy wife and mother.  Thus the art played a crucial part in maintaining the class position of the household, displaying the value of a man’s wife and the condition of his economic circumstances…….Later the embroidery was blamed for the conflicts provoked in women by the femininity the art fostered.”  P 11 The Subversive Stitch.

I personally belief that a mother’s place is at home, with her children- at least for the first formative 5 years.  My own mother was a stay at home mom, but I’m sure she had dreams, because shortly after we were enrolled in primary school she started her own company and trained as a florist; but I’m grateful that she was at home in the beginning.

Quote from unknown book found in old journal

Quote from unknown book found in old journal

At the same time I dislike the fact that she was a very subordinate wife.

"I'm not a pushover" embroidery on rubber/inner tube in box frame

“I’m not a pushover” embroidery on rubber/inner tube in box frame

So before I become hysterical….lets move on from one f-word to another: “Freud”

“”By the end of the century, Freud was to decide that constant needle work was one of the factors that ‘rendered women particularly prone to hysteria’ because daydreaming over embroidery induced ‘dispositional hypnoid states.”  P12 the Subversive Stitch

I’m looking forward to see if this book will have an influence on my work and artist statement in the near future, but so far it’s a great read.

on being painted….

Studio news/blog

I had a terrible self-image when I was a teenager.  I used to hate my big bulky fore-head.  When I rode my bicycle to school I tilted my head so that the wind blew my hair over my face.  I used copious amounts of hairspray to keep my fringe in place for fear of exposing my bulky fore-head.  No matter what my mom or others told me (for example that a big forehead is a sign of wisdom, blah blah blah) I didn’t believe them.

I always wore a fringe, up until my oldest son was born.  I didn’t have the time or energy to tend to a hairstyle with a baby in tow.  5 Years ago  I shaved my hair and wore my big bulky fore-head with pride.

A couple of days ago an artist friend of mine let me know that she is painting my portrait:

A portrait of me painted by Vanessa Berlein

A portrait of me painted by Vanessa Berlein

I feel honored being painted by her! I admire her skill, technique and talent! check out her blog here for more amazing work by Vanessa Berlein!

I also feel kinda weird (self-conscious) being ‘watched’ and so closely examined in order to be painted by her.

And I feel super strange seeing that big bulky fore-head again! (Its different seeing yourself in a mirror than seeing yourself through the eyes of someone else).

I cannot help but wonder how others eg: Mona Lisa felt after seeing the painted version of themselves?!

Suddenly I am thinking about a snippet of this ‘story’ from the book= “Possessing the secret of joy, by Alice Walker”:

….”Days went by when the only voice she heard was her inner one.

Soon, she began to listen to it.

Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you.  And she did.

Lara, it said , lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long.  And she did.

Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved:  sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in  the still waters of this stream.

Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water.  She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleaming black fur.  She was beautiful!  And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon.

For one whole day, Lara was content.  When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin.  The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara.  When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her!  He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion.

While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon.  Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having – so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to.  And her inner voice assured her this was true.

So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other’s ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.”


Check out some more amazing portraits here!