6 years

12/12 was my 6 year anniversary blogging here on Visual Influence! It seems unreal to me how much has happened since then and how much I’ve learned. Going from starting an art blog when I was in college about art, images, thoughts, etc. that influenced me — on through to some amazing experiences, a lot of ups and downs, and heck I even brought a new human being into this world. She will be 3 in April. Time really goes by too fast. So precious.

But what I want to do now is re-cap 2013. Let me just say that it was a bi-polar kind of year. The first 6 months I was in some sort of deadlock. Completely blocked. I couldn’t make art…I don’t know what I was doing. Lots of struggle….nothing would come together. I usually don’t stay “down” for that long so it was hard. I was starting to work on my new studio space but wasn’t sure about it….

THEN! The opportunity came up to do it all. Not only a studio, why, let’s open a storefront too. Let’s make it everything about everything you want it to be. Okay!

That was in July — I started putting it all together and I was in GO MODE.

On November 1st I opened Pinky’s Boutique. Studio, gallery, shop, cabinet of curiosities….it is what it is and you just have to come in and see. I’m there! We have a zillion projects going on at once and some amazing art and handmade goods for sale. It’s a bit dirty. I should probably vacuum. I have some vintage and antiques thrown in the mix. Interesting….

Now toward the end of the year I always get a bit depressed because I’m a raging perfectionist and I tend to think about all of the things I DIDN’T do compared to what I’ve ACCOMPLISHED. I didn’t make much notable art this year — although I came up with a great concept for a series — INHABIT A CLOUD.

Here’s the statement for you art world folks:

Inhabit a Cloud is a series of imagined portraits of ancient goddess-legends and dwelling places. The imagery is created intuitively as I embroider, slowly, by hand. A search for identity developing from myth. Ultimately revealing Self as I navigate the network of feminine power, searching for belonging and place. I don’t question. I follow the line where it leads – stitching a primordial connection.

And the actual work:

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Yes you might have seen a couple of those pieces before. But they make so much more SENSE as part of this series. The two portraits are the only NEW real embroideries I’ve done this year. The entire year! WTF?

So obviously my New Years resolution is to STITCH FOR SERIOUS more. I have a few things coming up, which is great. I need the pressure.

What comes first, the idea or the stitching? I’m not quite sure and I hope I never figure it out. Spontaneity is my BFF.

Happy 2014 everybody!

current brainstate

The thoughts in my brain feel like the little ball bouncing around in a pinball machine. I bounce around everyday from action to action such as — get my kids to school, then inventory, then email, project with the 2.5 yr old, then stitching, list an item for sale online, talk to a customer in the shop, change a diaper, clean, eat when I remember, read something, cook something, make something….all the time thinking and thinking and it can feel like I never have the time to just sit down and focus on one thing. Or even think about one thing for as long as I would like to. I possibly miss college and having that kid free time to sit in a library or quiet studio. I’m trying so hard to create a place and a life but this takes a lot of patience and sacrifice. And when you’re a perfectionist than you have these little panic moments of despair. The bottom line — I’m trying to focus more on making the best art possible. And yes making and selling other things factor in there too because my kids need to eat but really this doesn’t take anything away from the real art, now does it.

DSC_0142in progress — Oshun Ibu Yumu

So what happens is things/places/people keep coming up in my head over and over and I feel that these things must be the most important and deserve special attention.

Like Rick Beerhorst for example. Go read this and listen to this all you artists out there and you will be glad you did.

Now, I’m going to go do a kid’s thanksgiving craft workshop…

Caenis

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“A woman of Thessaly in ancient Greece, Caenis was brutally raped by the sea god Poseidon. Furious and humiliated, she appealed to the gods of Olympus for revenge: transform her, she begged, into an invulnerable man so that she might maim and murder the sex that had injured her. Her wish having been granted, she became a great hero named Caeneus, unstoppable on the battlefield, fierce and destructive. When she died a heroic death, she resumed her female body and original name, and enjoyed a hero’s welcome in the afterlife.” (Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, p. 77)

This is the first of a new series of embroidered portraits of goddesses, heroines, and legends.

Volume IV of The Wandering Uterus coming soon

Those of you who have known me awhile, know about my fitful zine, The Wandering Uterus, which I started in college. I haven’t had much time to make zines or mail art for the past couple years, but was inspired again when hearing about the upcoming Fluxfest Chicago on the weekend of February 23rd. If you go, the tradition is to bring an edition of 50 or more of something…so I’m making #4 of my zine and crossing my fingers that I can get away from it all for a day and head down to Chi town with my husband — THAT would be a feat of amazingness!

chicago-poster

DSC_0010This edition is minimal and in keeping with my fiber art. It is one sheet of paper, machine stitched, folded into a small zine. The concept and design is an edition of 50, although each piece is unique.

So, hopefully I will see you at Fluxfest Chicago!

Announcing the Location of my New Studio!

I am so excited to finally announce the location of my new studio! This has been in the works for a long time, and I’m so happy to finally find the right place, and that it is working out!

The history of our new building is really interesting. It was built in 1851 by Peter Myers, and is one of the oldest remaining commercial buildings in the city. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I could only find one, old-ish picture online:

myersbuilding

Peter Myers was an interesting fellow. I found an in-depth account of the man in the book, Rock County, Wisconsin: A New History (volume 2) by William Fiske Brown. To paraphrase, Peter Myers was born in France on February 8, 1819 and his parents immigrated to Pennsylvania when he was a young boy. His father served under Napoleon and lost a limb in the battle of Moscow. Being a younger brother, he didn’t inherit anything after his father died, so he moved to Buffalo, NY and learned the butcher’s trade, and lived there ten years. He met a man from Milwaukee, after which he first moved to Rockford before he settled in Janesville in 1845. By 1851, he was constructing the current building on N. Main, which he used for his meat market business. However, he quickly switched to pork packing and became quite wealthy. He invested heavily into early Janesville — erecting many other buildings including the Myers Hotel and the Myers Opera House. His home was the first brick residence. He also invested in many early Janesville businesses and was an original shareholder in the first railroad that came to the city.

What I found most interesting was this passage, by the author above, about his personality: “Mr Myers was a man of simple habits, caring little for personal adornments, and yet in the appointments of his home and the furnishings of his hotel and decorations of his opera house he was most luxurious and artistic. He was well known coast to coast on account of his strong personality as “Peter the Peculiar”, however underneath a blunt exterior beat a warm and generous heart, and by his wise prudence, thrift of character, and kindliness he gained and held the confidence and respect of all who knew him, and his death which occurred on March 13, 1888, was mourned by all as that of one of the city’s most enterprising men and benefactors…His religion was to love justice, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs, and to remember benefits. Tis a fitting inscription which encircles a large portrait of him in the Myers Opera House:  “Janesville’s Benefactor, Peter Myers, born February 8, 1819, died March 13, 1888. He made and left the best efforts of his life for you.”

Indeed, he has left his best efforts for us. I would like to think that Mr. Myers would be very happy to see that his building was still in use. I’m excited to transform the space into amazing.

 

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I need to live and work in a world that I’ve built for myself — idealistic, non-conforming, and authentic to who I am as an artist and person. Things such as these can’t be described, so I invite you to keep updated with me, through this blog and my Facebook page, and get to know me, and come visit the new space someday!

12-12-12 // FIVE YEARS

I did not make this up — my first post was 12-12-07 (still my fave, photographs of dead salmon in ice) so today is my 5th anniversary of blogging right here on Visual Influence. What a great way to celebrate 12-12-12. I looked back on all my posts throughout the years….all the learning, struggle, and failure that made me who I am today. And all that is between the lines – the weeks or months that I didn’t post, when I was involved in other projects or exploring new directions.

I re-posted my fave highlights on my Facebook page, if you want to take a look…

But enough reminiscing — looking forward I am very positive about where I’m headed with my work. Here are a few new pieces I’ve completed this week:

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hand embroidery in distorted vintage hoop

about 7″ x 8.5″

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hand embroidery in distorted vintage hoop

about 4.5″ x 9″

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hand embroidery in distorted vintage hoop

about 4″ x 6.5″

So the big news is that I am **THIS** close to opening a studio space in downtown Janesville {WI} — within the next few weeks I will know if we have secured an amazing space for the next phase of Visual Influence — which will be a physical space for my studio, but more than that it will be an alternative space – library – vintage boutique – cabinet of curiosities – fiber lab — basically the ideal place for me to work and simply be. Friends welcome. I will post more details as they come about.

THANK YOU to all of you who have been there with me throughout this crazy journey. I’ve learned not to rush. I’ve learned not to compromise. I’ve learned who I am and how to be that.

“I am not careful to justify myself…but lest I should mislead any when I have my own head and obey my own whims, let me remind the reader that I am only an experimenter. Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretend to settle anything as true or false. I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.” –Emerson