no stitches in this lace. pass the pepper

even as our exhibition continues, amazing work that fits the bill continues to appear.


no. salt. yamamoto motoi makes lace, and more, out of salt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

opening reception

what a great time! thanks to everyone who came!

we were touched that it was such a big and enthusiastic crowd. and we are grateful to libby rosof and roberta fallon and their art safari tour for coming by (link to their experience will be up shortly)!

i honestly think my ONLY “complaint” about the evening was that we had a great music mix and the gallery was too full of people to hear it. i had asked all the artists to contribute and we got a great mix. even heather bryson, the gallerist at b square, liked it and i said i’d make her a copy so she could play it again during the exhibit. here’s how it went:

almglocken melodien — loop 2.4.3
sacred springs (from the movie “mothra versus godzilla”)
to do — thank you rosekind
suedehead — morrissey
for our elegant caste — of montreal
utru horas — orchestra baobab
prince charming — adam and the ants
bizness — tune-yards
glitter & twang — tullycraft
enjoy the silence — depeche mode
달이 차오른다, 가자 — jang kiha and the faces
i close my eyes — shivaree
foux du fafa — flight of the conchords
the greatest hit — annie
i get a kick out of you — margaret whiting
tied up too tight — hard-fi
싸구려 커피 — jang kiha and the faces
fembot — robyn
your kisses are wasted on me — the pipettes
gallery piece — of montreal
endless dream — conjure one
can’t get you out of my head — kylie minogue
koop islands blues — koop
lake michigan — rogue wave
i’m gonna tear your playhouse down — paul young
summertime clothes — animal collective
drive your dream — thank you rosekind
private eyes — hall and oates

the exhibit is open through april 28. i will post more pics of how things are hanging this coming week… please come visit!

Posted in Uncategorized

nikki virbitsky

there’s eclectic and there’s eclectic, right? and there are probably thousands of philadelphia apartments full of kitchy, fun, retro stuff. nikki has plenty such things… but nikki’s belongings are focused. and almost every tiny trinket or talisman or remembrance she owns is one pin on the larger map of her body of work. i think “obsession” is a terribly overused word, particularly when used to describe a creative person’s muses. but nikki lives with her memories, and her chosen iconography, in an almost militant and tireless way.

i met nikki when her beloved grandmother was on her deathbed. in the time following nana’s death, nikki constructed an enormous embroidered portrait of a matryoshka doll. it was nana who taught nikki to embroider, and their shared russian heritage is a huge part of her work, and so much of that culture was presented to her by her nana.

needlework is also a huge part of nikki’s family endowment. she has memories of watching aunts, great-aunts and great-great aunts, making doilies: crocheted, knitted, or with a tatting shuttle.

for the not a stitch exhibit, one of the projects nikki has completed is the honoring of her nana, great- and great-great aunts on her mother’s side of the family (nine in total) and the thirteen aunts on her father’s side of the family, by designing handcut paper doilies named for each of them. they are like soliders to me.

and so much of nikki’s home, where she creates her work, is like this — like this kitchen-within-a-kitchen. lives inside of lives. she’s like a human dollhouse, where inside the dollhouse, there’s another dollhouse.

another of nikki’s projects for not a stitch is the recreation of several significant household textiles of her childhood — as papercuts. for these she has used gouache, hand-tinted to match the fabrics, painted onto kraft, and cut by hand. “if i could have made the paper i would have done that too,” she said.

that is the nature of evocation/invocation that is the lynchpin of this exhibit. to love a piece of fabric or needlework so much that you would recreate it in other forms, just to get closer to it.

i have seen the preparations for a dutch-landscape curtain papercut, a crocheted afghan, and some cowgirl fabric. i’m so excited about seeing the finished work. it’s a lulling waiting, like nikki describes her memories as a child, lying in her great-aunt’s living room, watching the oil “rain lamp”. as a mother now i know it is just moments like that, that change a kid’s life — and create artistic perception. it’s so exciting to see it all brought to life here.

Posted in Uncategorized

stick it up your joompah

you may have seen the digital image for the not a stitch exhibit’s promotional postcard.

while there are doubtless many powerful images to be found in the exhibition, oompah’s work is special to me, and i am sure no one will begrudge me having more to say about it.

much of knitting’s “revival” period over the last decade-plus has been boring. the most boring knitting of all has been generated in stumbling attempts to prove that knitting can be “cool” or “subversive”. endless parades of fair isle skulls, faux-mohawk hats, “knit bombings” that, once you’ve seen one, have about as much power to shock as does some graffiti in an olive garden restaurant ladies’ room.

one of the most plentiful byproducts of knitting’s recent boom — and documentation of thus on the internet — is nastiness. everybody’s got an axe to grind about what everyone else is knitting and whole blogs have been dedicated to mocking the quick-knit, fashion items of decades past, and deriding today’s knitters who seem to make over-eager attempts to stretch the boundaries of the craft. “who would knit that?” “who would buy that?” “who would wear that?” — but does anyone really wonder?

what’s easier to mock than some crazy photograph pulled from some crazy message board, featuring what appear to be consenting adults, completely encased in mohair, from head to foot? or someone wearing layers and layers of sweaters and balaclavas? (a lot of these message boards, i’ve noticed, seem to be used by mostly german- or russian-speaking enthusiasts; all the easier, between the language barrier and the covered faces, to act as though they were not real people.)

yes, virginia, there’s a wool and knitwear fetish community — and in today’s knitting weather system of snark and skulls, what is there to do but make fun of it?

it’s not a rhetorical question — the way that “who would knit THAT?” has been used as a rhetorical question, but never should have been, because, as people interested in a craft, it would have been more than acceptable — perhaps even advisable — to show some curiosity. what IS there to do besides make fun of people in wool bodysuits? who WOULD wear that? who would knit it?

when i found english-speaking wool and knitwear fetishists on the internet who were open to conversation, i had some of the most interesting conversations about knitting i’d ever had. as a knitter, i value interesting conversations about knitting, with people who feel very differently about knitting than i myself do — but feel passionately about it all the same. i own prints of oompah’s work, and hope to own more.

it’s just funny to me — the sad kind of funny — that after so many years of everyone cheering on the idea of “EDGY” knitting, and sitting around with their knitting out in bars, hoping someone would see them — when faced with people who actually get off on the stuff, not to mention the technical prowess and wrist-killing WORK involved in some of this fetishwear, it was knitters who turned up their noses.

i have loved working with oompah on this show. and i want nothing more than to be respectful of his work and motivation, much more of which will be seen at the exhibit. if there’s any gallery show i’d ever love to curate, it’s one of more fetish art (and actual knitting). it may be the next thing on my docket.

Posted in Uncategorized

stitchless in shetland

my growing interest in festal culture led me to do some research about shetland’s up helly aa festival. (what’s better than a good fire festival in the winter?) and the shetland museum and archives led me down a path of further interests — fair isle knitting, about as close to the source as you can get it — and lo, an unstitched representation of beautiful shetland lace. this is laser cut, as so many things these days are!

this lace notepad, and a few other items like it, are available in the museum’s online store. and if you’ll excuse me, i’m off to learn as much as possible about the gunnister man.

Posted in Uncategorized

other things that artists featured in the “not a stitch” exhibition do: installment one: madeleine shepherd

NOT surprisingly, the artists featured in the not a stitch exhibition spend a lot of time making actual stitches, and making no apology for it.

madeleine shepherd does a lot of things. for the not a stitch exhibit, she will be showing lace cyanotypes, and she does them really, really well (“lace cyanotype” is a pretty regularly-used search term for me, and i’m not always impressed with what i see online. madeleine’s work is great.)

but here’s just one of madeleine’s other projects: the mathmetician’s shirts.

“…mathematician Julia Collins and artist Madeleine Shepherd will be designing and creating a series of sculptures made out of shirts and representing different concepts in mathematics. The shirt has been chosen because it is an iconic and familiar item of clothing and because it also represents the formality of the (largely male) mathematical world.

This project is funded by ASCUS, the Art Science Collaborative, and aims to bring together artists and scientists in new innovative collaborations. The Mathematician’s Shirts will be exhibited in a location not traditionally associated with either artists or scientists, such as a shop window on the High Street, to encourage the public to engage with both the artistic and mathematical ideas behind the sculptures.”

do check it out!

Posted in Uncategorized

wheatpasting on 9th street

december 12, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized

the ultimate in “textile” merchandise that contains not a stitch of needlework

from the amazing nick cave’s meet me at the center of the earth exhibit, how about the most exciting water bottle a person could have?

or a couple of the best punching bags?

Posted in Uncategorized

no knitted stitches in this knitted dress!

ben and i were in the coffee shop this morning when we saw a young woman in this dress.

i asked if i might get a close-up. sure, it’s a “knit” fabric, but the “stitches” which make the surface design are trompe l’oeil! i asked if it was purchased new or old, and the wearer told me she had just gotten it at a boutique called… delia? (ben said he thought he’d seen the store at king of prussia mall maybe.) anyway — interesting!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

another stitchless sighting: collages of ann irwin at the michener museum

i was not supposed to be taking any pictures (said the guard). thus, the rather crappy quality. but i wished to note that the collages by the artist ann irwin — which we saw in doylestown at the michener museum this past weekend — had some components of needlework charting worked into them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment