@TaylorSwift13 – An Embroidered Taylor Swift Tweet

Taylor Swift 1989 Tweets Hand Embroidered

@TaylorSwift13 – An Embroidered Taylor Swift Tweet

This is a hand embroidered copy of a tweet posted by Taylor Swift in October 2014.

I hand embroidered Taylor’s tweet using cotton thread on a cotton ground.

It looks like Taylor’s original tweet has received a couple more retweets since I embroidered it!

I’ve been thinking about ideas relating to permanence within my work lately. The notion of making a tweet physical, tangible seemed quite interesting and so this is something of a little sketch to help me understand how to process some of these ideas.

Taylor Swift 1989 Tweets as Art & Contemporary Embroidery

The Elder Tree

https://vimeo.com/125673578

The Elder Tree by Moth Rah & Layla Holzer

The Elder Tree‘ is the new single from London based musician Moth Rah (aka Cassandra Solon Parry).

The song, described as a dark folk lament, is taken from Moth Rah’s new Wild Wedding EP which is available from her Bandcamp page here.

I had a hand in the creation of the music video (above) for ‘The Elder Tree’ which was conceived by illustrator and puppeteer Layla Holzer. Layla directed this short film and created all of the puppets and props whilst I took up the role of the cameraman to film her performance with these puppets.

You can find out more about Moth Rah and Layla’s work on their respective websites:
www.mothrahmusic.com
www.laylaholzer.com

Alaina Varrone’s Risque Erotic Embroidery

Embroidered Erotic Art

Alaina Varrone’s Risque Erotic Embroidery

Alaina Varrone is an artist from Connecticut, USA. She states that she was ‘born to a family of weirdos and storytellers, and she uses this natural creativity to tell her own stories in thread’.

I love the attitude of these embroideries. They’re often risqué without being grotesquely explicit, and there’s a humour on the surface of the images that belies the serious messages that are embedded within these little narrative scenarios. This works to lure you in before you get enveloped in her unique narrative worlds.

Alaina Varrone Fibre Artist

Contemporary Embroidery

Check out more of Alaina’a work on her website: www.alainavarrone.com

“NSFW” Exhibition Photos

exhibition of contemporary embroidery and puppetry

“NSFW” Exhibition Photos

My solo exhibition at The Sho gallery has now ended. Thank you to all those who made it down to the gallery. The feedback from the show was overwhelmingly positive and the work prompted some excellent discussions!

You can view a couple of images of the exhibition below, and you can also listen to me talking about some of the work I was exhibiting on Radio Cardiff here.

Subversive cross stitch exhibition at The Sho gallery

Contemporary puppetry video featuring glove puppets

Subversive cross stitch exhibition

NSFW Cross Stitch Boobs

Embroidering Photographs of the Dead

Embroidering Photographs of the Dead

There are a number of artists working with embroidery and appropriated imagery at the moment. Many of these artists make use of old (‘vintage’) photographs.

Following on from some new work I’ve been creating it’s interesting to note how these images are received. They are frequently regarded as aesthetically pleasing, commentators and bloggers draw our attention to the way in which the brightly coloured threads, and often geometric forms and straight lines, bring vibrancy to these black and white or sepia images.

Artists and commentators also comment on the way in which these photographs are transformed into something new; giving them a new lease of life even.

It’s not only the color of the thread that stands out against these old monochromatic images, but it’s form as well. Thread is tactile. It punctures and protrudes from the surface of flat photographic image.

Vintage embroidered photographs by Maurizio AnzeriMaurizio Anzeri – Leopold

Julie Cockburn is one such artist who is described by Sean O’Hagan in The Guardian as an artist who “obliterates the faces with embroidery – and injects them with new life”.

According to Nandita Raghuram the artist herself says that she is “perhaps adding what seems to be hidden there or missing, unspoken”. By stitching over parts of these photographs the artist is creating her own narratives. She takes away a piece of the original image, hiding it beneath, and replacing it with her own stitches.

While Cockburn embroiders geometric cages around the heads of the people pictured in the photographs that she finds, Maurizio Anzeri (pictured above) creates more organic looking mask-like forms with thread. O’Hagan says of these images that “here, the poignancy that attends all discarded photographs – remnants of another time, another life of which we know nothing – is literally covered over”.

Mana Morimoto embroidered photographs Embroidered photograph of Frida Khalo by Mana Morimoto

It’s interesting to note that the commentary on these works is wholly positive; the photographs are “given a new lease of life” by the embroidery, they are “brought to life”, “given a new sense of vibrancy”.

Yet these photographs have all been defaced, and in many instances the identity of the subjects has been erased by these artists’ interventions. Cockburn admits that she gets a rush of adrenalin when starting a new piece –

it’s an exciting moment when the intervention starts and I commit to the defacement.

Perhaps it’s the transgressive nature of the act of defacement that causes this adrenalin rush? After all, knowing that one is breaking the rules can be exhilarating!

Embroidered fashion magazine pageEmbroidered photograph by Jose Romussi

Somehow, the knowledge that these photographs were created outside of our current time allows us to detach ourselves from them.

Photographs are ubiquitous today. We are constantly bombarded with new images through media, and social media channels. As soon as images are posted up on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts they’re outdated already, lost to the constant stream of new updates. So how long do we spend looking at these images? Do we ever really consider them fully, if at all, beyond the initial aesthetic impact?

So if we have learned to treat photographs so fleetingly is it a surprise that these ‘vintage’ images are regarded as little more than a vehicle for artists to create something new? After all these photographs have been forgotten about, lost to the stream of time have they not? Living memories of the subjects of these photographs will be few and far between and so there is no one to offend by defacing these images of the dead. The photographs are treated as objects rather than memorials.

How far back then do we have to travel in order to detach ourselves from these images, to de-personalise them in order to consider them aesthetically or artistically?

Spike on Illustration Radio

Illustration Radio 02-04-2015 by Spike_Dennis on Mixcloud

The team behind Illustration Radio very kindly invited me to join them on air this last week to discuss the work I’m currently showing at The Sho galllery.

We were joined on air by renowned Welsh painter Shani Rhys James who currently has a major exhibition at the National Library of Wales.

This made for an interesting contrast in terms of approaching the creation of work from within and without. You can listen to this broadcast above.

Illustration Radio is a new venture by Amelia Johnstone in collaboration with Pitch on Radio Cardiff 98.7FM.

Illustration Radio expands the discussion around art and design relative to society, politics, morality and every other issue talk-aboutable, encouraging a dialogue between the context of the ‘image’, in the broadest sense of the word, and the imagination and knowledge of the viewer.

Illustration Radio is all about the encounter; imagery which we stumble upon, imagery that we listen to, and even converse with.

You can listen to Illustration Radio every Thursday on Radio Cardiff 98.7FM, or else you can listen to archived broadcasts on their Mixcloud page here.

VectorDrift Glitch Art Melting Unicorn

VectorDrift Glitch Melting Unicorn

https://vimeo.com/121387268

This is a little sketch I created as I continue my glitch art experiments. The still image of the unicorn glove puppet was distorted using a Processing sketch called VectorDrift written by textile/glitch artist Philip Stearns which is available to download via GitHub.

The Processing sketch allows you to distort a still image. In this instance I used a still image from a film of my unicorn glove puppet that was shot against a green screen allowing my to key out the background and overlay the image over another clip.

Philp Stearns has been creating glitch inspired textile art for some time. You can checkk out a lot of his work on his Tumblr blog Year of The Glitch here.