Welcome to the blog of Spike Dennis; an artist and sometime curator. Trained in London Spike has exhibited widely, from London to Los Angeles, and has delivered projects from Cardiff to Stockholm, for organisations including the Illustration Research network and Cardiff Design Festival amongst Others.
MADAMI’MADAM Embroidered Samplers by Elaine Reichek
Elaine Reichek is an artist based in New York City. Much of the research underpinning MADAMI’MADAM was completed as a part of a residency that she undertook at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, in 2001.
MADAMI’MADAM is a group of sixteen hand-embroidered samplers referring to Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is a common subject in art history and in the less well-known tradition of pictorial samplers. I borrowed images from both sources… For texts I quoted from a wide range of writers and works—the Bible, but also the works of Milton, Mary Shelley, Charles Darwin, Ray Bradbury, David Cronenberg, and so on.
I was thrilled to come across Elaine’s work as she makes use of the format of old pictorial embroidered samplers like I’ve been doing for my Unicorn Dating embroideries.
The series explores ideas surrounding religion, reproduction, life and death. Throughout this series the artist refers to the canons of art history and the traditions of embroidered samplers whilst interweaving references to popular contemporary culture such as in the Blade Runner sampler (below).
The use of references from both contemporary and historical contexts is of particular interest as is the way in which she has created a series which is weighted towards thematic rather than aesthetic considerations.
Elaine has produced a wide range of works, many of which make use of stitch and bear references to the traditions of the media. You can find more of her work at www.elainereichek.com
The Crimea Cup ’14 – Hand Embroidered Subbuteo Cloth
This embroidered Subbuteo cloth is a little aside I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. It has been hand embroidered with cotton thread with a design that takes inspiration from football tactics boards.
The markers that have been sewn into the cloth take their colours and layout from the Russian (white, blue & red) and Ukrainian (yellow & blue) flags. The choice of countries represented was inspired by current activities taking place in that part of the world following the annexing of the Crimea by Russia.
The Subbuteo cloth is an old Chad Valley item and so is a little worn. The pictures show the cloth laid out on a table as is the norm with a Subbuteo football cloth although I feel that the cloth probably needs stretching and mounting.
Miniature Architectural thread Sculptures by Takahiro Iwasaki
These miniature architectural thread sculptures by Takahiro Iwasaki are really quite amazing. The picture at the bottom really gives you a sense of scale and shows just how tiny these creations are.
That they’re also made of thread is also staggering since it’s not a rigid materials one would normally consider suitable for making structures like these. In fact the big wheel structure below is made from hair.I am assuming that the tread has had to be treated in order to enable it to stand up like this.
Glitch Knit is a project by Tokyo based artists Nukeme, So Kanno and Tomofumi Yoshida. For this project the team hacked a Brother knitting machine which is used to transform glitch data into something physical and beautiful.
Glitch is data or digital information that is damaged or corrupted. You might have seen this visualised if you have ever come across a digital image (.jpg or similar) that had been damaged and presented blocks or bands of colour across parts of, or all of the image.
There is a small community of visual artists who are using glitch to generate art and textiles. Whilst much of this makes use of corrupted files artists are also finding ways in which to deliberately generate glitch data from a variety of sources.
Nukeme describes the knitting machine hack project as both the “corruption of data and the corruption of the machine” but sees both acts of corruption as preparing both elements for play. The team behind the hack also damaged the structure of the knit which results in the holes you can see in the knitting that has been outputted by the machine.
I’ve become more aware of means of integrating digital and traditional methods of production since starting my cross stitch project six months ago. Whilst I’m using digital platforms to generate content for my work I’ve not taken that step into digital production but ideas about ways to engage glitch have started to crop up.
This hacked knitting machine is available to use at FabLab Shibuya and details of the hack are published on Github should you wish to attempt to hack your own machine.
I drew this Nyan Cat cross stitch pattern up at the request of my little sister. She asked me if I could make her a pattern for a cat to stitch herself. Given that she’s never had a go at cross stitch before I decided a nice kitsch Nyan Cat would be a better place to start than some photo realistic pattern requiring hundreds of different coloured threads.
Over the last couple of weeks various members of our collective, the Pack of Wolves, have been coming together to help Layla with various aspects relating to the filming of her new film – The Erl King.
After a weekend out filming on location last week we took the studio to film a few of the final shots. One of which required an animal to be skinned… or at least that’s what should appear to be happening on the film at least.
The work around that was proposed was to use a piece of meat from the supermarket and a piece of animal skin that was sourced online. Being our resident boy who sews it was left to me to stitch the skin onto the skin of the meat so that it might look as if all are one on screen.
I have to say that it was a very satisfying sewing session if all very surreal.