thank you, thank you!

i've been strolling around teh nets, enjoying other bloggers' posts about the from the tongue opening. thanks especially to nicole, who recognized and hugged me within five seconds of me walking in the door and calmed my nerves and set the tone for the whole evening, joetta (i don't think i've ever been called an "energetic force" before in my entire life! how cool is that?) and ellen - don't we look so happy??! 'cause we were!! and laila who took a break from lai grai to come see! i met and ogled the work of a number of other artists but i am challenged to write more without cliches.

btw seeing other bloggy pics taken with the new iphone has sorta convinced me that the hordes of people waiting outside the pei-like apple store in nyc weren't completely insane. my iphone pics are, for once, not shaken in shake it! or stirred in swankolab, which probably shows my waning fascination with iphonography. (i couldn't help myself... color is much better now.)

but what am i rambling on about? i'm still doing some post-trip processing and puttering around the old farmhouse, and sitting with a hazy sense that *life is good*. nyc seemed so much friendlier, happier, and more humane than when i was last there thirteen years ago. and my nc home suits me so much better than that sprawling hellmouth (known as atlanta) from whence we escaped. sunday i woke up to room service cafe' creme and croissant, today i wake up to guineas hunching along outside my bedroom window. it's all so, so good.

and nothing to do with this opening or this trip, but i think that stitching has given me back my life. i've been able to re-constitute myself, stitch by stitch, and create a life i love. and it's beautiful that the stitchers i've bumped into online and admired are actually part of an incredibly supportive community. not in some cheesy community building speak, but for realz.

and thank you dear lilly for hosting us in nyc and sharing your birthday with us. and of course mum, my petite sophisticate travel trooper and medicine woman. i must stop all this gushing now. words are so powerful and so feeble, very necessary but never quite enough.


the opening was great fun and terribly overwhelming. we had around 200 people come through, and i even sold a piece! i'm still processing all of it and have no idea what to feel, think, say. more pics on http://hotelhadleystudios.com.



i'm feeling so stressed lately, and tired. i know it's that i'm forgetting to eat. and i'm not used to juggling so much. i've become so accustomed to the quiet, simple life, but i'm usually energized by new ventures. at least i can spin, which always centers me. this is new tailspun yarn and the beginnings of a shrug, or little sweater, depending..



it's been so busy, between going down to the hotel every day, getting settled there and trying to be productive, and also getting ready for our grand opening next week, planning for nyc the following week, and the usual critter-keeping. the lurkeys are grand, and at least one of them has a name.


the aura of art

i've been thinking about pricing as you all know, and that has led me to think about walter benjamin. i never thought he would stick with me after grad school - he's not the most entertaining writer (although i remember loving the arcades project). he wrote his famous work "the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction" in the early 20th century when art was just beginning to be mass distributed in prints.

he pondered what exactly it was that created the value of the "original" art work and why it should necessarily be worth more than a copy. he theorized that the original had been imbued with some sort of magical or religious significance and called this special something the work's "aura." but if you read the essay carefully and know that he was a good marxist, it seems that he meant this to be tongue-in-cheek. there really isn't an "aura" - it's an arbitrary system of value that's been assigned to the original, the rare, something called "art" - and that value system is inextricably linked with wealth and power. the mechanical reproduction of art made it available to everyone. one can only imagine what he would have thought of digital age! but the nazis made that impossible.

so i was thinking about those of us working from photographs, especially endlessly and instantly reproducible digital photographs - and re-interpreting them as fiber art. in some ways, it's the reverse of the process benjamin was describing - taking the copy and re-aura-izing it. even en embroidered pattern has something of this. the stitches give that same indexicality as the brush-stroke that lets you know the person, the artist or crafter, was really there. i guess this is nothing all that new since painters have long worked from photographs, which is another reason the whole logic of the "original" can be circular.

i've just been wondering why it is we stitch, beyond the beauty and enjoyment of it. what is it that's so compelling about this medium. the labor of it and time involved seems to have something to do with marking it as an original - and then the fact that it's typically a representational art, images or text but not often abstract - makes it seem very much like trying to fix something in memory, memorialize it, make it last. that's how i feel anyway. what do you think?


all dressed up..

my deconstructed fox, and other sexy things

he's hand stitched with embroidery floss, tatting thread, and handspun (Obama) llama, and i added some vintage silk and felt applique.

btw, check out our new website for hotel hadley studios! i still don't have the artists' pages built out yet. i was up most of last night with it and am in love with wordpress. but i'm not changing blogs again, nonono.

and joetta just posted an announcement of the artists selected for the "from the tongue" show. the work she chose for the exhibition card by bren ahearn is so incredible - check it out on the sidebar. it's bound to be an amazing show.


paranormal report

when sarah went into the hotel the other day, the bathroom mirror had fallen and shattered. but strangely, it was on the floor face-up, with all shards nearly in place. as if someone (?) had thrown it down. is this physically possible? i only hope the ghosts are not angry.

can we talk about pricing?

i know this is an uncomfortable subject. i hate mixing art and money. well, except when i buy art. but lately i've been obsessing about pricing because i have to put a number on my humble little piece i'm sending up to the Big City. and i have no clue what to base this on. i've done a ton of "market research" if that includes browsing embroidery on etsy and artist's websites, but there is no consistency.

certainly, the intricacy of a piece seems to be a big factor. but there are still many very detailed, lovely pieces on etsy for less than it costs to go out to lunch (a cheap lunch). then there are really very simple pieces with larger price tags to go with the big (artist's) names. should there really be this division between art and craft, production work and gallery work? of course not, but still, work has to find its way within some existing channels, and these channels seem to dictate the price.

so price is really dictated by what the market(s) will bear. on etsy, it doesn't bear much. and in galleries, how many buyers are out there for contemporary needlework? are there at least enough to buy all the great needlework, or are we in the process of creating this market?

i have no delusions that the market will bear what seems fair to me. how do i price my labor, my ideas, my sore fingers? by hours? size? dazzling technique? or perceived awesomeness? it would be nice to sell something some day, i guess, but i have no desire to give my shit away just so i can kill myself stitching faster for less than minimum wage. that's not cool. although i really do understand the temptation to price a piece affordably (and low enough that it might actually sell on etsy). surely all this is related to the feminist themes circling around in needlework debates, but i'm not awake enough to get into all that right now.

some good things: i just finished a freaking awesome new piece. i love it. it's *tiny* and it took *forever*. AND, we gathered up vintage letters for our "STUDIOS" sign from various etsy sellers. we're going to hang them below the existing old and cool "Hotel Hadley" sign. here are their pics (i know i should credit each seller - maybe i'll edit it to add them later).