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Cosmic momentum and the groove of being naked!

When I set out on the course of developing my style of hand embroidery, I did admittedly have a long history of naked-ity (sort of) via my career as a model. I was often booked as a dress maker’s mannequin and thus would spend HOURS standing very still while some designer pinned pattern pieces around (and sometimes to) me. Ouch. My contracts specifically stipulated that I would not appear naked, but there are plenty of photos made possible by well placed shadows and conveniently angular hands and arms!  (maybe someday I’ll scan ’em if prompted). But when I left the industry back in the 90s, I never dreamed I would again be under the lights +camera. And this time, there’s ACTION!!

As I ( & dreamy tech guy husband) have been putting the finishing touches on the credits for the Sinister Stitch Chronicles, it’s been unavoidable that I, am indeed again, THE talent. But in a Mickey & Judy “let’s put on a show” sort of way.

the remarkable thing is that when I was working for other clients, I had no vested interest in the product (except for maintaining my reputation for professionalism and dependability — 75% of the successful model’s career is simply showing up, prepared, always early!). As I’ve begun to develop my own Freedom of Stitch products in artwork, retail, and tutorials or workshops, I see the “product” side very differently.  First, the product is… well… me. If I am not ON, if I am not evolving designs and ideas and turning them into product, then there simply is NO business.  That gives me a whole new boatload of respect for all those brave souls who set out to create and promote their special thingy thing. 

Second, as I have to wear all the hats including inspiration, design, innovation, development, marketing, and delivery (whew) I often get swamped into one aspect or another of the “product process” and lose track of the big picture. I’m learning more and more that it isn’t necessarily WHAT I’m doing (or specifically working on) that is key. It is more about ME and how to make my vision and skill set available to my students and fellow artists.  What I want most is to SERVE. To make my own journey, my own discoveries, my own successes and failures into something useful for others to inform or navigate their journey.

SO — back to the Chronicles. As I began to develop the idea of turning the project into a teaching platform, I suspected that it would one day morph into video. But when the MO Fiber Artists Assn gave me the opportunity to develop a workshop for their Innovations in Textiles 9: IT9 event (St Louis MO October 2011, 2 days), I knew the time was right to get out the tech!

The first attempt was rather… primitive. I made great use of an embroidery hoop as a camera-suspension-frame (haha) but didn’t get the result I’d hoped for – it wobbled and eventually fell down (!!!). So much for Duct tape.

Luckily, perseverance paid off.

We set the tripod on top of the desk like an eight foot tall spider looming over me…. and GOT my footage.

Everything from creating design boards to hold my palettes of DMC threads, to the process of  developing the look of each poison –

Incidentally – the foxglove is coming to fruition BEAUTifully as I’ve added several  touches of Liquitex soft bodied acrylic paint mixed with the Liquitex pouring medium which gives the paint a glossy hard candy sheen!  Whether working on fabric OR paper, this medium and paint combo is REALLY muscling up to the tests of the Chronicles!

Honestly, I was never a fan of acrylics, but I’m willing to experiment and this definitely paid off. I’m intending to use Liquitex blue soft bodied acrylic paint mixed with either Pouring Medium and/or String Gel  to create the water effect in the background for Water Hemlock — SOO delicious! The mediums extend the life of the wet paint and give it an amazing fluidity.

As I get deeper into the substance of this project, I’m realizing that the Sinister Stitch Chronicles as a series is not just another embroidery show. It’s about my journey through creativity and manifestation, through product experimentation, and ultimately through the hills and valleys of a life in art. So how did all this get me naked?? Easy!

It seems a lifetime ago that I sketched and stitched a little red haired girl on a pin cushion, charging fearlessly into the world armed with nothing more than a whirlwind of thread and her needle — as I’ve taken the journey, I’ve realized that she is, most certainly, ME!

So when it came time to assemble the “characters” in the Chronicles, the Fearless Stitcher was front and center. As such, I will be making a co-starring appearance with her in the credits for the Sinister Stitch Chronicles… I can’t deny that much of the vision of the Chronicles is owed to my cinematic savvy husby who, after MANY years in both the performing theater and musical arts, has brought tech adept-itude, direction, and most importantly, VISION to this project in a way that I can’t overstate. Again, I AM the story, so most times it’s impossible for me to see the threads. But that is the beauty of a great creative partnership — he sees the threads and the path as I create and blaze it, and together…  THAT is a hell of a story!

And there you have it. A former product model becomes the product, and an inspiration in mixed media embroidered poison becomes a story.

We should be finished with the credits within the week and have episode one up soon — damn cancer really gets in the way (*wink*) but the Fearless never falter (we just go a bit slower)!

So for this week, I’m developing the Kickstarter Fundraising proposal. I need at least $5000US to get this thing off the ground, manifested, and delivered to the MO Fiber Arts event in October.  I’ll have to be able to provide proper framing and rent something large enough to transport the show (the Womandrake frame is 5ft X 4ft) as well as the supplies and kits for a 2day workshop. I’ll also be editing the Chronicles episodes into a full length feature for Holiday 2011!!  So much to do…

I’m also developing a collection of Spring wearables for Se Faire Belle — a lovely local boutique who couldn’t resist retailing a few Fearless Stitcher trinkets:

Including the Nesty Brooch and Organic Charm Bracelet:

Though my allegiance lies firmly with the mixed media embroidery crowd, I have developed a bit of a dangerous liason with wire work. In the words of my OWN leader (Dawn – you know who you are) “wire is JUST like thread… it just stays where you want it too without too much fuss”. Truer words were never spoken. And so, to keep the pantry full I unashamedly wrangle the wire for retail, and happily discover even MORE things that my threads might do… THATs where the Cosmic Momentum comes in. I’ve never even considered making jewelry but when the opportunity presented itself, I dove in — and sure enough, I recognized that though the medium was different from the stitching I knew so well, the “language” of creating shapes translated embroidery into wire effortlessly. Now that’s cool!!

Believe it or not, this bracelet is actually created out of a bullion knot stitch!!

Here they are on the Roots at Dusk in groups of two and three. Such a simple thing to change up your vision…

And moving between tools and techniq ues has given my true love (mixed media stitch) a huge push of energetic dreamy momentum.

Next time you’re stuck, bored, uninspired, frustrated… reach for something you’ve never tried. Look with eyes of possibility instead of passing up something you wouldn’t normally do.

Need a little boost from the past (& a secret look back to how the poison theme got launched via the Mandrake circa 2009)?

C’mon, Your art sucks and you know it – link

And the circle continues…

2 comments to Cosmic momentum and the groove of being naked!

  • well, you are a BEAUTIFUL product 🙂 love your hair, and truly and inspiration. have you got a link to your kickstarter page? I have enjoyed watching your journey thus far and how things evolve.
    I have found it odd and funny when some people thought I had given up painting because I was now doing embroidery, but they are all part of the same journey, OUR journey.
    By the way I love that the bracelet is a bullion knot stitch.
    cheers and poo to cancer

  • Victoria

    I’m shooting the Kickstarter “intro-to-my-project” video this weekend and will finish the sponsorship structure Monday. As such, I’m hoping to launch the whole stitch-ilada by first week in April-ish. I’m going slow… but GOING! WHEEE! Will keep you posted and… THANKS!

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