I know I promised a blog full of pretty things tugging at your wallet holes, but after I started, I realized that besides writing snarky reviews of things I like in Chicago, there are about a milli other people and places I'd like to talk about, and unfortunately, or fortunately, they are not all for sale. Buying stuff is totally fun, and I definitely name it as one of my favorite pasttimes, but I have more for you.
What I have for you tonight mein lieben is a tale as old as time. Beautyyyyy and.......the BEEEEEEAAAASSSSSSTTTT! Just kidding! I'm not into that. Whenever I visit my parents in Michigan, I always try to get started learning some kind of craft. Every year I would make the trek home, and on the day before I left, I would try to learn how to sew something, (either on the machine or by hand), and I would always get pissed and impatient and forget about it until the next time I was home(although, somehow I managed to retain some of the basic sewing skills my mom taught me). This past Christmas was something different for me. I went home intent on learning how to do something, and actually keeping up with it so I could advance my skills and become totally awesome at it. Cut to: I am kicking some ass with my cuter than cute embroidery! Also, I'm designing my dress for my glam outing to see The Marriage of Figaro(GLAMOUR!!!)
It's nothing new here people that I love kitsch and mid century anything. Naturally I love embroidery because it is a centuries old skill(PLEASE BELIEVE! It is a total physical challenge!), but also, it keeps me in touch with practices included in the "women's only" club(AKA, I don't wear pants, I love garter belts, and I wear an apron when I clean). I honestly like it because it gives me something else to do with my time besides stare blankly at my TV for hours(I literally have been watching Inglourious Basterds on a loop for the last two days. I can't get enough of Landa!), but I have come to realize, that embroidery is a serious artform. SHOCKING UPDATE! Men like to embroider as well. Who knew!
My main basically for this post is to illuminate the few artists who are using embroidery as their medium. Many of them are women, but they use needle and thread as a painter would use oils and a brush. This isn't just for grandma's and cat ladies like me. These women and men, are using embroidery, deconstructing "women's work" and turning it into something provacative and undeniably interesting.
Andrea Dezso is one of my new personal heroes(with perhaps the exception being, the person who can design a baby bjorn I can put my cat in when I'm writing. Or a cat papoose? A little help here!). A few nights ago, while I was ferociously scanning the interwebz for embroidery related topics and photos, I stumbled across her work. My objective for this particular entry was to shine a light on a different kind of embroidery. I didn't want to just end up talking about The Dinner Party. Dezso's work, to me, was the beginning of what I was looking for. Her work displays a classic embroidery template, but her images are anything but kitsch. Initially I felt a little like I was taking a trip back to on old timey health class, only the moral lessons I was supposed to be learning were a tad disheartening. The structure of each of her pieces displays an enormous amount of skill and control. Lettering is totes HARD!!! Her execution is perfect,and I appreciate the amount of time she has spent here. My favorite piece is the Embroidered Heart. The silk stitching alone was enough to make me weak in the knees. Dezso's work is absolutely poking fun at the linen napkins and tablecloths of yesteryear, and why not?
Which reminds me...Orly Corgan sees Andrea Dezso's hand and raises her a Boticelli's worth of vaginas. Her work is hilarious in that she creates her own scenarios on TOP of a vintage piece of fabric or textile. It's like an exquisite corpse show. She's finishing the other side of the folded piece of paper! Even though Corgan and Deszo are working with a similar set of rebellion in mind, Corgan's work can take on a much cruder sentiment. Sure she knows how to embroider, but isn't it fun to fuck with people and make them think you're shit at it sometimes? Her work isn't perfect. LInes are disconnected, colors are a little off, figures are slightly disproportionate, but it doesn't distract you in the slightest. She's pushing your buttons, and if all you get out of it is naked people doing it at the circus, then, well... special delivery.
Don't think of it as a step backwards, we can all be in on the joke I promise.
When you take a step back and look at it objectively, the process is the same as painting, sculpture, or photography. The days of women's work are long gone, and now women AND the mens can express themselves through embroidery and each time I see it, it both surprises and excites me. I think of all the basic work I am doing on my own from old transfer patterns, and I think, "If I just keep practicing, I can make this into something really interesting and expressive," which I think is the Keymaster to the Art's Gatekeeper. When, as an artist, (and it doesn't matter what medium you choose to work in), you're able to find what truly speaks for you, it's like winning the lottery every day for the rest of your life or, for me, getting to go to Kristkindlemarkt every day for the rest of my life.
If we aren't able to understand where we came from, how are we supposed to progress? What these women and men are creating is far from cute, and even further from boring.
I hope that you enjoy them as well!
Until next time!
XOXO and This is basically what Timmy looked like when he was a baby!