amazing people, books + poetry, Inspirations

Adiós, Gabo

Marquez

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Humanity has lost one of its brightest lights. Heartbroken, today, to hear the news of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s passing. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was 17, and it set the rest of my life on fire. Both beacon and doorway, it set me off on a quest to make beauty, integrity, and the magic of the everyday world a part of my life.

cien años de soledad

You will never grow old. You will never be forgotten. We will speak your name with love and longing, always. Live forever in the dreams pursued by those whose lives you entered and altered.

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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I experience a visceral delight whenever I see anything made by mad genius Jesse Reno. A real “Artist’s Artist”, and one of my absolute favorites, he is often grouped with the Outsider Art (a.k.a. Art Brut) movement, an artistic environment I find compelling, irresistible, alive and of-the-moment. Abstract narratives. Contemporary primitivism. A large and strong dictionary of symbols and icons that come together to form maps of Reno’s wisdom and experiences. Unapologetically personal and confrontational and courageous.

In addition to being a brilliant painter, Jesse composed, recorded, and produced all the music.

This video is over 20 minutes long, though I always find myself wishing it would go on forever. I could spend the rest of my life just watching Jesse paint. Every one of his books is a must-have.

Inspirations, music + film, my friends

Mishka Adams : : Songs from the Deep, The Philippines Tour

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjyJyB2M_fs

Mishka sings a song by Marcelo Andrade, Razao de ser.

How I wish I could be in Manila to hear Mishka unveil her new album! Who  knows, it might still happen… If you’re in the Philippines in February, do try and make it to one of these gigs…the album launch of Songs From The Deep at no less than the iconic 70s Bistro on Anonas would be the most awesome event, of course (Oh my gawd, oh my gawd, it’ll be amaaaazing!), but any gig where Mishka and Ben play live will be a huge party and promises to become a night to remember!

via Miska Adams Music

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craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderers: Chloe Giordano

Chloe Giordano

I’m trying to keep up a sort of regular ‘feature’ on über embroiderers on The Smallest Forest: These are the big kids, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…that runts like me long to play with, but will never even exist in the same universe with. *stabs herself with a #24 chenille* Oh, crewel world!

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Chloe Giordano

Admiring Chloe Giordano’s fine handiwork this morning: delicate little animals rendered in minute embroidery stitches and subtle colors, miniature 3D forms that don’t sacrifice any detail or cut corners in the making. They are quite dazzling, in a calm and self-possessed way…the mark of a professional.

Chloe is an illustrator, like many of the über embroiderers I’ve featured here, and I continue to be intrigued by the slightly different ‘feel’ of embroidered works produced by artists who have come to the craft from some other area of the visual arts, using thread and stitches as though they were paints and pens. Their work seems to be less constrained by the rules that one tends to follow when trained strictly as an embroiderer. I like the freedom with which these visual artists manipulate thread, and the expressiveness that their stitches have. I’ve also noticed that they tend to stick to simple stitches…no fancy, exotic knotted and looped moves that stand out on the fabric.

In traditional embroidery it sometimes seems that the medium is the message and not a lot of imagination or creativity goes into the actual design (pay a visit to the craft pavilion at any Royal Show and you will see the judges flipping fairly boring embroidery designs over to inspect and fuss over the threadwork on the back). These contemporary approaches to the craft allow the subject to shine, and have stitching play a supporting role (not that any of this nitpicking matters, they are all beautiful, wonderful, and our lives could use more of both approaches!)

Here’s a portion of the brief FAQ on her blog page:

How did you learn to embroider/sew?

I’ve learned mostly from trial and error, usually I’ll draw out what I want to sew first and try to work out in the sketch how I would stitch to get the effect I want. I also try to look at work I admire and figure out how they did it – this especially helpful when I’m working on something 3D

How long does a piece take you?

Anything from a couple of days to 2-3 weeks. Usually the planning stage takes the most time, once I’ve got everything hammered out the actual sewing doesn’t take long.

What materials do you use?

I mostly sew on an off white calico, if its dyed I use powder dyes. Generally I used embroidery thread for text and sewing thread for everything else, but it’s not set in stone.

Where/what did you study?

I studied Illustration at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.

Have a look at Chloe’s Tumblr, and keep an eye on her (hopefully only momentarily empty) ETSY shop  for more work by this sensitive and soulful young artist.

Found via Mr X Stitch

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uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

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craftiness, Inspirations, uber embroiderers

über embroiderer : : Mister Finch

Textile Toadstool by Mister Finch

These are the big kids, the superstars, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…

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You know, I wish I could start this post with “I’m jealous of Mister Finch…” because I am, I really am, but that opening line is totally the domain of The Jealous Curator, who has the best artist feature blog name and trademark opening line in the world.

So I will have to content myself with telling you that I am dumbfounded by Mister Finch’s delicate and slightly dark or melancholy textile creatures.

I’m a bit late to the party—these days, his beautiful furry moths, bumble bees, poor little dead birds, awesome spiders, and his frilled and rustic mushrooms are finding their way into Anthropologie stores and Selvedge magazine. He’s a stitching superstar, baby, and many of you have probably seen his breathtakingly beautiful work before, on less gawky blogs than mine.

Not me. I was just doing a routine internet search for fabric fish, because I’m currently designing my own pattern for a stuffed fish and wanted to see what had been done on the subject, how people had tackled details like fins or gusseted heads. Somewhere amongst all the dross I caught sight of some dreamy, iridescent fish that seemed far better than all the rest of the cartoonish fish out there, and I followed the image to Mister Finch’s web portfolio.

Soft Sculpture Fish Made From Textiles and Translucent Plastic

His many, many wonderful fabric sculptures make me so very happy—I’m delighted simply that he is there, with all his genius for making patterns of three-dimensional forms (and an impeccable eye for decorative detail), his devotion to perfection and to getting things exactly right, his uncompromising dedication to pushing the made object so that it realises the artistic vision—they also make me green with envy, but I will master that unworthy and self-destructive feeling!

More impossibly, he’s also very cute. AND he’s penned a sweet, funny little “About” page that makes me wish he were my brother, or at least somebody I could send postcards to, and who would send postcards back.

My name is Finch – it’s actually my surname… everyone calls me it and I like it.
I’ve called my business Mister Finch so its clear from the start that I’m a man and one that sews.

We are a bit thin on the ground but we are out there!

You couldn’t possibly move to see his portfolio quickly enough…it’s a feast for both senses and sensibilities. He also keeps a blog, and an ETSY shop (probably never stocked with creations for long, his pieces must fly out the door as soon as they are posted, and it’s no wonder, really.) Tarry not here! Go, quickly! You must meet the fabulous Mister Finch!


Have you seen my other Über Embroiderer posts?

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Darwin, Australia, Exhibits, Inspirations, music + film, my friends

Sunday

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Last Sunday I sat the gallery at Tactile Arts for Marita Albers’ most recent exhibition, The Last Chance Saloon.

With six hours to kill, I took along a grocery bag of paints and small canvases (just painting backgrounds at this stage) and my camera and tripod, to document Marita’s work (at her request).

Six hours is plenty of time to walk round and round the white walls, getting to know Marita’s paintings intimately. She is one of my favorite painters, and I believe that I would have been a fan of hers regardless of whether I knew her personally or not. Her paintings are both playful and a little bit strange; she also makes the act of painting look so confident and effortless. It’s a lot of work, I’m sure, but looking at paintings from up-close it’s impossible to find signs of a struggle.

She’s also incredibly prolific and I suspect that she lives and breathes this art: I can see her stealing a bit of time to paint a flower or bird onto the canvas during the day’s all-too-few free moments, and then painting more intensely deep into the night when everyone else is asleep. She inspires me so much.

These were my favorites:


Stepped outside for a ciggy break at some point, and heard the loud live-band music coming from the Ski Club across the way. Boy & Bear’s Blood to Gold came on, and I remember thinking “Wow, that’s a really good rendition of the song, that band’s totally nailed it.” Found out later that it had, in fact, been Boy & Bear singing their own song, and tickets to see them at the Ski Club were $70. Wowowow.

Locked the gallery up at four, and went to the Stokes Hill Wharf with my friend (who is also my current boss) for dinner and a few beers. We traded stories of adventure and spirit, and watched other people throw hot chips (er, french fries) to the plump seagulls. I always find myself wondering whether all that starch and saturated fat affects the health of these birds…

gull

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