Olek @ Astor Place Cube
Astor Place, NYC 10/3/11

Earlier in the week, Guerilla street artist Olek adorned the Astor Place cube (a scultpural staple of Lower Manhattan) with an enormous crochet covering. The text at the top of the cube reads “I’M STILL PROUD TO SAY WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING.” Sadly, the city removed the cover within a few hours– days of crochet looping destroyed in a matter of minutes. Sigh. If you missed the (extremely) temporary public artwork, check out this video of the pre-dawn installation and see how one covers an unwieldy sculpture in what’s essentially an oversized afghan.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Olek wrapped something in her signature camouflage. With the help of a crochet hook, she’s covered the Wall St. Bull, a bike under the Brooklyn Bridge and an entire studio apartment– just to name a few!

Astor Place Cube
The Cube: Before & After
olek screen grab
Olek covers the cube (screen grab from video)
Olek in her installation at the Christopher Henry Gallery (2011)
Olek installation at the Christopher Henry Gallery (2011)
sculptures- olek
Wall Street Bull (2010)
crocheted piano
crocheted piano & player
food & food-ish

Bent Objects by Terry Border

Terry Border‘s quirky photography imagines the secret life of everyday objects. What happens to the snack food in your pantry or the office supplies on your desk when you leave the room? I would best describe his work as always humorous, often ironic and bizarre, and sometimes disturbing. Terry’s new collection of photographs is due out in stores tomorrow! Bent Object of My Affection explores the twisted love lives of everyday objects.

Here are some of my favorites.

sylvia muffin
Sylvia Muffin put her head in the oven.
An American in Paris
Zombie Nuts

Terry Border has also dabbled in animation and adult humor.  His other blog Really Bent Objects is the more graphic, black sheep cousin of Bent Objects.


evolving embroidery

I’ve always pigeonholed embroidery into two categories: the traditional and the cute & crafty, both of which I like. The traditional being embellished textiles such as the dainty dishtowels and napkins found in thrift stores or in your grandmother’s linen closet. “Home sweet home” pillows also fall into this category. Cute & crafty can be found on Etsy– embroidery hoops with whimsical, witty designs are good examples. But lately I’ve been seeing something different: photorealistic embroidery. Artists are taking needlework to a whole new level. Take a look at Daniel Kornrumpf‘s painstakingly detailed embroidered portraits.

focal length face
Focal Length by Daniel Kornrumpf

The image above is actually a detail of the piece. The tiny embroidered portrait (about the size of a postcard) rests in the center of a much larger linen canvas 42″ long x 36″ wide. This photo gives you a better sense of the dimensions.

piece in gallery

And then there is French artist Cécile Jarsaillon who embroiders over photographs with satin thread.  Her subject matter can range from the mundane to the graphic.

cecile jarsaillon
La Piqure by Cecile Jarsaillon
La Femme Inanimee by Cecile Jarsaillon

via embroidery as art

London-based artist Inge Jacobsen stitches over magazine covers, fashions photos and newspapers to transform mass-produced commercial images into unique, handmade works. Here are two pieces from her series of cross-stitched Vogue covers.

Vogue magazine stitched over by Inge Jacobsen
Vogue magazine stitched over by Inge Jacobsen

(click here for the artist statement)


Put an urchin on it!

sea urchin shells

I came across these amazing sea urchin shells in Manhattan’s Flower District. Sea urchins are pretty amazing, brainless (literally) creatures. When not roaming the oceans of the world, they might be found in fancy floral arrangements. I bought a dozen shells for no other reason than to stare at them. While obsessing over them to my boyfriend, I proclaimed the urchin the “new bird.”  The next day he sent me this painting (made on his iPhone using the Brush app, AKA virtual finger painting).

Put an urchin on it!
iPhone art by Sean McBride

I went with it.

sea urchin

And more of the amazing sea urchin!

Ashley Harwood urchin ornaments
sea urchin ornaments by Ashley Harwood
sea urchin sculpture
"Mothership" by Rachel Joynt
urchin chopsticks
sea urchin lamp (chopsticks cast in resin)
sea urchin by George Shaw
"Echinus Esculentus or Common Sea Urchin" copper engraving by George Shaw, 1809

Making at the Maker Faire

I spent this past weekend at the 2011 World Maker Faire, a massive DIY festival held on the original site of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens. Maker Faire celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the do-it-yourself mind-set, which means tons of hacks and how-tos. My favorites! I learned how to solder for a dollar, watched a life size mouse trap, listened to musical art robots, coveted laser cut felt jewelry, and gawked at MetroCard Man.

The highlight of the fair may have been learning how to knit in 20 minutes. Seriously, in less than a half hour I was transforming a ball of yarn into rows of stitches!  (Full disclosure: I still need to learn how to cast on, but I can do a mean knit stitch.) An entire area was devoted to fiber arts instruction where anyone could learn how to embroider, cross-stitch, knit or crochet.  You simply told a volunteer what you wanted to learn, they grabbed a few starter materials and sent you on your way to a craft expert.  I had a one-on-one lesson with a woman who owned a yarn store for ten years. She was so great. I was knitting all the way home.


learn to knit

Yarn over
Yarn Over Knitting Letterpress Linocut Print by PS Press

And here’s another knitting-on-the-subway illustration by Sophie Blackball, a Brooklyn-based artist who recently completed a project illustrating a collection of Craigslist Missed Connections postings. These fleeting love stories are painted  in Chinese ink and watercolor.  I love them!

girl knitting on subway train
Knitting Girl on 7 Train to Sunnyside