As I was writing Hoopla, I became fascinated with the long tradition of Chinese hair embroidery ‘Moxiu’ and Victorian mourning jewelry which was often crafted with the hair of lost loved ones. Contemporary examples are always fascinating to me, so when Kate Kretz alerted me to her art show, I was instantly intrigued:
“This Sharp World…”, a solo exhibition by artist Kate Kretz, opens this week. The exhibition features embroideries made with human hair, edgy embroidery employing extensive stumpwork and dense layers of French Knots, as well as paintings incorporating embroidery and silverpoint drawings on found silver objects.
The exhibition will be on until June 2nd at at Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Miami
A visual catalog of work from the exhibition can be seen at
Kretz’s hair embroideries were featured in the “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery” exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC. Her embroidery has been reviewed / featured in the New York Times, Surface Design Magazine, 1626 Magazine, (Guangzhou, China), American Craft Magazine, Fiber Arts Magazine, and PASAJES DISEÑO, a Spanish Design Magazine, and chosen as the cover image for the “The Chaffey Review”, an LA-based literary magazine.
Kretz is best known for her 2006 painting, “Blessed Art Thou”, depicting Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary hovering above a Wal-Mart. The painting has appeared in every major newspaper in the world, all the major news networks, and continues to appear internationally in textbooks across disciplines.
Now this is a brilliant combination of cross-stitch techniques and yarn bombing:
In the same school as Ulrika Urdes’ public embroideries, not only does this woman create ‘street embroidery’, but she has also made patterns out of her designs and sells kits. I quote:
Now you are able to beautify your surroundings for your own: Here you can get the first Embroidery-Kit, which contains all the things you need, a light and weather-resistant rope, tie-wraps and a detailed instruction manual. It´s available in 4 different motives at Dawanda.
Traditional motifs of ducks, hearts, and flowers somehow look much more appealing when they are large and on iron.
I had a blast visiting Toronto, Brooklyn, and Winnipeg on the East Coast lag of the Hoopla Book Launch Tour. Here are a few photos from my trip:
In Toronto I visited the eclectic Kensington Market. There was a car turned into a garden and some interesting graffiti.
I also got to spend some quality time with Diane Yee, who has designed both of my books, and her cute son Sullivan. We ate chocolate-garlic ice cream (yes, you read that right), Korean food, and the most amazing salads at a restaurant called Hibiscus. We also visited the Textile Museum of Canada which has a really fun hands-on room where you can play with looms, test your fibre knowledge, and play with all sorts of textiles.
Beautiful embroideries at the textile museum.
Next up was the Toronto launch of Hoopla at the stunning Type Books on Queen Street West. Everything that I’d heard about this book store was accurate. It was beautiful and it had a well curated book selection.
I managed to eat a lot of wonderful Italian food in Toronto. Thanks to Jessie, Mike, Diane, and Alia for introducing me to some very good restaurants, including Terroni.
And, on my way to lunch with Alia, I noticed a young girl and her grandmother finger knitting on the Toronto subway.
Next up was Park Slope, Brooklyn where I fell in love with each and every brownstone.
Then I took off to Textile Arts for the Brooklyn Launch of Hoopla with artists Richard Saja, Iviva Olenick, Annie Coggan-Crawford and project designers Malarie Burgess and Erin Stanton.
Textile arts is a wonderful space.
The day following the event, I had an epic 14 hour walk around Manhattan.
Then it was back to Canada. Hello Winnipeg! Winnipeg was the friendliest place that I’ve ever been.
I arrived in the middle of their Nuit Blanche festival, an all night art party near the city art gallery. Both yarn bombing and embroidery were on-site.
The next day I met Takashi Iwasaki. We had an event together at the stunning McNally Robinson bookstore which is as epic as Powells in Portland and Strand in New York City.
Takashi’s embroidered works:
My days in Winnipeg concluded with some sight-seeing of the Osborne and Exchange Districts, and some of the best sushi that I’d ever had.
Next stop, San Francisco! If you are on the West Coast, please take a look at my San Mateo, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle event details on my book tour page and come out to stitch & bitch, listen to a talk, or just to say hi.
Hoopla is launched! Thanks to everyone who came out to our Vancouver event.
I’m on the road to Toronto for an event at Type Books on September 27th. Download the attached posters for details. Toront_TypeBooksHoopla
I’m kicking off the Hoopla book tour with a local event in White Rock, BC. As part of the Outside of the Box Fibre and Textile Festival, I will be giving a talk and presentation of unusual embroidery at the White Rock Public library. Download a full sized event poster with all of the details here. I’ve also been adding more event posters to my book tour page.
Hoopla was also mentioned in the October issue of Elle Canada! Allison Tunis’ amazing Bosom Buddies project (aka the nipple doilies) was a hit with the editors.
Laura Splan, profiled in Hoopla will be having a solo exhibition between September 30, 2011 – January 8, 2012
Laura Splan: Reformulations
Solo Exhibition in conjunction with Contemporary Art & Science
Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, WY
Opening Events – Friday, September 30, 2011
Artist Talks (Members) – 5:00pm | Opening Reception (Public) – 6:00pm
Iviva Olenick, also profiled in Hoopla, will be participating in several exhibitions in September.
curated by Peter Ketchum, opening Tuesday, September 20.
Featuring Brian Whitely, William S. Walker, Chris Georgalis, Misha Tyutyunik, Gem and Iviva Olenick
Opening reception, Tuesday, September 20, 6–9pm
TNC Gallery, 155 1st Avenue, NYC (between 9th–10th Streets)
At the end of September you can also join Iviva for the debut and preview of The Brooklyn Love Exchange at the Dumbo Art Festival. Between September 24-25, she will be stationed at 81 Front Street between 1-4pm and she wants you to come share your love story.
Iviva says, “I want to literally stitch you into my Brooklyn love map. To those of you who’ve provided sweet, funny, loving, hopeful, endearing stories of Brooklyn love, many thanks and please come see the pieces I’ve made in response.”
Books by Leanne Prain
Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti
Co-authored with Mandy Moore
Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery
Available now from Arsenal Pulp Press.
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