texture addict

So a texture addict walks into a gallery...... and has to keep her hands in her pockets so that she doesn't fondle the million dollar artworks.....

Guess who is the texture addict! Yup. Yours truly.

The gallery? Gagosian. The exhibit? Anselm Kiefer.

Gigantic, monumental artworks. Canvases with trees, terra cotta, and rebar. Oh, and molten lead. Poured onto the canvas and peeled back. Yes. Oh and water colors and artist books. Many, many gigantic artist books. Go see for yourself until September 1st.

The other gallery is Tibor de Nagy. An exhibit of works by Medrie MacPhee. Very different kind of texture, much quieter. I think I was still under the influence of Anselm when I saw these works. I didn't think much of them. But thinking about them and looking at my photos, I like them more and more. Perhaps they also appeal to me because she uses garment parts as design elements in her paintings. Very simple on the canvas, yet complex and map like.

And just to let you know that I was paying attention as I walked the streets and not just gabbing with Nathalie, here's the best graffiti of the day. Somewhere on the Lower East Side.

And my new favorite and most refreshing drink on a sweltering NYC summer day - beet and lemon shrub from Russ and Daughters! YUM! Gotta make some!

a conversation

As I prepare to share some of my art with you, please enjoy this interview recently recorded with Nathalie Kalbach. It's really more of a conversation than an interview, Nat is lovely to talk to! And you'll love her new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media! So grab your favorite beverage and settle in...

click for the interview!

I ❤️ NY

Recently I took the day off and went to NYC for a bit of inspiration and to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in a long time. It was a lovely day which ended with a wondrous thunderstorm and a great big traffic jam for the way home.

That traffic jam might have ruined the day for me... but! Have I mentioned that I love NYC? I do! So instead of grinding my teeth, I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture each time my car came to a complete stop. Believe me there were a gazillion complete stops.

So for your enjoyment here my favorite snap shots from that fab traffic jam. Next time you might see them reinterpreted in my art with lots and lots of hand stitching!


Rhetoric - the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Not something I'm usually good at. So I thought I would use words used by others to convey a persuasive message of my own. Or is it my own? Maybe it doesn't belong to me? Here's what I came up with:

Rhetoric. Natalya Aikens © 2015
100% re-purposed plastic shopping bags, rayon thread, matte medium.

happy summertime!!

Oh boy! What happened to June?? Well here's a quick show and tell in pictures:
I've been stitching a bridge on some buildings in plastic.
I've been cutting out plastic verbiage for graffiti
I've been putting the pedal to the metal with lots of thread-sketching
I have embroidered a lyre bird
I have started embroidering an arctic fox. This is my outline.
Trying to figure out how to stitch fur. It ain't for sissies...
This is the undercoat, now I've begun the topcoat, I'll let you know how I mess this up...
Oh and yesterday I published my June newsletter, take a read here if it wasn't delivered to your in-box.
Thanks for reading!


How about a little doze of texture for your Friday? Last weekend I spent the day in Brooklyn NYC, my main purpose was to see the Kara Walker Domino Factory exhibit. It was totally worth it, and I'm contemplating seeing it again before it's destroyed because I am curious to see how it'll change in few weeks as it melts in the summer heat... Check out these places (WP, NPR, Gothamist) for reviews if you can't get to Brooklyn yourself.

As I walked through the dilapidated factory my eyes kept being distracted by the glorious textures all around me. I took a gazillion photos, but no worries I have edited them down to a few. So here's your infusion of glorious texture:
century old paint
alien eggs??? or just painted cement?
melting molasses
sculpted sugar
melting sugar
I'm off to find more texture!

a little bit...

...of art. I had fun making this little piece for the SAQA trunk show. It was a nice respite from the larger pieces that I am working on now, in the same vein, yet a bit light-hearted.

I am really enjoying finding my groove in working with recycled plastic bags. Loving the layering which produces great color and sometimes makes me think of stained glass.

When I first started this piece I imagined it machine stitched only. But, when the machine stitching was finished it still lacked something. I knew it needed the hand stitching, just didn't know what the image should be. Then while flipping through my photos for an idea I saw some graffiti and it struck me that this piece needed a tag! Last thing I was going to do was figure out a tag for my name... but the tag this needed was obvious.
#tagged (detail)
#tagged (detail)
#tagged by Natalya Aikens© 2014

the graffiti report

You know how sometimes certain things catch your eye for days at a time for no reason at all? That seems to have happened to me this summer... I don't know why, but graffiti has been attracting my eye lately. I have been photographing all that has snagged my attention and analyzing why...here is a selection of my favorites.
funny characters
adorable creatures
lacy light handed doodles
soft and delicate/rough and raw
love elephants!
excellent lettering!
 Ready for some deep analysis? It's the combination of colors, the juxtaposition of shapes and the layers of intriguing imagery....OK, so no deep analysis here... just enjoying the artistry of it all!