teasing apart thread nests

Yup, that's the title of this post. I'm sure any long time reader of this blog must have suspected that I collect thread snips from various projects. I pile them up into little cubbies until I figure out a way to use them. I try to keep them in color families, but sometimes I fail and then I don't stress about it.

Recently I thought they (the thread snips) would make a great texture representing a brick wall and heat rising. So I used them in this piece - Iron Spine: Hot in the City.
fire escape detail

another fire escape, more to follow, but please note the threads in the back ground



Iron Spine:Hot in the City ©Natalya Aikens 2017
As you might suspect, I have a few more thread nests to unravel. Here's some that I am using for the sky in a piece about water towers. Still working on this one.
teasing out the thread nest over repurposed plastic

sketching out the water towers

building up the rungs
Stay tuned! Hopefully this piece will be finished before the end of the month..

gathering inspiration

Getting ready to dive into art making full force here. I don't mean that I have stopped... I just mean that I want to start on a new batch of work that I want to have ready by a certain time, so that I'll be all set for any of the shows that I'll be participating in. I'm gathering my tools, materials and inspiration around me.

I gather inspiration by going on a photo safari of NYC or digging into my photo archives. These are few of the photos that are inspiring the upcoming works.






I think I can pretty much guarantee that there will be water towers represented. There will also be fire escapes, bridges, street signs and maybe even buildings, and perhaps scaffolding!

framing things

I have been focused on the business side of art lately. (With a bit of teaching prep thrown in!) And that meant frames this time!

I have listened to advice of experts and spent the time (and money) and framed quite a few of my pieces. Let's just say it's been a learning curve.... I have been adhering my embroideries to stretched canvas for a long time now, and then painting the edges, and I really love that look. So I was afraid that it would get spoiled in a frame. But it's just a matter of the right frame though... I went for simple and black, some shadow boxes, no glass, except for three little pieces that benefitted from mats also.

So here are some examples:
my dining room table production line...


you can see the three glassed and matted pieces here
I even framed two larger pieces. This is a corner of Iron Spine 4
Manhattan Bridge got framed
so did the Whitestone bridge

I really liked putting my abstracts on a white background and a shadow box.

Tappan Zee bridge got framed, I'm waiting patiently to do the new TZ soon!

Iron Spine 1 also got framed.
I am resisting putting these pieces up on my website as I have a few events coming up where they will up for sale. So if you're interested in these just shoot me an email! natalya@artbynatalya.com

fire escapes, bridges and water towers

I thought it's about time that I shared full images of all the new pieces I have created in the past few months. Now that I have premiered them at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, it is time to see them on the blog. So without further a do here they are: 
Iron Spine 1xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 2xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 3xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 4xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 5xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 1xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 2xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 3xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 4xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 5xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
MNHB span (12"x12") © Natalya Aikens 2016
TRIboro span (12"x12") © Natalya Aikens 2016
TZB span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
WHTstone span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
GWB span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Soon I will have these up on my website with juicy detail images. Stay tuned! And thanks for stopping by!

afterglow

The show that I have been preparing for all summer has come and gone.. Funny how that is, isn't it? You think, you plan, you work, rework, work more and more, reconfigure, pack, repack, set up, lose sleep, work the show... and then poof! and it's over. But as exhausting as it was, today I am basking in the afterglow of it all.

I am very happy with the new work that I created specifically for this show. Happy with the older work that I was able to display. Happy with my display too, thanks to the friends from whom I borrowed equipment and the friends that helped me decide on the set up and then helped me take it all down. Thanks to all the friends to who came to visit me at the show and supported me with their kind words.

It was a wonderful weekend in every possible way, from the weather to crowds to the booth neighbors. And to all the lovely people to who complimented and bought my work!

Here are a few pictures of how my booth looked. This was the first way I set everything up. A few hours later on Saturday I reconfigured things, but was too distracted to take new pictures. I have never before talked about my art as much as I did in these two days. People needed explanations of not only my techniques, but also of my materials and my reasons why I do what I do! So it was a great experience for figuring out the best way of explaining it all, over and over. Talk about refining my elevator pitch!




And then on Sunday... I was in for a HUGE surprise! I got an award for Best New Artist! It was a total shocker for me as you can see in the photos below. The award is brand new and is given out in the name of Sylvia Rogers, who was a long time supporter and co-chair of the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. Her whole family was there to present the award, it turned out to be quite a big event.
that's the look of shock on my face..

posing with the whole Rogers family, that's Sylvia's husband in the green sweater
co chairs of the exhibit, Marian Hamilton and Susan Geffen

I am honored and humbled to be the first time recipient of the Sylvia Rogers Best New Artist Award. Thank you Rogers family and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show!!
PS Thanks to Sam Morrell for the pictures. And the video below (hope it works, fingers crossed!)



details

They say it's all in the details. And the details are what I have been focusing on in the last week or so.
Over the summer I have been preparing for the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. I have created ten new small artworks, five new medium artworks and have wired for hanging several large artworks which have been created over the last two or so years. I created a banner, participated in a preview exhibition, figured out booth logistics and I'm almost ready! Now I have to make labels and lists and decide on the display. This is the first time that I will be participating in such a show, so perhaps next time the prep will be be easier.

Here are a few enticing details so that you get a taste of what I've been up to.
edge painting is a bit like cake frosting


can you tell there have been a lot of edges to paint?








Full reveal is coming up soon! And if you're in the NY tri-state area, I hope to see September 24th and 25th!

a progress report

It has been a while since I've posted about the mini-series that I am planning to debut at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. I posted about planning it here and my work on it here. Although my stitching time has been interrupted by the end of the school year festivities and packing for camp madness, I still have managed to get quite a bit done.

Two of the water tower pieces are complete, except for the trimming and the edging. Here are some in progress photos of what I am temporarily calling "water tower 1".
outline stitching
outline stitching
big directional stitches
tiny x's stitching
lot's of x's

The second water tower asked to be even bolder in color. Here are more detail pictures.
I am using a large hoop for these smaller pieces, seems to make the work easier.
outline stitching
outline stitching
big X's
straight lines in all directions
different type of x's
many straight lines of course
This week I hope to spend lots of time in the studio happily stitching "water tower 3".

Happy July to all!

proceeding

I have been steadily, if slowly, progressing on my mini-series. The executive decision has been made that the first mini-series will be ten 6"x6" artworks, and I've edited the photos which will be used for my inspiration. I'll have five fire escapes and five water towers in this first bit.
one version of a fire escape
one version of a water tower
I've started pulling out the plastics for my backgrounds. My batting, which is actually spongy white packing material, has been cut to appropriate size. One of the most enjoyable parts of the process is layering the translucent plastics to see what colors I can achieve. It's almost like layering sheer fabrics, yet different.




I am also using various verbiage of warnings printed on the plastic bags as a part of my palette. In the pictures above you only see bit of that, but I have already started amassing lots and lots verbiage which will be layered between the colored sheets. Here's a preview below...
just a few words...
I hope to start stitching next week!

planning

The last two days have been spent planning. Planning what? Art of course!

I am delighted to share that I have been juried into the Armonk Outdoor Art Show in Armonk, NY. It has been around for 55 years! One of the most prestigious shows in my neck of the woods. Can you tell I'm excited? It'll take place on September 24th and 25th, so I have plenty of time to get ready.

I have several large pieces that I already know that I'll be exhibiting. They are the ones I was juried in with. But I would like to have a variety of smaller pieces on hand also and that's what I've been planning. It'll be a busy summer in the studio!

I started the planning part with organizing my inspiration photos. Usually when I upload my photos from the camera or phone I immediately put them into albums for easy reference later. Well.... I am ashamed to admit that I have really slacked off on that task.... So today I organized them into albums.


I did a bit of editing and narrowed my choices down to about 20 that speak to me right now.


Then I narrowed my choices even more and opened them up in Photoshop for a closer look. My first two mini-series of works will based on fire escapes and water towers.


Now I'll play with them in Photoshop - cropping and figuring out the composition. Once I have that decided on, I'll dig into my materials and start making some serious choices. Right now I think that they will all be on backgrounds created from re-purposed plastics and the images will be hand-stitched with various threads. Stay tuned!