One of the best things about having a blog is connecting with incredibly talented people. Case in point, the awesome Lisa Solomon. When Lisa isn’t being an art professor and designer, she’s busy creating incredible works of art. Much of her pieces explore mediums traditionally associated with domestic crafts, such as embroidery and stitching. Below are a few examples of some of her installations and pieces.
She recently released her first book, entitled “Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media” This book is filled with really cool craft projects that incorporate stitching and embroidery techniques in a super creative, modern, approachable way. She goes through everything from basic supplies, techniques, step by step instructions, and even collaborates with a few well known artists.
Next week, she’s going to be teaching an exciting exclusive textile based online course called “INTERWOVEN” that you can take. The class runs (online) for 4 weeks (Feb 4- March 1, 2013) and covers 4 techniques. (More on that later in the post.) I figured it was probably best to let Lisa elaborate on her work, the book, and the class- in her own words, so I sat down for a quick chat:
1) Your work has always incorporated a lot of stitch work and textiles. Can you talk a little about what draws you to that medium?
I started stitching in graduate school [while getting my mfa]. It was a way to connect to my grandmother [who always was embroidering, knitting, crocheting] and a means to branch out and try something new. I also read The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine by Rozsika Parker and then had a complete renewed interest and respect for the act of embroidery and the “home arts” and how they could be subversive in a quiet way. Basically I end up seeing stitching and textiles as a means to draw. It’s just like using a pencil really….
2) What was the inspiration to create/write “Knot Thread Stitch”
I think my main goal was to try and show an updated and more contemporary [but with a retro feel] take on embroidery. I also really really just wanted to show people that they could take any idea and pursue it in multiple ways. i thought it would be so much fun to hand off my projects to a bunch of my über talented friends – and just see what they did with simple parameters. i gave them the project titles and a few ideas but very little other direction. i thought it would be fun to see our wildly different and personal takes side by side – and indeed it really was a treat to see the gorgeous work my friends and colleagues made. My hope is that readers then feel inspired to completely ditch my directions/color choices and find their own way to make a project.
Also it was just exciting to make a book [love books. Love analogue] . I NEVER thought I’D make a book in my lifetime. I still bust a silly grin when I see it in a store. It’s like – oh ! I made a book !
3) You’re going to be teaching this exciting “Interwoven” class next week with Katrina Rodobaugh. How did you two meet up?
So excited about this !! Katrina and I met online [via our blogs] – but we actually live like 5 minutes away from one another in Oakland – ha ! The class was actually her idea, and it’s really fun to get to work with her [she’s so creative and talented and sweet]. I joke that sometimes I need to have a project to work on to build in time to see my friends. It’s been really fun meeting with her and having coffee and figuring out exactly how we want this to go.
4) What do you hope participants will take away from the class?
We both are really invested in having this class be a big basket so to speak – something for everyone. If you’ve never tried any of the techniques [crochet, soft sculpture, embroidery, mini-quilt] we want you to walk away with a skill set so that you feel confident you can make something. If you already have the basic techniques we want to push you into thinking about utilizing them in a new way. In my own art practice I’M always skirting a line between craft and art – how/where/why do they intersect and push off of one another?? If this is something that interests are students I’D love to further that conversation. Finally I think it’s going to be so lovely to have this community of people – making and working and exploring together ! As a virtual classroom I’M hopeful that seeing what others are up to – and being able to go at your own pace [the class will remain up for students for 3 months] will really help inspire and jump start people.
5) I’ve been loving your “look up and down” pics on Instagram– Can you share with the happy mundane readers what are you seeing right now?
Aw. You are so sweet to mention this. I’M a fan of daily practices. “Look up and down” has really become a way for me to keep the creative juices flowing even in the most stressed out times. I know YOU are interested in noticing small mundane moments – sometimes I feel like those small notice-ings are the best part of my day. I was fortunate enough to see Uta Barth speak a few months back and she solidified the idea in my mind that we don’t spend enough time looking up or looking down – that there’s a lot we are missing. And I also really admire habitblog.com where people take a photo of something and then write 30 words to sum up their day. I sort of smushed those two ideas together for “look up and down”. I actually started a tumblr for this http://lookupanddown.tumblr.com/ so that I could see them all together and then I opened it up to submissions. So if YOU or anyone else wants to play along – please do !
What am I seeing? How winter light is different. How clouds move thru the sky. What shoes I’m wearing. Patterns in leafs. Urban skyscapes. Things my daughter does [mostly looking down since she’s still small]. It’s amazing to really see that the same tree looks different from day to day deepening on the time, the weather, the season, the angle I’m shooting with…
So… as you can see, Lisa is all sorts of amazing. Definitely check out her book, Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media, published by Quarry books, and sign up for her online class INTERWOVEN here.
PLUS: For exclusively for Happy Mundane readers, Lisa is giving a 10% discount if you sign up with this code: HAPPYM10
You can sign up here.