What People Are Saying About Penny

"I like to think of you as a high priced call girl that the unwashed masses can't afford--like Woody Allen's Whore of Mensa. It's not your fault that people offer $10 blowjobs on the street corner. It's not an insult if somebody doesn't buy your art." -Alexandra J Walters

"Once Penny was making her own silk thread, and a midget appeared. Before he could open his ugly mouth, without looking up, she exclaimed, 'Rumpelstiltskin. Now get the fuck out of here.' Fairytale Over."- Beth Featherstone

"Penny can push a needle through a telephone pole without a thimble." -Shane Blaufuss

"When a man asked Penny, 'What’s the meaning of life?' She looked at him for exactly 3 minutes, completely still, until he cried. That man’s name was Steve Jobs."- Beth Featherstone

"A demon from the pits of bitch cunt." -W.C. Hurst

"pulitzer for you too." -John Lurie

Monday, March 30, 2009

BFFs, Part One

Finally Finished!
I finished Kinski pretty quickly, but Herzog just took me forever to get done. I really lost steam with him, which is funny because he's probably the only celebrity I would stalk relentlessly. Anyway, this is the first set of a series I'm doing on Best Friends, Bitter Rivals. I designed the fake commemorative stamps and hand embroidered them. The completed piece measures 18"x18" inches, with pearl snap closures.
I'm really happy with the way it turned out! *March 31st- Sold to this awesome man.
Here's some awesome footage of these two playing nice.

Magical Discoveries in Portland, or, Are you Down with the Clown?

As you might know, Johnny Murder and I have recently moved to beautiful Portland, and today, finally, after six long months... I saw my first Juggalo! Hahahahahaha! *Wiping tears from my eyes*
If you don't know what Juggalos are, you can click here for the wiki link, although searching YouTube or clicking here will give you a far more accurate and hilarious description.
As far as I could tell, we didn't have Juggallos or Juggalettes in Dallas, probably because we all have guns. We play dress up for keeps.
In Honor of the 2nd Amendment Ruling
Me at 4th of July
In Honor of the 2nd Amendment Ruling
Thorne at 4th of July

Whoooooo! Clown kids are funny.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspiration Nation

When I'm feeling blah and I can't bring myself to work on one of my many WIPs, there's nothing that gets me going again faster than thumbing through beautiful art faggy books. Although scouring Flickr pools for my contact's genius work seems like it would do the trick, mostly it just makes me jealous, and I worry that I'll subconsciously end up ripping them off.
So what's a lady to do? In times of creative crisis, I've found it helps me to look at textile/textural things presented in a cultural setting, as opposed to a fine art setting. Huh? Put that in your dissertation.

What follows is an awe inspiring, eye candy-ing reading list of lovely books and magazines. I'd scan photos out of them, but I don't want to get sued by the man.

(You can click on the books above and get linked to Amazon)

Kyrgyzstan, by Claudia Antipina- Beautiful illustrations and photos of traditional dress from the region. It will make you want to play dress up, make your own clothes, and mad that you don't have a traditional costume. Johnny Murder gave this to me for Valentine's Day a few years ago, and I almost cried I was so excited. It's expensive, but if you can find it used, it's so worth it.

Embroidered Textiles, by Shelia Paine- Did you know that it's bad luck to see a woman embroidering or spinning? That's because it's magic, and they can tie you up in their thread. Only one of the many interesting bits in this huge book, detailing traditional embroidery from all over the world. Amazing photos, and there's even a chapter explaining the significance of embroidery on certain parts of your clothing. (Protection, fertility, luck...) Also a thorough look at common patterns and their meanings, and a chapter on embroidery and magic. No shit. It's kind of the Alpha and Omega of embroidery. Also spendy, find it used if you can.

Taschen Style Books- Great little books detailing interior and exterior design and architecture. I love looking through these for textural ideas and interesting color combinations. You can usually find them for a couple of bucks used on Amazon.

The Quilters Resource Book, by Maggi McCormick Gordon- Fabulous photos and patterns detailing the history of quilting from around the world. I could look through this all day. Too bad I can seem to finish any of the quilts I've started.

The Art of Embroidery/The Art of Knitting, by Francoise Tellier-Loumange- These books are mostly just really pretty eye candy. Unfortunately, they mostly cover machine work, but they're still great to look for unusual textures.

Making Mathematics With Needlework, by Carolyn Yackel- That's right NERD! This book is serious business. If you're interested in Mandelbrot sets, Möbius strips, Diophantine equations, or you've ever wondered how ssk k2tog k2 yo translates into a x/y axis, you've found your new favorite book.

Silk, by Mary Schoeser- History of silk, with lush photos. You'll want to roll around in it. Expensive, find it used.

Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber- If you're a spinner, weaver, or anthropologist, this book is for you. Everything from the history of string to sailcloth.

Fiber Arts Magazine- Super cutting edge amazing pieces, contests, and stories that will make you spit with envy. Everything from sculptural clothes to huge installations. It will make your brain fall out.

Selvedge- I'm not going to link to them, because I'm mad at them. I paid a crap load of money for a subscription, and then only received two magazines. Then they told me I never subscribed to them and had no record of my payment, yet they constantly send me renewal notices in the mail. Jerks. But it is a beautiful magazine. Double Jerks.

When none of that works, it's time for a nap, a muscle relaxer, and music in a different language so I can pretend I'm lounging on a foreign beach. Ahhhhhh.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trilobite Triptych

Just finished! Trying to embroider on silk nearly ruined my eyes. I finally had to get crafting glasses to stop the squints. I'm still too young for reading glasses. Not Pleased.
Inspired by my recent ATC trade. 5" across embroidered on beautiful knobby shiny silk. For sale at DonkeyWolf.

Trilobite Triptych

Trilobite Triptych

Trilobite Triptych

Finally Happened
Boo for glasses.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Science/biology ATC

Originally uploaded by glazedangel101
Super cute! This was the one I received from Angie aka glazedangel101. At first I just took in the knots and the colors, and then I literally did a double take when I realized what it was. It's going in the super special display area of my house next to my other trade treasures. Making me feel like a slouch! See previous post.

Do over! No take backs.

I'm wondering how obsessively people pick at their projects. Do you ever work on something so long you can't even look at it anymore without thinking it's totally stupid? This happens to me all the time.
Case in point.
I took a photo of a bridge in the Japanese Garden in San Fransisco and thought it would make a good woodblock print. It's 8''x12'' on Hahnemuhle. It took about a month to carve.
bridge print
I've redone it three times. THREE times, that's like almost four months of gouging, splinters, and hand damage. Why? I'm not happy with the exterior curved outline highlighting the right side of the bridge.
I'm still not happy with it.

Klaus on the top? I didn't like his eye, and part of his chin.
klaus in progress
Do Over!
Commemerative Klaus Kinski Stamp

ATC Nautical swap nightmare.
Before *Shudder*
dear lord.
After Do Over
Nautical ATC, 3.5x2.5 in.

Which brings me to my latest obsessive do over.
I recently organized a swap for Stitched by Hand ATC swaps , and of course I don't follow my own rules and get my shit done on time. Why? Because I had to redo it over and over because I started to think it was shitty and stupid.

The theme was science. Science is cool right? Lots of stuff to do, and I picked trilobites. They're weird and pretty and I thought it would translate well into embroidery, and 2.5"x3.5" seemed like a good fossil size. Huh. Maybe not.

First Attempt, Wah-ha.
Even more nope
First Attempt, Wah-ha.
Triarthrus Becki Trilobite ATC
I can't even tell anymore.
Triarthrus Becki Trilobite ATC

My hands ache.

On a lighter note, I discovered this on Encyclopedia Dramatica, and it might just be my new favorite thing in the whole world to be baffled at.
"Fuck you, I'm a DRAGON!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are internet friends really your friends? Really?

If I had answered that question a few years ago, I would have scoffed and said, “Of course not,” while envisioning dirty pervs and spammers trying to explode my computer with porn and viruses.

Over the last year or so, Mr. Murder and I have become veritable Flickr groupies, literally. We joined a bunch of Flickr artsy fartsy crafty groups, and started posting like crazy, and then something unexpected happened. We figured people would comment, “Wow dude. Awesome. You're gross,” but what we didn't expect were really thoughtful people offering encouragement, critiques, as well as genuine interest in our work and our lives.
Good One
Awesome felt cuff by WoollyFabulous. She sent it to me as a sweet surprise. Check her out here.
(I cried a little when I opened the package!)

It's strange. I can spend a month on an embroidery or a knitted project and show it to my in the flesh friends, and sure they like it, and maybe they're even impressed, but I always get the nagging feeling that they don't really “get it."

If I post the same thing in one of my favorite groups (Stitched by Hand) I know that when my group friends look at that sweater I knitted, they know what 1000+ yards of yarn can do to your hands. Or the 10"x10"embroidery has about a billion french knots and hundreds of tiny feather stitches. They know that working on it can almost make you go blind, and your fingers bleed. They can look at those pieces with a critical eye because of their familiarity with the process, and for that reason, their input and praises seems to carry more weight.
Bunny print by BadBird. She's a bad ass. Check her out here and here.
She's the Bad Bird Brain behind Stitched by Hand.

The other thing that blows my mind is the really thoughtful exchanges I've been fortunate to participate in. We trade hand stitched ATCs, little sweet thinking of you gifts, all kinds of things. The time and talent and effort that goes into these treasures are astounding. All to be sent to and from people who have never met, and probably never will meet.
Beautiful tiny ATC I recieved from Cathy Gaubert. Check her out here.

I've often wondered where today's Vienna Succession or Der Blaue Reiter is, maybe it's undercover in these Flickr groups. I know that the people Johnny and I have encountered there have challenged and inspired us.

One of them is Ms. Amanda Panda Pants. She was one of my first internet pals, and I love stalking her through her Flickr stream, and oohing over her sassy embroidery. She's got mad style and skill. In the spirit of getting to know my secret crafty partners in crime, she graciously allowed me to interview her!

Amanda Panda Pants shows off her fancy needle skillz here.

How long have you been embroidering? Did you grow up in a DIY, crafty, make-it-your-damn-self kind of house, or is this something you discovered as an adult?
I have been embroidering since December 2007. I would say that I grew up in a kinda crafty house, I remember my mom going through a decoupage faze. My mother is also a collector of black art and blue and white china, so I guess that's kinda arty. My younger sister is the one with all the talent, she went to school for graphic design and is into all sorts of cool stuff. I was scrambling for a last minute Xmas pressie for her (in 07) and happened upon Sublime Stitching, I bought a kit for her and decided that I would get on for myself too. Turns out I had the knack for it a bit better then her, my feelings of inferiority lessened some what.

Do you tend to use established patterns, or do you make your own as well?
I do use established patterns a lot more then my own original design. I try to compensate for that my using non-traditional color combinations, or overlapping. I have tons of ideas in my head for stuff I would love to embroider but I don't believe I draw very well. I have concocted a couple of originals like Sun Woman/Woman Rising and the swap project I did for Kunderwood. I "made" the patterns for Thom Yorke and Lord Shiva by tracing pictures I have found.

Does working in a traditionally domestic crafty medium have any significance to you? For example, does it make you feel connected to a history of household lady magic skills, or do you feel more like, “I'm just an artist, and this is just what I prefer to work with.”
Over all embroidery doesn't make me feel domestic. I feel artsy. In the beginning I did feel a little "Little Womanish" but in a good way, like I was upholding some sort of traditional woman talent. I don't consider myself to be a socially formed "traditional" woman - whatever that means - but I felt proud when I told my grandmother of my new hobby and she thought that it was wonderful. I mainly feel like I can express my point of view through my embroideries, and by the looks of all the colors I use I must be trying to re-create some sort of psychedelic drug haze.

Do you have any stitchy rituals? Do you have to have a certain album or TV show on, a cup of tea, and bunny slippers?

Preferred stitching conditions: Tee shirt, undies, in my bed (I live in a studio apartment with no furniture, so the bed is really the only choice) watching a Bette Davis marathon on TCM. That would be ideal but these days I am stitching away in afore mentioned attire watching Adult Swim. I am always down for a cup of tea, and have learned the hard way that Jack Daniels will ALWAYS fuck up my whatever I am working on. He and I tend to make out and it gets rough, so he is not allowed whilst stitching.

Do your pieces come out finished the way you envisioned them?
I think my pieces evolve while I am stitching them, I don't neccessarily always envision the end product. I never choose my colors ahead of time, I just pick whatever I think will look good and go for it. And if I wind up not liking the color I picked I just roll with it, becaue there is nothing I detest more then taking stitches out, it just fucking burns me.

What inspires you? (I know this is a lame question.)
Hmmmmm, this is kinda tough. Everyone on Flickr inspires me, especially people with original work. I am so envious of their talent! So that might make me be a little braver at trying my hand at something original. I basically choose things that I think are cute. Not that I am an all cutesy person, I would love to be able to interpret the gross or crass things I see in my mind...it's just that I can't draw!!!!!! Or it could be that I'm just not trying hard enough.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a craftsman? Do you think there is a difference?
I don't consider myself to be either actually, I think of myself as an embroiderist. Embroidery is a craft that I happen to be able to do. The pieces that I create are mostly of someone else's design, so I can't really claim that as my art, I just interpret it.

Are your friends art fag types? Are they supportive of your work?
LOL! No I don't really have art fag friends. My friends have seen my work and for about two seconds they OOOoohh and Aaaahhh but on the whole I don't think they really get it. My family is very supportive and think of it as impressive, which is good for my ego, I am not gonna lie. My biggest fans are the friends I have made on Flickr, and that is about as satisfying as it gets considering I have never met any one of them in the flesh. *OMG I said the same thing way up there, which I wrote before I received her response. Not only is she awesome, but a mind reader too!

What other mediums do you work in? Cupcake baking would totally count.
I don't have any other real crafty things that I do. I would love to tell you cooking but I don't have a kitchen that supports this passion. In a perfect world I would have my own cupcake shop preferably in New Hampshire where you could come in and have a cuppa and a little something sweet and craft. I have a total vision of this, all I need is the capital.

How has the Flickr community influenced you as an artist?
Flickr has influenced me incredibly. I would go so far as to say that Flickr contributed to my keeping with embroidery. I am admittedly a homebody. Since discovering Flickr, I have a new group of friends to interact with. I was hesitant in the beginning, I don't Myspace, Twitter or Facebook. I don't have anything against it or the people who use it, I just can't get into this new "online for all human interaction" thing. So I was really weary of Flickr at first, but everyone was so encouraging and nice, and the next thing I know I have friends that want to know what I am working on and whose pieces I can't wait to see. I guess I fell into the internet social scene after all.

On your Flickr page, you have a photo set of awesome tea cups. What else do you collect?
I LOVE tea cups and tea sets. I also collect converse sneakers, hoodies, classic movies and purses.

I'm going to New York with Johnny Murder in October to beat bar whores off him while he
plays shows. I like to daydream that we'd meet up, and you would show me all your favorite crafty supply stores. Could this be more than a daydream?

If I am still here in October (pending what happens with the job situation) let's make this a reality!!! I buy most of my crafty goodness online (boo) or while on vacation in New Hampshire BUT let's go explore together! I have a general idea of where to start in Manhattan I am sure we will make some discoveries. I can help beat down bar whores too and would love to see Mr. Murder in action on the stage.

There you have it! Clearly, great minds stink alike. After reading her answers, I knew, deep deep down inside, that if I lived in NYC, I would be stalking her relentlessly and leaving gifts of bourbon and copies of "Sunset Boulevard" on her doorstep.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Love and Thunder Stealing

Welcome To Hell

A few years ago, When Johnny Murder and I began mutually stalking each other full time, he came into my bar and gave me this comic he had drawn. He called it "erotic art."

I knew then that I would not let him leave after our third date, and we've been together ever since.

Unfortunately, Johnny's a complicated man. He has Tourette's, stupid back injuries, and super bad cabin fever.

I am a hermit. I'm constantly looking for new reasons not to have to leave the house, particularity with total cultural collapse right around the corner.

So I told Johnny, "You need a bed hobby. Why don't you embroider your comics?"
And a star was born. A thunder stealing star.
Yep. That says "Piss Popsicle".

So now, not only is Mr. Murder famous for his band and his band and his bands, (available on iTunes!), now he gets phone calls from people in Australia and the U.K. asking about interviewing him for their subversive crafting pieces.
It makes me feel like this.

I just have to remember to channel my rage and sour grapes into my own projects.

Anyone else living with Talent Hoggers?

Wills and Won'ts

First of all, thanks for checking us out!
Lets get to it.
What you're not going to find here-
1. Tutorials. You can google french knots or whatever and find better examples than what we can give you.
2. Consistently clean language. Johnny Murder has Tourette's syndrome, and I caught it from sleeping with him. We curse, and we really like offensive humor. If that upsets your delicate sensibilities, take your vapors and move on.
3. That's about it.

What you will find here-
1. Projects we're working on, or wish we were working on.
2.Other weirdos, artists, and crafters we like, and think you should check out.
3.Links to our websites, our Esty store, and other peoples sites that we think are awesome.
4. Discussions about the nature of all things DIY.
5. Occasionaly, L&O recaps.

quillow completed!
Johnny Murder's F*cked up embroidery