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

Friday, October 30, 2009

RUBY42 Etsy Showcase!!!!

Ruby42 is a dirty lady who wields a needle as sharp as her tongue. If you scroll down to the NSFW Swap post, you can see the "Cream Pie" pillow she sent to Johnny Murder. Now, I know y'all are envious, and you want to know where you can purchase an inappropriate present for your inlaws that will really move things along on Thanksgiving (Crying and drinking whiskey on the sly in the garage)... Well, She's your girl! But seriously, if I wasn't an orphan, I'd be handing these out like fruitcakes come Christmas to any family member that had no sense of humor.
She also has a whole series of Droool Laurie, I mean Hugh, that I'm really tempted to purchase and do a straight up stalker-lit-candles-dead-chickens-shrine with. But then Johnny Murder might get jealous, and his Michael Cane shrine and my Hugh Laurie shrine would have to fight, and there would probably be a fire and... Well, these are up in her store and you should check it out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mr. X Stitch in the flesh!

If you've ever wondered about the mastermind behind Mr. X Stitch, you can see him live and in color! The consensus around the Facebook is that they did an amazing job hiding his stings. So lifelike!
Read the whole interview HERE.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not Safe For Work Swap!

If embroidered graphic sex upsets you, don't scroll down!!! You've been warned!!!!

Over at Phat Quarter we held a NSFW Swap which is winding down now. Johnny Murder received this piece from Ruby42, and that lady is equally gifted in talent and humor.

Here is Ruby's piece



It glows in the dark. She's a bad lady!

I'm still waiting on my piece, I'll post it when it arives, but here's the piece I made for Mr. X Stitch.

Lost Girls

Lost Girls

completed in 25 hours, 3 minutes.

This is a hand embroidered representation of an illustration from Alan Moore's Lost Girls.
If Alan Moore sounds familiar, it's because he's the mad genius behind Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swap Thing... Yeah, and he HATES those movies. Anyway, apparently he wanted to do a porno comic, but it's so much more than that.
Lost Girls is set in a upscale hotel where Alice (Through the Looking Glass) Dorothy (The Wizard of OZ) and Wendy (Peter and Wendy) are all on holiday. As they meet each other, they begin to tell stories of their early sexual experiences. For example, Dorothy's first orgasm was during the tornado, and her first sexual partner was a man who worked on her farm. I give you a hint... He didn't have a brain...

So when you read Alan Moores interpretation of these classics you find his ideas are so convincing it's difficult to believe the original authors hadn't intended these stories to be sexual metaphors. I highly recommend picking it up.

Anyway, Mr. X Stitch is a fellow comic nerd, so I knew an embroidered illustration from the book would be perfect for him!

You can see this piece in progress on the Penny Nickels facebook page.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Works in progress

I'm taking Paul Overton's advice and posting photos of my work in progress. I'm not going to upload it here, but if you're interested it's on the Penny Nickels Facebook page.
There's a link in the column on the right.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


There is a Penny Nickels page on the Facebook if you're interested! Mostly it's just new work, and maybe a little bit ruder one liners than I post here. Just for fun!
Click HERE

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pricing Vs. Practicality

I've taken most of my items out of my Etsy shop. Why? Well, most of the work I get now a days is commission work, and the people that custom order from me know how much things cost. The hilarious thing about it, is that what I charge for custom work is significantly more expensive. Why? Because the people who custom order from me understand labor, and they're all artists.

What am I on about?

It seems to me that more and more I've become aware of a disconnect between pricing and practicality. For example, people would balk at the cost of my hand embroidered pillows that I had in my shop. $100.00. The hundred dollar pillows in question take anywhere from thirty to fifty hours to make. Do the math on the hourly wage. That's not including materials. It's not pretty. Which is why they are no longer in my shop.
But, if I had done those pieces as stand alones framed in their hoops, $100.00 would be reasonable even ridiculously inexpensive. I can (and have) sold woodblock prints of the same designs for several hundred dollars.

Why? People say, Hey! I'm not paying a hundred bucks on a pillow. Something I'll use every day. However, these same people will pay six hundred dollars on shoes they wear three times a year, or fourteen hundred on a painting that hangs in their hallway.

Why are we willing to pay obscene amounts of money on art, but the second the art becomes useable, it's somehow devalued?

I've seen this play out over my entire adult career. My first job ever was as a custom bookbinder. Everything was done by hand. Later I worked under a woman who was trained in Library of Congress archival standards of bookbinding. I learned how to make rabbit hide glue, use ox gall, scything knives. I could name types of paper by touch alone. And then people would come in and want to order a custom scrap book, or a photo album, or a guest book but become indignant that the piece would cost more than a hundred dollars.

A few weeks ago, I received an email on Etsy. It read something like this. "I love your embroideries and I wanted to see if you would make an embroidered panel quilt, queen size. I'd be willing to go up to $130.00"

I get it, I really do. I shop at Target, and I understand that very few people have ever made anything by hand, or know people that do. They can hardly be blamed for their ignorance. But guess what? That quilt your Granny made you? She did it because she loves you. And I bet she wouldn't dream of selling one for no hundred sad dollars. And I'm not your grandma.

I also understand that I have a luddite way of doing things. I use hand cards, not mills. I use a drop spindle, not a wheel, and I use needles, not a Viking Emerald. That that takes a tremendous amount of time. But no less time than oils and underpainting.

So I want to hear from you. Knitters, I know that sweater took like, 1000 yards of yarn and your hands ached when you were finished. Potters? Come on. You built that Raku kiln in your back yard and kept a steady eye on it the whole time. Hand quilters? You guys are saints. I want to know what your experience is with buyers and pricing. Is this disconnect something you've noticed too?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dear Reader, Help me!

So, I went fiber crazy at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, (see previous post) and I came home with hand cards and ten Lbs of Angora goat locks, (Mohair). After watching kabillion YouTube videos, I *think* I have the hand cards figured out, but not before I scraped the shiznit out of my hands.

The Dangers of Self Teaching
Sad Face.

If there are any Bad Out hand carders in the PDX area, I could certainly use some pointers.

Hand spunHand Spun
Mohair and BFL I hand carded and spun on a drop spindle.

Next plea... I've never spun anything other than wool and silk before, so the Angora goat locks have been a bit of a challenge. I finally got the washing down, and I carded it with BFL to make it a little more familiar to my hands, but it seems like it holds twist very differently than wool does. Does anyone have experience with this? Any Goat Gurus out there? Give me advice!

Baby Llama
Baby Llama spun on a drop spindle.

The Llama roving has been the least headachey fiber so far. There was quite a bit of VM in the bag, but it picked out easily as I spun it. Right now it's working it's way onto my loom with a Habu wool wrapped stainless steel thread warp. So far, so good, sooo soft.

I'm taking a break and heading back to embroidery for the time being.