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, November 30, 2009

Asterion Commemorative Stamp

"Would you believe it, Ariadne? The Minotaur scarcely defended himself."



Asterion Commemorative Stamp, hand embroidered, original design. Completed in 42 hours.

Shockingly, this piece has nothing to do with Athena. Really it's Poseidon who got his panties in a wad and caused all the trouble. I'm not going to focus so much on the myth here, but there are some interesting elements I'd like to address. Firstly, Daedalus, (Icarus' father) was the one who made the hollow wooden cow statue that Queen Pasiphae hid in so she could have sex with Poseidon's bull. She became pregnant and gave birth to Asterion the Minotaur. She was also Ariadne's mother, making Ariadne and Asterion half siblings.
As far as the labyrinth goes, some sources claim Daedalus created it as a "dancing ground" for Ariadne. However, he is always attributed as creating the labyrinth to house Asterion.
Ariadne is sometime viewed as a weaving goddess, which makes her place in fiber art particularly relevant.
Also, Medea shows up in the Theseus myths, and she's pretty interesting too.

The version of this story I'm most fascinated with is Jorge Luis Borges' short story, The House of Asterion.
It opens with the narrater describing his house, and rebutting common misconceptions about it and himself.
"It is true I never leave my house, but it is also true that it's doors (whose number is infinite) are open day and night to men and to animals as well. Anyone may enter."
He goes on to say, "Another ridiculous falsehood has it that I, Asterion, am prisoner. Shall I repeat that there are no locked door, shall I add that there are no locks?"
He recounts how one time he did venture outside, but the commoners "prayed, fled, prostrated themselves..." He believes this is because he is royalty, (his mother is the queen).
He talks about how in his loneliness, he plays a game where another Asterion visits him. He guides him through his home, describing each room, and tells him how every nine years nine people come to him, "so that I may deliver them from evil."
Just as he delivers the sacrificial people, he too awaits his "redeemer" who will finally kill him and free him from his house. The last line is delivered by Theseus who reveals Asterion's identity when he says, "Would you believe it, Ariadne? The Minotaur scarcely defended himself."

This piece completes the triptych along with Medusa and Arachne. Like the other ones, this piece will be turned into a pillow sham, literally transforming the embroidery into a bedtime story and enhancing it's nightmarish qualities.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm internet stalking Richard Saja

Here's his newest piece, which unfortunately, will not be shown in it's intended venue.

The piece measures 10 feet long and 10 inches wide. The braille spells out this poem by Richard-
The Great White Milky Way
Oh, oh how i have sinned...spilled liquids similar yet of a far
greater multitude than those of Onan, one of only two, struck down by
his displeased creator!
Oh, my unborn children - you legions of tiny golems, each an infinite
possibility become impossible by my desire, I am compelled to address
I have carried you with me always - a searing potential roiling within
- but ever so often, at the very least daily and sometimes more, in
fact, the burden proves too heavy and gurgles up to explode from me in
a white-hot and opalescent fuisillade, a genocide in a teaspoon. So
many, many expiring stains of silenced cries!
Oh, how the paths i have travelled i have soiled with seed, probably
enough to populate an island nation, and a rather large one, at that.
Yet, in my defense, how many more monsters has the world been spared?
How many saviors, masters or slaves?
A gift given too freely is so seldom appreciated, if i may paraphrase
the bard.
So then, unblemished in your potential, you in your infinite stasis
are the great cosmic chorus line. Your ranks ever-swelling -- thanks
to me! -- you wander the stars for all of a boundless eternity free of
care and worry, together forever in the ever-shifting ether, softly
churning in a pastel nebulae of unbecoming while i forever retain the
twinkle in my eye.
So yes, yes, I have sinned and in so doing you remain perfect and
unsullied, my unborn children and i've given you the greatest gift of
all - - that of absolute nothingness.
See you soon on the great, white milky way!

Check out his blog Historically Inaccurate for the skinny on why it was censored.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tritonis: Commemorative Medusa Stamp

Tritonis: Commemorative Medusa Stamp
9"x11" completed in 27 hours, 15 minutes. Hand embroidered, original design. (It looks a bit wonky because the fabric isn't taut.)

Okay, let's get to it!
This is a commission piece that I did as part of my Myth and Monster series. I almost want to call it "Aftermath" because it depicts the what happened to Medusa and Cetus after their attacks. If you read my previous piece on Arachne and classical hubris, you know I have a bone to pick with Athena. Well, Medusa is one of the best examples of what a bitch Athena is.

My favorite version of events is Medusa was raped, ("outraged", Ha!) in Athena's temple by Poseidon. Athena was soooo pissed that her temple was desecrated, she punished Medusa by turning her into a monster with snakes for hair, claws and fangs. And of course, her monstrous gaze could turn people into stone. Nice work, Athena. Poseidon gets off scott free.

Enter Perseus, involved in a convoluted fake out, worthy of a daytime soap. King Polydeces falls in love with Perseus's mother, Danaë. Mom and son aren't interested in any of that business, so clever Polydeces says, "Just kidding! I'm going to mary Hippodamia!"

Perseus breathes a sigh of relief and says, "That's great news! I'll bring you what ever you like as a wedding present!" King Polydeces demands Medusa's head, hoping the task will kill Perseus, allowing him to resume bulling his mom into marriage. (Interesting side note, Polydeces was the brother of the man that raised Perseus.)

Of course, Athena can't wait to help Perseus lop off Medusa's head, and she, Hermes and Hades equip Perseus with the tools he'll need to kill Medusa. Athena then leads him to the Graeae, (who are also Medusa's sisters) and he tricks them into giving him directions to the Gorgon's cave by stealing their eye and tooth that the three of them share. (In a total dick move, he throws their eye and tooth into Lake Tritonis.)

Perseus finds the Gorgon sisters, Stheno, Euryale and Medusa sleeping on the shore of Lake Tritonis and he lops off Medusa's head. From her neck springs her children Pegasus and Chrysaor (fathered by Poseidon). He mounts Pegasus, happens to fly past the princess Andromeda who is chained to a rock about to be sacrificed to Cetus the sea monster, (the Gorgon's and the Graeae's mother). He kills Cetus and saves Andromeda. (Cetus becomes a constellation, thanks to Poseidon.) Then he returns to Polydeces and turns him to stone with the head. Athena takes the head and places it on her Aegis, turning it into the first Gorgoneion. Bellerophon later uses Pegasus to kill the Chimera, who is also related to Pegasus (cousin) and Medusa (niece), by way of being Ceuts' granddaughter.

PHEW! What does all this mean? Athena is such a bitch. Why is she all up on Medusa and her kin? In this story we see Medusa's entire family bitch slapped by Athena through her henchman, Perseus. Medusa's mother, sisters, and children are all completely dominated and destroyed in this story. Why? Why is Medusa such a threat to Athena?

If you read the previous post about Arachne, you'll remember the bits about the chthonic cults being challenged by the newer cults, and we see that here, but we also see the theme of the triple Goddess being overtaken by a single deity. It's interesting to note that Metis, Athena's mother is sometimes depicted as a triple goddess as well.

I also find this intriguing because when Athena decided to stomp all over Medusa, she actually made Medusa far more threatening than if she had left well enough alone. First by turning her into a monster, and then by turning her head into a Gorgoneion/Weapon. In attempting to destroy her, she actually infinitely increased Medusa's power.

Incidentally, the Gorgonion is almost the most interesting part of the story. There is evidence of it being used as a warning/protection as masks in mystery cults, in order to frighten the uninitiated and prevent them from studying divine secrets, as well as being painted on thresholds in order to frighten intruders. Graves even states that it was painted on Greek baker's ovens in order to discourage people from peeking in the oven and ruining the baking bread.

I could go on and on about this, Medusa's magic blood that raises the dead, her role as a Libyan triple Goddess, the rise of patriarchal society and cults and Athena's Uncle Tom-ish role in ushering that in... but I've droned on long enough, and I consider myself lucky if you're still reading.

I just think this whole story is fascinating because we can see similar stories being repeated over and over, ad nauseum. New powers will almost always engage in similar shenanigans in order to usurp the former power. You see it in politics, in the work place, in relationships... people tend to attempt to damage and discredit the people they're threatened by in order to assert themselves. They demonize, punish, slander and sometimes injure that person and anyone connected to them in order to dominate.

So, what I have illustrated is Medusa after the rape, Cetus after being killed, and the head after becoming the Gorgonion. And of course, This piece will eventually be turned into a pillow sham, literally transforming the embroidery into a bedtime story, enhancing it's nightmarish qualities.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Magpie and Hex Quilt

Andrea Zuill is too cool for school!
Read about her work HERE!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arachne Commemorative Stamp

Arachne Commemorative Stamp

9"x9" Hand Embroidered, Original Design
Commissioned by Ken Weaver
Completed in 17 hours and 20 minutes

This is part of a series commissioned for a private collection. I find I'm constantly drawn to the myths, probably because The Odyssey was the first book I remember being read to me as a small child.

One of the motifs I'm always drawn to in the myths are the victims of Athena. She's a fascinating character to me because it seems she's constantly engaged in acts of hubris. Now, hubris as we understand it in the Western perspective is very different than it's classical definition, much like the way Westerners tend to misunderstand Karma. Strictly speaking, an act of hubris is something that re-victimizes, or humiliates a victim, usually your victim, in order to feel superior. We see examples of this when Odysseus blinds and then taunts the cyclops Polyphemus, when Cassandra is raped and dragged out of Athena's temple by Ajax the Lesser, (most of Cassandra's story is a lesson in hubris), and the rape and disfigurement of Medusa are all good examples.

Arachne is interesting in this regard depending on which story you look at. I'm a fan of Ovid retellings. In his story, Arachne weaves a perfect tapestry depicting the god's love affairs. Athena can find no flaws in the piece and flies into a rage. Arachne, terrified of the goddess' wrath, hangs herself and Athena turns her into a spider, an insect that she hated the most. Essentially dooming her to weaving forever in the form a lowly, scorned creature. Hence the hubris. It's not enough that Arachne is dead, she has to be further punished.

In the other story, Arachne brags that she is more skilled at weaving than Athena, they have a competition, and Arachne weaves the tapestry showing the god's love affairs. Even in this story the fabric is perfect, but Athena becomes enraged at the subject matter and beats Arachne with her shuttle, turning her into a spider.

The Ovidian view makes more sense to me in the context of the other Athena myths. We have to keep in mind that she was a relatively new cult, bent on supplanting the older, chthonic cults. (We see this with Metis and Medusa). And if we dig into the historical geography of this myth, we find that Pliny puts her place of origin at Hypaepa in Lydia. This is interesting because, according to Graves, there was a very serious textile rivalry between the Athenians and the Lydio-Carian people. He states that they were of Cretan origin, and numerous seals set with a spider are found in the mother city, Miletus. Apparently Miletus was the largest exporter of dyed woolen textiles in the ancient world. Lending credence to this theory is the fact that Arachne's father was famous for his Tyrian purple dye and Athena is a weaving goddess, maintaining the theme of textile rivalry.

When we view the Athena myths in their "historical" context, the picture that emerges is that of a powerful new goddess/cult that is constantly trying any trick and punishment in order to dominate and dismiss the earlier cult/culture. In conclusion, Athena's kind of a bitch who's always throwing a goddamn temper tantrum.

This piece will eventually be turned into a pillow sham, literally transforming the embroidery into a bedtime story, enhancing it's nightmarish qualities.

*** I should add that I'm no academic, I just like to read a lot.