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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Work, New Blog, Old Ideas

I've been doing a lot of shisha experiments over the last year. If you're unfamiliar, shisha is the embroidery tradition of fixing mirrors to cloth using stitches.
Mirrors and Buttons on silk
And then I thought, well that's interesting, I wonder what else can be shisha-ed, and started doing things like this.

Shisha Mixed Media
Mirrors, Buttons, Sand Dollars and Urchin on velvet
And then I remembered how many places that use mirror work in their embroidery, do so because of a spiritual tradition. There are conflicting views based on the region, but often times mirrors are used to attract or repel spirits. Coins can be used in this way too, almost anything that's shiny. Bones, shells and teeth are also good examples of things that are relatively common in traditional needlework.
When I started digging, I also found many examples of seeds being used in traditional embroidery for similar reasons. Sometimes it's just that they make easy beads, and sometimes it's their scent that it used to attract or repel spirits. Sometimes it's just an easy way of holding onto them, it just depends on the culture. So I started playing around with that idea.

Fetish Triptych
Fetish Triptych
Seeds, Elk Tooth, and Urchin on velvet
Then I just started raiding the yard and pantry for anything I could force a needle through.

Seed Stitch

Seed Stitch
Seeds and Husks on silk
I'm not sure where I'm going with these pieces, but I am working on an installation in the style of the last two. There's a lot of weirdness in embroidery. I think that sometimes we believe that what we're doing is highly unusual, or ground breaking, but history shows us that a lot of the themes and materials we use have been common for tens of thousands of years. However, it is thrilling for me to "discover" something I haven't seen before in these traditions, and then reinterpret it.

Also, this is a good time to announce that starting in March, I'm going to be writing for Mr. X Stitch! YAY! My column is called "Needle Exchange" and I will be exploring traditional needlework throughout history, (and often pre-history) and finding it's modern counterpart. So if this little piece came off a bit light, it's because I'm saving the heavy footnotes for Mr. X Stitch. Hope to see you guys over there! (Don't worry, I'll still be here, too.)


  1. Cool! I love to see how creativity takes off from learning something new. And your results are beautiful and interesting. Good luck on Mr. X Stitch.

  2. AWESOME work, Blossom! And congrats on the MrXS gig :}

  3. I just found your blog and this is so inspiring! I need to go find out how to do shisha right now!!!

    Great post!

  4. Thanks everyone! If any of you are in the Portland Or. area this friday, I'm showing several of these pieces at two different galleries. Check the text at the top left hand side of this blog for links to the galleries!

  5. Nice pieces .. please add more collections

    Good fine arts