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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

History of Craftivism!

Go read my article at MrXStitch. It's not crazy long like last week. Enjoy! Click HERE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


relief print by me, 6"x9"




send your address to donkeywolf@gmail.com to receive a signed and numbered print, 1-30.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Needle Exchange

Head over to MrXStitch for my amazing conclusion to Let's Talk About Sex!
Because who isn't interested in understanding sex in needlework?!?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Get ready for Wednesday!

photo by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1983
On Wednesday's edition of Needle Exchange with Penny Nickels, we'll be wrapping up our "Let's Talk About Sex" discussion with some contemporary artists, including the work of the lady pictured above. That's a hint! Mark your calendars!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For Bridget

We eat grits around here like crazy. Almost everyday, sometimes several times a day. I'm stocked up on corn meal to Zombie Apocalypse levels around here. Lots of people have asked how I make them, so I thought I'd post the recipe here. Now, I'm not Food And Wine Dot Com, so if the way I've written this seems weird or confusing, let me know and I'll try to answer your questions.

Get Ready to Get Fat!


Okay, I use coarse cornmeal, which is the same as polenta. You can usually find them in the bulk isle. They'll be yellow, and they'll say something like polenta/grits coarse corn meal

It's all pretty much the same, lots of regions have some sort of corn porridge. Although grits are sometimes made from rice or hominy, I like the yellow coarse kind. Some people will tell you that you need to stir these non stop for an hour. I'm too lazy to do that. These taste great in half the time and half the stirring.


Here is a great, pain basic recipe. Nothing Fancy, easy to understand. My recipes are a bit different, but this will totally get you started.


Here are three variations

Main Ingredients

1 cup coarse yellow corn meal

1 cup milk

3 cups water (or stock if you want to get fancy)

2 tbs of butter (but you can leave it out if you're trying not to have a heart attack)

salt and pepper

(These are the main ingredients that you will always use, and always use this ratio. 1 cup grits to 4 cups liquid)

However, all add ins to the main recipe are flexible. Meaning, if you have two cups of mushrooms instead of one, throw it in and don't worry about it.

This is a one pan deal, use a sauce pan that can handle at least 6 cups or more, But a stock pot would be overkill.

Also, these recipes can easily be vegan, just sub milk for water or veggie stock and leave out butter or cheese. Variation 3 works well for veganizing.

for fancy time variation 1.

1 portabella mushroom, diced or a similar amount of crimini, shitake, or chantarelle mushrooms diced. Eyeball it. Somewhere between one and two cups of mushrooms.

1 cup (or more if you're throwing blood-pressure to the wind) shredded cheddar

2 diced cloves of garlic (or more cloves if you're awesome)

fresh thyme, about 3 nice sprigs, stripped and leaves chopped.

(Also, have some frozen corn in the fridge? Throw a half to a whole cup in along with the liquid, it's awesome)

Sauté mushrooms in butter or olive oil until brown and fragrant at medium high heat.

Throw in thyme and garlic and give them a stir. Do not brown the garlic, we're just incorporating these last items at the last minute.

Add the cup of milk and the three cups of water, bring to a boil.

Add salt and pepper to liking, or add when serving. Up to you.

While stirring slowly, pour the cup of cornmeal in a thin stream into the pot. Keep stirring, scraping the sides and the bottom for three minutes.

(This shit will splatter like Cajun Napalm and burn the crap out of your hands. Use a long wooden spoon.)

Reduce heat to medium low and continue stirring until it's a not so angry splatter fest. (Around five minutes)

Stir in the cheese a few bits at a time until melted.

Adjust the heat to the lowest medium setting, (does that make sense?) and let it cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, giving it a stir every few minutes. You'll know it's done when the grits start to pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir, they'll almost have a slight dome to the surface, instead of laying perfectly flat across the top. (I just realized, it pretty much has the consistency of really thick batter)

Ladle it into bowls and marvel at the wonder of perfect cuisine that hails from the South, or Italy, or Africa, or South America, or wherever.

IMPORTANT- If you let this sit in dirty bowls, forks, spoons, pan, it will set up like cement. Rinse out!

Leftovers! Pour the left overs into a baking dish and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Later pop them in the oven at 350 until hot (maybe 20 minutes) and slice and serve. Or slice the cold grits and fry in hot oil. This method is yummy but tricky. Lots or splattering and they'll stick if you're not careful.

Fancy Variation 2-

sub the mushrooms and thyme for sauteed chopped spinach, shallots, and garlic, and the cheddar for Gruyère

Fancy Variation 3- roast one whole butternut squash. Use a masher or a hand blender or food processor to get it really smooth, add it to the boiling milk water mushroom combo in Variation 1 BEFORE you add the grits. Whisk or stir to incorporate well, the liquid will be orange color and mostly be lump free, (except for the mushrooms), like a smooth potato soup consistency. Leave the cheese out of this recipe, you won't miss it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I'm really fucking tired of a vocal minority insisting that the only reason artists embroider erotica or guns or anything that's *slightly* controversial and not a precious kitten is because they making A FEMINIST STATEMENT. OR SUBVERTING A FEMININE TRADITION. Really? Because I'm going to have to insist that by making such a sweeping generalization, those people are lazy and ignorant. Not everything I do is dictated by the political history of having a vagina. Really. And shockingly, that's also true for many artists. But because those people are going to think that anyway, I figured, fine. Here is my “giant feminist statement” piece. Enjoy, dipshits.
Clearly, You Haven't Earned Them Yet
Clearly, You Haven't Earned Them Yet
Mixed Media Shisha 11" across
Hand embroidered on hand dyed silk with pheasant wing

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Check Out The Penises in The Bayeux Tapestry

No, seriously. Check them out.
I have a new twice monthly column at Mr X Stitch! YAY!
Click HERE to read it! This month's column is about traditional genital motifs in needlework, as well as the pants down people in the Bayeux Tapestry. Why did I pick this as my first piece?

Well, for some reason, people seem to to be accepting of the piece below.

As well as this piece...
But show them the same thing stitched and it's all, "The Horror!"
"Pervert!" and "You're just trying to be shocking!"

The question I asked was, "
What I find most interesting about this genre of work, is that we seem to struggle to find a context for it. Sexual representations, whether graphic or oblique, can be easily found in all art forms throughout history. So why does there seem to be an issue with it in needlework?"

So come with me over to Mr. X Stitch where I try to put all this business into context. And don't worry, all the images I use over there are completely G rated. As a matter of fact, it's probably things you've seen a billion times before.