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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


paper cut, 12"x15"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Some Days Are Better Than Others

Some Days Are Better Than Others
Paper cut, 12"x15

Sunday, October 16, 2011


The results of the PUSH contest are in! Turns out, we have a tie! Our grand prize winners are David Hill and Lord Libidan.
First up we have David Hill's piece "Priest".

Here's David's essay-

Hi there! This one is simply called 'Preist' and was produced using a needle and cotton thread on 18 count cross stitch material (i used that material for it's sturdiness, not the 18 count haha) it's dimensions are: 15cm x 17cm

This is only my 2nd finished piece as I have only been doing stitch work since around mid July '11 (I started doing it to pass the time and say, at the end of my summer holidays, that i have had a productive summer before returning to my second year of graphic design)
I was asked to produce this for the EP artwork for my friends in a brilliant two piece band called 'Algiers'. They saw my first embroidery piece on a t-shirt and decided to get me to do the album cover.

I am particularly proud of my choice of colours for this one as I am usually not very good at choosing exciting 'popping' colours. It really adds to the emotion on the face of the guy i think. I believe the technique i am using is called 'silk shading' (I saw a picture of said technique in a traditional hand embroidery book and guessed its the closest technique to what i do) although very loosely. i must admit i really don't know much about embroidery at all... I'm getting there though! I didn't have any previous hand embroidery experience (except with a button or two) so the colour mixing was a bit of guess work and risk to see how it came out. And i must say so myself it payed off.

My favourite little aspect of this is the profile line running down the right side of the face. There is a really strong contrast and it defines the whole face. Another favourite part for me is the priest's clothing. No one will spot it, but i added lapels and creases to the t-shirt by using different patterns. And the shoulders are separated be a weave-looking checkered pattern. Very subtle, but I've always liked doing that sort of thing in my drawing. It's something I can do a lot with embroidery because I think a lot about the direction of every stitch and what it will do to the fluidity of the work.
I really enjoyed doing this and i'm looking forward to producing more work. The album that this work is for is coming out sometime mid october. by which time i should have my stock of t-shirts that arrived yesterday embroidered and ready to take in to shops and sell. I'm REALLY looking forward to carrying on with my technique and believe the way i do it and the non-uniformed approached is something of a unique aspect.
Hope you think so too!

Thank you very much for reading
Dave Hill

Our other grand prize winner is Lord Libidan with his piece, "3D Transforming Robot/Truck Fully Articulated Figure"

Here's Lord Libidan's essay-

Title: 3D Transforming Robot/Truck Fully Articulated Figure
Materials: Plastic canvas and embroidery thread
Medium: Textiles/Fibre art
Dimensions: Robot - 15cm x 9cm

As a male cross stitch designer/artist I've never been fully happy with the range of designs out there, due to their ease and rather boring subject matters.
As a response I've always tried to keep my stitching in with current male trends in terms of movies and games, while still making something more challenging.
While playing around with plastic canvas for the first time I started to think outside the box, and wasn't happy with the range of things people have done with the canvas before; making covers for tissue boxes, etc.
My piece is a fully articulated robot figurine based upon the transformers series, however as I started to make plans I wanted to do something a little different. I looked at current figures, online paper models, and pictures and came up with my own way to transform the robot into a truck, and back again.
My main aim with this piece was to create something still decorative, but something useful, and hopefully to children something to play and learn with, rather than just being something to sit on the side and get dusty, and something that will be held with high regard, rather than the plastic toys that get thrown out every year. The piece was then made into a pattern so that early teens, can make the toy for their younger siblings or in most cases for themselves.
This piece is now part of a series including many other transformers, and gets regular attention for being something different, but not too artsy fartsy. Hope you like it :D 

*You can find the pattern for the transformer in his Etsy shop! 

Finally we have our two runner-ups, Stefanie M. and Di Ellis. 
Stephanie's piece is titled "Hair". 

"Hair" Cotton and human hair (single strand, straight stitch). 4” x 4”
You can see more of her work here-
and on her flickr page here-

Di Ellis' piece is titled "Tattoo Sleeve". 
"Tattoo Sleeve" Cloth, hand quilted, and hand stitched
You can see more of Di's work at-

So that's it! Grand prize winners will also have their work and essays posted on MrXStitch.com and will receive a signed copy of PUSH. Runner-ups will have their work posted on MrXStitch.com and receive a paper cut by me celebrating their win.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CONTEST UPDATE! And other stuff.

1.The PUSH contest is closed! I will be announcing the winners on Sunday, and will be smearing their talent all over the internet via MrXStitch and Feelin' Stitchy early next week. Participants, expect emails from me this weekend.

2. Check out my new paper cut! I'm really digging these.

Swine Song
paper cut

3. I'm going to be doing a Q&A and book signing on Monday for Hoopla at In Other Words bookstore in Portland! Be there! Ask me stuff! 
That's it for now. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dabbling in Paper Cutting

Paper cutting has let me do a lot of the silly stuff I wouldn't necessarily want to spend a hundred hours rendering in needlework or printmaking.

First piece-
 Joffa Marie Dog

Second piece-

Golden Fleece 

Third piece, completed yesterday-


Anyway, it's been fun. I'm sketching work for a new one tonight. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Other Stuff

So, I've started *another* side project. I'm adding to it, slowly but surely.
Check it out HERE, and make sure you bring your appetite! (Really, don't bring it.)

Also, submissions have started rolling in for the PUSH contest, and let me tell you, the work I've been getting is top notch. Seriously awesome. Anyway, I'm accepting submissions through the end of September, read the rules HERE.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Hello Everybody! I'm so excited to be included in PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art, edited by my dear friend and boss-man Jamie Chalmers, known fondly as MrXStitch. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to do a contest!

So here are the rules-
1. To participate, you must submit ONE photo of ONE piece. The work can be new or old. It will be judged solely on originality. That's it. Don't send in derivative work. I'm looking for work that is truly unique. Photos must be clear. They don't need to be professionally shot or anything fancy, but they do need to be in focus and well lit. I need to know what I'm looking at! Please include the title, materials, medium, and dimensions.
2. Your submission must also include an essay, no more that 750 words, on why your work is awesome. Not your job/work but your artwork. Don't hold back! Be fearless and honest!

I will be accepting submissions through the entire month of September. The contest will close at 12AM Pacific Time on October 1st. Submissions should be sent to me at donkeywolf@gmail.com. The subject line should read "Push Contest".

The winner will receive a signed copy of PUSH Stitchery, and have their essay and piece featured on Donkeywolf, Feeling Stitchy, and MrXStitch. Two runner ups will receive a mystery goodie from me, and have their pieces featured on Donkeywolf, Feeling Stitchy, and MrXStitch.

That's it! I really hope I get millions of submissions, I love seeing your work and reading about what makes it tick!
EDIT- Der. This contest is for stitchy stitchers. Mixed media stitching is fine.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Women, Rise Up!

Women, Rise Up!
hand worked punto tagliato and hand embroidery
by me

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thunk. Thunk. Is this thing on?

Wow! I've obviously been very lazy about posting. So what's been going on? I'm sure if you're reading this you heard me shout alllllll over the internets about being in the final issue of Fiberarts Magazine. So that's old news. (Check your newsstands!)

I did have a really cool exchange with DMC. I asked if they would send me info on the history of their company so I could write about them on Needle Exchange, and boy did they deliver!

Here are the links of you missed it-
DMC Part I

I also included a vintage cross stitching pattern from 1904 at the end of Part III, here's the first page.

Oh, fashion. Ye are a fickle mistress. Still working on lace. This current piece is sculptural and hurting my feelings. I have been taking breaks from it to spin yarn for winter sweaters. Party like it's 1899 over here.
Speaking of fickle, I am also currently obsessed with terrariums.

So these have been fun and cheap time wasters.
 Johnny Murder has become obsessed with floral design. 

He's pretty awesome. 
Speaking of parties, we've had a bunch of house guests this summer, and we've gotten creative with our smoker for dinner parties. Check out this magic- 

That's right. Smoked oysters. 

That's about it! I haven't been posting much because I've been trying to wait until I have finished pieces to show off, not just WIPs. Oh! But I have been paper piecing, and that's been surprisingly easy. Not the clippy clippy basting style, the stitch the pieces on to the paper style. Anyway, more soonish. In the mean time- 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm in Fiberarts Magazine

Go buy it, because they ain't gonna be making any more ever. Jamie Chalmers, our wonderful MrXStitch killed it with his beautiful article, and Luke Haynes quilted its shroud. But mostly me. I'm in it. Yep.
Click to enlarge, but don't really. Just go buy it.

So anyway, now this is going to be happening around my house. 

Friday, April 29, 2011


Alexandra Walters from Self-Guided Art Therapy just finished this portrait of me. Here's the photo I stole from her website.

I can't talk to much about it, because it makes me have lots of feelings and I'll get emotional about how amazing it is and what an honor it is to be made thread by one of my favorite artists and heroes, and how she said as she was working on it she was thinking about the phrase "Owl-eyed Athena", which you know throws me into full on classics tizzy, and really, I just can't believe anyone I look up to would want to spend much time studying my dumb ol' face, and it's kind of a heady feeling. 

You should probably just go over to her blog and read the description while I blow my nose and dab my eyes. Allergies. Really. 

Then you could come back over here and read my interview with her and be awestruck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alright, Gang! Let's make this happen!

This is pretty much the best example of why I get whine-mail. 

I think you all know which one I submitted, and which one deserves your vote. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

How We Do

Just over two years ago I started this little blog. I didn't really think that many people would be interested in it, and sometimes I posted a lot, sometimes a little. Thanks to this little corner of the internets I claimed in the name of Donkeywolf, I'm doing about two shows quarterly, I landed a great gig writing for MrXStitch, I've met some kick ass artists and one of my heroes, and now I'm published.

This year you can find my thoughts and my work featured in the following books-
"Hoopla includes twenty-eight innovative embroidery patterns and profiles of contemporary embroidery artists, including Jenny Hart, author of Sublime Stitching; Rosa Martyn of the UK-based Craftivism Collective; Ray Materson, an ex-con who learned to stitch in prison; Sherry Lynn Wood of the Tattooed Baby Doll Project, which collaborated with female tattoo artists across the United States; Penny Nickles and Johnny Murder, the self-proclaimed Bonnie and Clyde of embroidery; and Alexandra Walters, a military wife who replicates military portraits and weapons in her stitching." 
PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art

Both are available at Amazon, and you can find links to the books on the right hand side of this blog.

I'm also going to be featured in the summer issue of Fiber Arts Magazine for my lacework. This is really exciting for me, because I actually subscribe to Fiber Arts! 
Love Birds
15"x15"  2011
photo by Angela Faz

Anyway, that's what's up with me! It's been hard to keep my trap shut about all of this, and I can't believe it's finally happening. I only wish I could send copies to everyone who was ever mean to me in Jr. High. Ha! Kidding... 

Anyway, I know I haven't been posting very frequently, but it's only because the lace work I'm doing now takes sooooooooo loooooooong and I'd rather share it when it's done. 

Also, I've got the largest piece I've ever done up at Hotel Hadley Studios. If you didn't get a chance to see it in Seattle at The Twilight Artists Collective, you can head over to the other side of the country and see it in Siler City, NC., curated by our Miss Drucilla Pettibone.
Curl Up With A Book 
featuring the ladies of the Oresteia 
60"x60" 2001
Photo courtesy of Hotel Hadley Studios.

Anyway, it's been a great couple of years. I can wait to see what the next few will bring. 

Friday, April 15, 2011



Pre-order on Amazon

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Brother

Johnny Mumbles
Johnny Mumbles
Handworked lace
Still needs to be stretched and mounted, but you get the idea. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love Birds

Love Birds
Handworked Lace

200 hours, finished yesterday. My hands are numb.