Friday, June 17, 2016

architecturally fitting

I am delighted to have another exhibit opportunity this summer with a group show "Diverse" at the law offices of Ashenfelter, Slous, McDonough and Trefenen in Montclair, NJ. It is a wonderful industrial office space that is a perfect fit for the City Lines series from my portfolio.

Here are a few pictures of the exhibit. The opening reception is past, but of you'd like to see the exhibit and you're not a client at ASM&T, contact me and I'll be happy to show you around.

Architectural Fragments and Urban Perspective
Sunrise and Specular Reflection
Specular Reflection and Architectural Fragments
Home Portraits (on loan) and three different fire escapes

Next up - lot's and lot's of hand stitching! Progress report coming up soon!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hanging with Horace

I have the pleasure of exhibiting my art in a lovely historic house which used to belong to Horace Greeley, who was the former editor to the New York Tribune among his other accomplishments. This exhibit is part of a town wide endeavor by the Northern Westchester Artists Guild. It'll be up the entire month of June, so please do pay a visit if you're in the neighborhood.

I am considering myself very lucky to have this exhibit venue as my architecturally inspired pieces are a perfect fit. I have hung most of my City Love Affair series in the two story home. The City Love Affair is my affair with St. Petersburg, Russia, and the romantic architecture fits right in here.

Here a few pictures of my pieces spread out among the historical displays on the first floor:

Upstairs is a whole lovely blue gallery which is now filled with all the large pieces in this series. It is like having a little retrospective!

Hopefully I'll see some pictures from the opening reception soon, but meanwhile here's the artist in situ..

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

in the mail

I shipped off my piece today for the SAQA Auction 2016. Hope it raises lots' of money for this organization that helps provide so many opportunities to artists.

My artwork is a further exploration of fire escapes that I just can't get enough of. I'm calling it Iron Spine 3. The back ground is comprised of re-purposed plastic bags, machine stitched in the skyscraper architectural theme. The fire escape is hand stitched from various ribbons and cotton embroidery floss.

Iron Spine 3 © Natalya Aikens 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I have been steadily, if slowly, progressing on my mini-series. The executive decision has been made that the first mini-series will be ten 6"x6" artworks, and I've edited the photos which will be used for my inspiration. I'll have five fire escapes and five water towers in this first bit.
one version of a fire escape
one version of a water tower
I've started pulling out the plastics for my backgrounds. My batting, which is actually spongy white packing material, has been cut to appropriate size. One of the most enjoyable parts of the process is layering the translucent plastics to see what colors I can achieve. It's almost like layering sheer fabrics, yet different.

I am also using various verbiage of warnings printed on the plastic bags as a part of my palette. In the pictures above you only see bit of that, but I have already started amassing lots and lots verbiage which will be layered between the colored sheets. Here's a preview below...
just a few words...
I hope to start stitching next week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


The last two days have been spent planning. Planning what? Art of course!

I am delighted to share that I have been juried into the Armonk Outdoor Art Show in Armonk, NY. It has been around for 55 years! One of the most prestigious shows in my neck of the woods. Can you tell I'm excited? It'll take place on September 24th and 25th, so I have plenty of time to get ready.

I have several large pieces that I already know that I'll be exhibiting. They are the ones I was juried in with. But I would like to have a variety of smaller pieces on hand also and that's what I've been planning. It'll be a busy summer in the studio!

I started the planning part with organizing my inspiration photos. Usually when I upload my photos from the camera or phone I immediately put them into albums for easy reference later. Well.... I am ashamed to admit that I have really slacked off on that task.... So today I organized them into albums.

I did a bit of editing and narrowed my choices down to about 20 that speak to me right now.

Then I narrowed my choices even more and opened them up in Photoshop for a closer look. My first two mini-series of works will based on fire escapes and water towers.

Now I'll play with them in Photoshop - cropping and figuring out the composition. Once I have that decided on, I'll dig into my materials and start making some serious choices. Right now I think that they will all be on backgrounds created from re-purposed plastics and the images will be hand-stitched with various threads. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 29, 2016

leap day

How can I resist making sure that there is a blog post here on leap day? I can't!

So a little overview of what's been brewing lately:
steadily stitching away on my extra large project
mending my favorite jeans boro style
embroidering a chinchilla for a friend
paint therapy happened (an old collage got thoroughly reworked many times) (just for the fun of it) 
I got the fieriest little doily in the mail from Amy Meissner
I rediscovered the lichen rock in my back yard... in the sunshine...
All these pictures are from my Instagram feed. Take a peek! Happy leap year!

Friday, February 19, 2016

something old, something new...

I've started a very large artwork. As a matter of fact - it barely fits on my design wall. But it feels right.
Several years ago I brought home from Russia all of my grandmothers' linens. And I do mean all! Doilies, embroideries, curtains, towels and lovingly mended bedsheets. This piece started on one of those bedsheets. Actually that's not true. The first part of it begun almost two years ago on a plastic drop cloth. I stitched a huge fire escape to hang in the window of my solo exhibit, you can see it in the background of the first photo in this blog post. After the show was done, I didn't know what to do with it. So I conducted an experiment and hung it out on the deck for a few months. It held up well. Then I put it away.
This month as I pondered about what to start on in the studio, I pulled out a mended striped bedsheet and hung in on the design wall. And then I remembered the fire escape! I pulled it out, trimmed away all the excess plastic and pinned it to the sheet. The sheet and the fire escape are speaking to each other. I have started stitching it down by hand with a snow dyed pine thread that I tamed a while back.
I'm not sure where this is all going, but in my mind it's all making sense. There might be a lot of mending involved in this eventually, there may or may not be doilies involved eventually... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

the little hump backed horse

Hello! long time.... Happy New Year!

As you might imagine life has been busy. The projects in the pictures below have consumed my life for the past two months. It was fun, challenging and hard work. And now it's done. Here's proof (in order of appearance on stage):
Ivan and the magical horses
Magical horses again
Ivan and the Little Humpbacked Horse find the Firebirds feather
the bazaar scene
The Tzar arrives
the Tzar and his Attendant
the Firebirds dance
and dance some more
I love this blurry image of the Firebird being captured
The Tzarina Maiden
the Moon and the Sun
the Fishes
Fish begging forgiveness from the King Whale 
more Fishes
The Tzarina Maiden with her Prince Ivan magically transformed 
my favorite colorful players
how adorable are they?
and for good measure the Moon and the Sun again...
That was a lot of pictures I know, hope you enjoyed them, I could have posted many many more! Here's the English version of the story if you would like to read it.
Now off to clean up my studio and make some art!

Oh and I must confess... I stole all these pictures from my friend Ekaterina who painted the fish heads and horse heads for me. I have an excuse! I was back stage helping with costume changes! And she did give me permission. Really.