Monday, October 5, 2015

a bit of progress

I am slowly plugging away on the latest home portrait. I had a very hard time making the collage decisions on this one, so much precious ephemera, I didn't want to make a wrong choice! But I persevered and have something to show for it.
the sketch overlay is helping me decide on placement
lace from the dress claimed the left bottom corner
the bride wanted to include the maid of honors speech...but what font shall I use?
I settled on two fonts..
I adhered everything and stitched my outlines
diamond windowpanes were the first to be hand stitched
 few more windowpanes
I am looking forward to diving into the hand stitching. There is a lovely roof line to show off, great stucco texture on the walls, and more windowpanes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

a wedding present

I am starting work on a new home portrait this week. The best part of each and every home portrait to me is just how different each one is from the previous one. Not only are the homes different, the materials different, but even the reasons for the portrait are different. This one happens to be a wedding present. Newly married, newly home owners, embarking on a wonderful new life together... What could be better!

Here is the ephemera that I have been given to work with:
I printed out the scale version of the newlywed's castle
made a sketch. And I'm loving diamond grid window....
the pineapple wrapping paper references the diamond window grid nicely
I have some beautiful cards to work with also
and perhaps even the lace from the wedding gown...hhhmmmm....
Lot's of options. Now how to put them into a cohesive whole? Hopefully I'll have that figured out by the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

saturday snapshot

...or several... This spring I indulged in something slightly different from my usual oeuvre.

In our Russian scouting tradition we have a wonderful little quirk that everyone loves. During the second summer in the older kids camp, they receive their forest name. It could be anything from an animal to a force of nature. Everyone awaits in anticipation and speculates what name they will wind up with. It's a tradition to embroider the name on your neckerchief, or stitch a patch on. I indulged my daughter and her friends and stitched a few names for them.
an arctic fox
a cherry blossom
a lyre bird
a waterfall
a white rose

The hole you see in each one is made with a hot stick from the campfire. It's burned into the neckerchief as they get their name. And looks like I'll have a few more to embroider in the near future...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

saturday snapshot

I created a little artwork for a friends birthday. The detail below is an in progress shot. What I really wanted to do was post a slide show of its evolution that I had shared on Instagram.... but alas for some reason I cannot get it to post here... But you can watch it here!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

a "what I have been up to" blog post...

yes... What have I been up to? Well.... aside from shuttling my kids to and from sleepovers, playdates, pools, beaches and other summer pastimes, I have prepared for and spent the day showing my art at the Chappaqua farmers market Art Under the Bridge with Northern Westchester Artists Guild. That was a fun if hot day, I met tons of new people and even sold some art!

I have been doing a bit of hand stitching on an artwork that has really been lounging around unfinished for way to long. And will probably lounge around a bit longer.

I've been organizing my studio and office. That's hard to really get into as first I need to make a bigger mess and that's a bit of a problem with guests in and out of the house.

And I have been working on a rather large artwork. It's going in fits and starts, but it's going.
I started with a sketch, let's call it Crosswalk for now
I added sky. These are strips of various plastic shopping bags from the blue color family.
Then I started making buildings in pinks and oranges.
And this is where it has been for a week now, waiting me to start on the church and the sign.
Maybe next week I'll have an update where all the blanks will be filled in. A girl can dream...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

daybreak's always so full of activity! And in between all that activity I finally managed to finish a small artwork, and finally post to the old blog...

Daybreak is a small (12"x12") study of the George Washington Bridge in pinks, on a background of greens. The pinks are hand stitches in a variety of cotton embroidery threads. The greens are re-purposed plastic shopping bags layered and machine stitched with a collage of skyscrapers. Daybreak is on stretched canvas with my usual thickly painted edges.

Daybreak. © Natalya Aikens 2015
Happy lazy summer days to all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Rhetoric - the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Not something I'm usually good at. So I thought I would use words used by others to convey a persuasive message of my own. Or is it my own? Maybe it doesn't belong to me? Here's what I came up with:

Rhetoric. Natalya Aikens © 2015
100% re-purposed plastic shopping bags, rayon thread, matte medium.

Monday, June 22, 2015

happy summertime!!

Oh boy! What happened to June?? Well here's a quick show and tell in pictures:
I've been stitching a bridge on some buildings in plastic.
I've been cutting out plastic verbiage for graffiti
I've been putting the pedal to the metal with lots of thread-sketching
I have embroidered a lyre bird
I have started embroidering an arctic fox. This is my outline.
Trying to figure out how to stitch fur. It ain't for sissies...
This is the undercoat, now I've begun the topcoat, I'll let you know how I mess this up...
Oh and yesterday I published my June newsletter, take a read here if it wasn't delivered to your in-box.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 1, 2015

busy busy...

There is so much going in the month of June! I touched upon some of these things in my May newsletter, but I better mention it here too...

First, tomorrow we (Vivien Zepf, Kristin La Flamme, Deborah Boschert, Robin Ferrier and moi) are hanging our exhibit at Etui Fiber Arts Gallery in Larchmont, NY. It'll be ready for viewing starting tomorrow afternoon and please join us for an artist talk on Sunday June 14th from 2 to 4PM. I finished two new artworks for this exhibit, one was shared in the previous blog post and another I don't even have time to photograph. So you'll just have to see it in real life first. And I'm not the only one with brand new work in this show!

Second, this Thursday June 4th is the opening night of Art Around Town. It is the exhibit of NWAG artists paired up with generous Chappaqua, NY merchants. It'll be going on until June 29th, but please join us on Thursday from 5:30 to 8P for the opening reception. My artwork will be displayed at ICD Contemporary Jewelry at 75 S. Greeley Ave.

Third, this Friday June 5th is another opening for another NWAG exhibit! This one is at the Martin Stankiewicz Gallery in Tarrytown, NY. The opening is from 5:30 to 9PM. My work will be exhibited along with several other local Westchester artists.

Fouth, June 5th is the opening day for Her Stitches, an exhibit at the Croton Free Library in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. It'll be featuring a selection of women’s needlework, combining historical and contemporary examples. My work will be part of the contemporary examples as will be the work of my fellow FANE stitchers.

I hope to see some of you at a few of these lovely events! And so to not leave you without a picture in this blog post, here's an in progress shot of the piece I didn't have time to photograph. Come by to see it at Etui in Larchmont!
Luminous, a detail in progress...

Friday, May 22, 2015


If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, then you have already seen my latest artwork. I am delighted to share it here now.

In my previous blog post I shared the progress of this piece. Now I will share the details of the finished artwork. I thread-sketched the lower portion with the buildings and the street, and hand-stitched the sky. I was inspired by own photograph of a street scene in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was just after sunset and the sky was still glowing orange, threatening clouds just started floating across the sky, the street lights went on....and everything glowed.
irregular hand stitches in the clouds
thread snippets in the lights
city meets sky
Afterglow © Natalya Aikens 2015
Most textile art is hard to photograph and this piece presented an extra challenge due to the shiny plastic and the sheer chiffon. So really, you'll just have to come see it in person!

Afterglow will be a part of a group exhibit with my circle of art friends (Kristin LaFlamme, Vivien Zepf, Deborah Boschert and Robin Ferrier) at the Etui Fiber Arts Gallery in Larchmont, NY from June 2nd to June 30th. Hope you will be able to join us for an artist reception on Sunday, June 14th from 2 to 4PM.