Tuesday, June 30, 2015

rhetoric

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

afterglow

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
pavement
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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

in progress...

I have been hard at work in my studio. In June my art will be a part of a five person exhibit, I'll have more info to share soon. Meanwhile here are a few pictures to show my progress on the piece for that exhibit. The inspiration for this piece is nighttime in St. Petersburg, Russia....looks like I am heading back to my heritage for inspiration once again!
My base is a square piece of vintage linen, perhaps a small tablecloth in it's former life
I layered brightly colored plastic bags on and basted with small stitches in yellow thread
This is what it looked like after I finished basting
Then I thread-sketched buildings on clear plastic. I was trying to be really sketchy!
Here they are on top of the bright plastic, I did use a bit of gray for the pavement
A close up
Then I started layering navy lace scraps over the plastic. These will suggest night time clouds
Here's my night sky in progress, some navy silk chiffon was involved
Now I'll be basting the lace pieces and adding some hand stitching
My goal is to have this piece ready to share in it's full glory in my May newsletter which will be out mid month. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 27, 2015

magic monday

I haven't been in my studio since I finished Spruce Street. Life got in the way. But I haven't stopped thinking about what I want to do once I got to the studio.... Here are a few things that caught my eye during the thinking stage.
beautiful bouquet
sunset lighting up newly minted leaves
a fabulous chandelier
And today I did get into the studio. For just a little bit....
a start of something new.....
Now full steam ahead! There is much to be accomplished....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

spruce street

And now for the reveal! Presenting Spruce Street home portrait... A portrait of a home and a memory. This house was a sweet childhood home... and now it's time to move on, while preserving the memory of a joy-filled home and a wonderful place to grow up.
I had great ephemera to work with, from hand dyed vintage linens, to upholstery fabric and birch bark! I agonized about how to include that birch bark without destroying it. I think I have succeeded. A book page with a tree was perfect for representing a magnolia and a multitude of trees surrounding the house. Vintage linen took to hand-stitching beautifully to become the azalea filled front yard. Plastic mesh made the most perfect grass and the final step was the suggestion of the red maple tree ready to bud. A maple tree with a wonderful long history that started with a young girl and a seedling...



A bit of a surprise from me was the inclusion of mom and dad in the portrait...
Spruce Street © Natalya Aikens
I am honored to have been a part of preserving such lovely memory. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

almost

I have one more major step to go before I finish the Spruce Street home portrait. And since I have not been very good with updates, I thought that I'd share a few close ups now before the final reveal.
so happy to have played with vintage hand dyed linen in the flower garden
tree printed in a book transforms into tree in portrait
I do so love birches!
some stitched rocks on the chimney
more azaleas from vintage hankie
I think I will be ready for the final reveal by the end of this week. If you'd like to be first to see it, sign up for my newsletter as that's where it will be seen first. Thanks for following the home portrait updates!

Monday, April 6, 2015

framed

I totally adore the ladies in my local fiber arts group. I don't get to see them regularly due my kids schedules, so I really cherish the meetings that I do get to attend, and the exhibits that we put on together.

And we do have a wonderful new exhibit coming up in May at the Mahopac Public Library in Mahopac NY. We have been exhibiting in their lovely third floor gallery for so many years now that it feels like home. Please join us for the opening reception of "We've Been Framed" on May 10th from 2 to 4PM. Everyone had to create an artwork that would fit into a frame. All frames where painted the same navy color to unify all the artwork. I had a preview at a meeting recently and it is a wonderful variety of styles, techniques and imagery!

Here's my work for this exhibit. I inadvertently seem to have gone back to St. Pete Lace series and created this piece using thermofax screens on color catcher sheets and thread painting. The screen printed imagery is from my photographs of many many wrought iron railings of St. Petersburg, Russia and the eloquent words of Alexander Pushkin. And the thread painted man is an Atlant who holds up the entrance to the Hermitage.
head...
legs...
torso...
Atlant Spb 3 © Natalya Aikens 2015
Hope to see many local friends at the exhibit! Thank you!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I'm back!

An extended, unintended break happened here. Preparing to teach and then teaching and then spring break are all to blame.... I have been trying to ease myself back into the studio routine despite the school break and now I'm going to try to ease myself back into the blogging routine. And a report on my latest teaching gig is the fodder!

Last week for the very first time I taught a workshop at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. It was also the first time I taught a workshop for more than two days! Five whole days actually! I have been teaching a workshop based on my use of Photoshop for art quilts for several years now, so it was a real treat to develop it into a longer version. And lucky me, there were only two students, so I got to tweak everything to their needs and figure out how to space the lesson plan best. Of course it will work differently with more students next time, but I have everything in place now.

Due to the luxury of time and space, my students were able to really spend the time developing their ideas and figuring out how Photoshop will aid them best. Here are a few pictures of our art filled days below...
Alison and her THREE! design walls
she got to play with pictures of Paris and NYC
Alison created a very moody work in sheers from pictures of the World Trade Center Memorial and was working on figuring out how to put together pictures of columns from WTC into an artwork
her work space was very busy!
here she is working tiny tiny hand stitches into her haunting slurry wall from WTC
Jane's design wall was very ethereal and magical, she played with pictures of her CitraSolv experiments and her own pen sketches
She created a mixed media work using metal sheets and sketches manipulated in Photoshop and printed on fabric
Jane even free-motion stitched for the very first time and really put the pedal to the metal! Oh and she hand stitched also.
This another finished artwork of hers that incorporated printed paper, dryer sheets and free motion machine stitching
layers of printed dryer sheets get the free motion treatment on her sketched work that was printed on cotton voile
We had a fabulous five day retreat with our lovely hosts Kim and Mark LaPolla. Oh and the food was delish! Thank you!
I got to do a bit of art too in the teachers sketchbook! and in case you're wondering... it's not easy to machine stitch a page while it's still in the notebook....