Monday, April 14, 2014

unexpected abstraction

Quite unexpectedly I created an artwork of abstraction. I've done this once before (and realized that for some bizarre reason I never shared it here), but it was much more deliberate last time. This time it just kind of flowed out of me. They do say that art is therapy, so perhaps I work working on my inner demons... heh..

The challenge was to create a work of opposites for an exhibit with my fiber arts group. Wide ranging subject that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways and I can't wait to see what everyone else has done. I chose what I thought was the straight and narrow interpretation - black and white. I wanted to create an architecturally inspired grid and do it in black on one side and white on the other of this reversible piece. The grid got more and more complicated. And then I was compelled to fling some paint on it. OK, not fling, but use vigorous movements with my hands and a sponge. Thus the sides got reversed. Is it still black and white? Which side is black and which side is white? I don't really know.
black detail
black detail
Black. Natalya Aikens©2014
white detail
white detail
White.  Natalya Aikens©2014
Oh and in case anyone is wondering about my materials, it is all recycled plastic shopping bags and rayon thread. Black and white of course. Measuring 52" inches tall and 18" wide. See it in person at the Northern Star Quilt Guild special exhibits section on May 3rd and 4th in Katonah, NY.

Friday, April 11, 2014

folk couture

Run! Don't walk, to see this totally fab exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Center. It's only up until April 23rd. Here are a few of my favorite images to entice you. For a very thorough review go read Vivien's blog.
Ronaldus Shamask hanging from the ceiling
Fabio Costa
designers sketches - Gary Graham
more designer sketches (Fabio Costa)
I just love this little gem of a museum, wish it's bigger space didn't close....

Friday, March 21, 2014


Feels like I've been stitching asphalt forever...but I'm done now!! I think it was about two years ago  that I declared this piece finished. And then it hung on the studio wall waiting for a sleeve until it began to taunt me. It screamed at me. It wasn't finished it said. Do something! So I did. I took apart the finished edges and decided it needed its asphalt stitched. With thick metallic thread. That took a while, but that was exactly what it needed. And then it said it wanted to be wrapped around stretched canvas. So I did that too. And now it's really finished.

Presenting City Love Affair 3.
First a few details...
vintage lace curtain dipped in light gray blue dye, layered over vintage linen
machine stitched with dark blue thread and hand stitched with yellow silk
bits of paper deliberately left behind
walking on wet asphalt towards the light at the end of a tunnel
And now for the whole...
City Love Affair 3 ©Natalya Aikens
Do you understand the need for asphalt stitching? Makes sense to me...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

what the fiber

There is a wonderful exhibit that I can recommend for you to see if you're anywhere near New Jersey. It's called What The Fiber and it's on view at the West Windsor Art Center in Princeton Junction. Some great art representing terrific women artists whom I honored to be among! It's up until May 2nd.
My work on the right is in awesome company with Diane Savona

Another one of mine on the right, in company with Judith Plotner and Judy Langille

Me giving a two minute speech at the opening last week...eeek!
It's lovely large, well lit gallery that does great work, totally worth a visit!

Friday, March 14, 2014

playing for a good cause

I had a bit of time this week to make some fun art. Fun because I haven't made something this small in a while and because it was in a completely different vein than any of my current work. But it had a good cause behind it too! I found out about it through Kristin and could not keep away. My daughters helped me choose my subject and here's how I went about it...

First a bit of research on the Northern Fur Seal in words and in pictures. And then I thought I'd make my art out the very plastic bags that are harming the species. I downloaded a few pix and played with them in Photoshop until I found a pleasing shape. I printed it out and used the old fashioned pencil and tracing paper make a few shapes.
a bit of tracing
Then I gathered plastic bags in various browns and blacks and grays as those are the colors of the seal fur and cut out a ton of little seals.
plastic seal shapes laying about
I decided to use Styrofoam-like packing material as my batting. And started gluing down the plastic pieces in somewhat random fashion.
grays and blacks were the first layer
browns on top
Then I quilted the heck out of it outlining a few shapes to identify the seals. A bit of brown acrylic paint for texture and here it is, hard to photograph without reflections.. Itty bitty measuring at 7"x7" only. Twas fun!
Northern Fur Seal ©Natalya Aikens 2014