Participation in other artist’s art projects 2015-17

From time to time, I love to participate in art projects of other artists. This gives me the opportunity of working for a concrete assignment given by someone else then myself. I like to send work not only to textile artists but also to artists working in other media. I see it as a welcome challenge to create a fiber art piece that “fits in” with the other media art pieces and it is also another try to let the art world know that textile works have a right to be regarded as art pieces just as well. Plus, taking part in other’s projects provides the bene of having my work more widely shared.

Below are my works that I sent to other artists within the years of 2015 – 17.


 

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“The key” 2015

Creating “The key” was my very first time participating in a mail art project. I was approached by the talented and friendly contemporary mixed media artist MOO (Monika Mori) and instantly loved her project! The project’s theme was “Turquoise” and you can see all the amazing entries in this online gallery. Since this first participating in an art mail project, I love the concept!


 

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“Colorful Silence” 2015

In spring 2016, I came across an open call for another art mail project on facebook. The project was initiated and curated by the Spanish photographer María Hernández Laplaza. The project’s theme was “Confidencias mudas” and the resulting exhibition toured throughout Spain. Some pictures can be found here. Unfortunately, my work was stolen during the first exhibition. 😦


 

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“Gugu dada” 2016

Another interesting art project I found in 2016 was author and artist Sabine Küster’s mail art project “…mir ist so daDa im Kopf!”. As a Swiss artist and author myself, I feel closely connected with dadaism and I love playing around with words as much as I love embroidery! My entry (see above right) was selected for publication in the project’s work book (above left). The book is available here.


 

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“Between moss” 2016
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“Between blues” 2016
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“Fill the gap” 2016

Inspired by the three art mail projects I took part in, I decided to give a go at curating my own exhibition after all. As a founding member of the Swiss Hand Embroiderer’s Guild, I organised the project “IN BETWEEN / DAZWISCHEN” under the Guild’s roof. The project resulted in an online gallery and a one-day exhibition in a pop-up gallery in Winterthur, Switzerland. My three entries are shown above. The project was a very time consuming but also very exciting and satisfying undertaking. 🙂

PS: The Guild hosts a yearly fiber art project since then. Go check out their website!


 

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“Evidence” 2017

In 2017, I participated in a project by fellow fiber artist Martina Unterharnscheidt. She planned and executed an exhibition in her own gallery with the title “Almohadismus – das Kissen in der Kunst”.


 

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“Upcycled CD – front” 2017
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“Upcycled CD – back” 2017

Also in 2017, I worked with one of my favorite artist collectives Art in Open Roomz again for a small yet funny art project: upcycling cd’s into art objects! You can view pictures of the resulted mobile sculpture here.


 

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“Beautified” 2017

My last project entry in 2017 was “Beautified”, a quilt square for a collaborative art quilt by the Upcycled Cloth Collective founded by upcycling textiles virtuoso Melanie Brummer. The square has to be made of recycled materials and has to show a word paraphrasing “upcycled”. If you are interested, join the collective here.

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Framing choices … or how to put textile art on walls

Many fiber artists sew tunnels on the back of their art pieces to hang them like you would a quilt. Or they choose to sell their art work without hanging system and leave it to the buyer how to put it on his/her wall.

Me? I found that I simply like deciding how to put my pieces up myself! Earlier, I sometimes feared the risk of the buyer disliking my framing/mounting choices. Not anymore! I love to mount my finished pieces on or into something that is easily hangable; in fact, I feel that my pieces are only finished after I have mounted and/or framed them! So why stop before what I see the last step in my creative process only to try pleasing a broader buyer spectrum?!

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“I don’t hear your cries” – one of my “bearded men”, finally framed!

Also, I really want to make my textile pieces shine like classical paintings. Textile arts live a shadowy existence within the fine arts anyway; and proper framing at least gives them the opportunity to quickly be hung between paintings in a gallery.

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“Just grateful” with it’s beautiful wooden frame

My mounting choices

I have two favorite mounting options: mounting the piece on canvas or mounting it on foam core board.

As to canvases, I buy industrial made canvases and customize them by painting and/or embroidering them to become the proper frame for my fabric piece. The fabric piece is then sewn (or in rare cases as I would with denim) glued onto the canvas.

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“After birth”: an old piece, directly sewn onto canvas

As to foam core boards, I buy them in do-it-yourself stores or in architect’s supply shops. After having cut them into the right sizes, I mount the textile piece onto the board. Sometimes, I then call the art work finished as is; other times I also frame it afterwards.

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“Los-t”, mounted on foam core board and put in frame (without glass!)

My framing choices

I buy my frames in do-it-yourself stores or online. Sometimes I overpaint them. Going to the framers and having the pieces put in a customized frame would be far too expensive for me (it is VERY pricey to have it professionally framed in Switzerland!) – in fact, this would multiply the price of my work. So I leave professional framing for the times when I will be a rich and famous artist… 😉

Some pieces go in a vintage frame; I especially love upcycled old wooden frames that once were windows or mirrors!

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“Dad” in an old mirror frame.

What is YOUR way? How do YOU put a textile piece on a wall??

 

Worn series

Worn – a series of surrealistic needle paintings on worn denim.


 

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What defines purity? 2017

Is a woman’s sexuality pure at birth?

Does life impure a woman?

Does desire impure her?

Does lust?

What about the purity of emotion?

About the purity of lust?

Is pure temptation impure?

Is pure lust impure?

– What defines purity?!?


 

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Eye of the tiger 2017

guardian, protector, paladin

seeker, explorer, investigator

deceiver, beguiler, impostor

– The eye of the tiger


 

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All quiet now 2017

Fall has come

Leaves have dried

Lips are sealed

Life has fallen

– All quiet now


 

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En balance

juggling fragility and strength

taking hold of time

– en balance


 

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Your heart in my pocket 2017

Do we belong to someone?

Does someone hold our love?

Is that might?

Is that abuse?

Are we prisoners?

Are we free?

– Your heart in my pocket

View Points Davos

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View Points Davos is a series of 4 landscape pictures, framed in embroidery hoops.

They are replicas of pictures I took in my hometown of places (view points) I really like.

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On the back, the exact geographic coordinates are indicated.

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To the fiber techniques (appliqué and hand stitch), mixed media is added (miniature sculpting and painting). The pieces are adorned with paraphernalia I found in exactly the same places as depicted (dried flowers, stones, lichen etc.).


 

Here are the four pieces:

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Albertibach 2015
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Albertibach 2015 – zoomed

 

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See 2015
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See 2015 – zoomed

 

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Wyti 2015
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Wyti 2015 – detail

 

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Hohe Promenade 2016

 


 

One of the pieces (Albertibach) was juried into the yearly contemporary art exhibition Bündner Werkschau at the gallery Kabinett der Visionäre in Chur in 2016.

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Stamped series

The stamped series is not new, but I am catching up with this blog today… hopefully… 😉

So: for the stamped series, I cut stamps (obviously!). I started with cutting lino, but my fingers didn’t like the band aids very much… therefore, I bought some rubber sheets which are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier to cut!

The resulting three textile pieces are below.

> Unframed:

> Framed:

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“Drift” 2016
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“Time” 2016
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“Wind” 2016

Striped series

“Creating pattern, exploring stripes” – these were my main goals with this series. Furthermore, I wanted to experiment with incorporating unusual materials into my work. I finished the series in July 2017 and the works (alongside others) will be shown at two upcoming art fairs in Basel and Zurich.

 

My first piece is titled “Winter Eve” and it addresses three senses: sight, touch and smell. On a painted cotton background, I attached citrus peel and gloves with hand stitch and further adorned with glass beads. This is how it looks in a golden painted wood frame:

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“Winter Eve” 2017

The second piece is titled “Frost”. My daughter painted some cotton with water colors, and I cut it into stripes of which I then burned the borders. The burning process further changed the colors of the fabric stripes which added a cool effect. I then fixated the stripes on a cotton background and added sashiko-style embroidery.

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“Frost” 2017

Piece no. 3 is titled “Industrial”. I formed aluminium stripes out of yogurt lids and created a linocut stamp for the ring shapes. Framed it looks such:

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“Industrial” 2017

The fourth piece bears the title “Serenity” (after a fellow fiber artist saw it in progress on instagram and commented “it looks so serene!” I dediced on this title 😉 ). I painted a silk background and carefully glued birch tree bark stripes on it before adding stitches. For framing, I decided on a dark frame for contrast:

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“Serenity” 2017

The last piece is “Pollination”. One that also addresses two senses: sight and smell. The stripes consist of bee’s wax and the embroidered part is mostly turkey work, left uncut.

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“Pollination” 2017

Ribbon in Grey – an embroidered book

In 2014, I started what got to be an embroidery illustrated story. And now, three years later, I finally hold the first edition of booklet copies in my hands! 🙂

Back then, I participated in an online course of the Atelier Lange Nadel and we had to each month upload a new piece of work in an online gallery for about half a year. I decided to create individual pieces that would loosely connect to each other. I started with the coral reef that later became chapter 5 in my story:

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techniques: photo transfer, stumpwork, appliqué, padding, hand stitch

As a recognition feature, I added a piece of grey satin ribbon. That’s how my story got it’s title!

As to the story itself: I am also a writer and had had a story about a medieval wet nurse in mind already for a long time… always wanted to write a novel, but could not find the time. So I decided to write a story in free verse instead. It is in English, which is NOT my mother tongue. I don’t know why, but the words just came to me in this language. Maybe because in English, you can say a lot with just a few words whereas in German, you would need much longer phrases…

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techniques: linocut stamping, beadwork, hand stitch

So here we go: “Ribbon in Grey” is a story about a medieval nurse and her daily struggle for survivor. It is also a story about power and fear, about loss and love. Want to read the story and see all embroidered pieces? You can order a copy here.

Momenti series

From [lat. momentum] meaning ‘moment, phase, point of time’, these works sketch moments in life where a particular feeling was predominant.


 

All momenti series’ pieces are worked on a hand painted silk background.

The embroidery is mostly an exploration of stitches, sometimes with the addition of beads or metallic threads.

The first three pieces were shown in the art gallery OhneTitel in my town in 2015.

And a year later, some of the pieces have travelled as far as to Australia to be shown during the Small Works 2016 exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery.

 

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Just grateful (2015)
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Not looking back (2015)
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Deeply rooted (2015)
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Los-t (2015)
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Melancholic (2016)
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Anxious (2016)

I recently experimented with different framing possibilities. I tried mounting on foam board, framing behind glass, framing without glass, painting custom frames etc. etc. What I came up with in the end is a combination of above variations:

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Do you like it?

Gli merletti di Burano (needlelace of Burano)

Whilst being on vacation in Venice, Italy, I had the chance to visit the Museo del Merletto (the Needlelace Museum) today. The museum is located in a building formerly known as Scuola del Merletto (the Needlelace School) on the isle Burano in the Venetion lagoon. The Scuola was founded in the late 19th century. But let us travel a little further back in history first…


Since the 16th century, royals all over Europe and other upper class people as well as the church (esp. the Vatican) liked to show their wealth and power by wearing robes enriched with exquisite gems and laces. Therefore, lacemaking was a highly demanded craftwork and in Venice (as well as all over Italy), many women could up their housholds’ incomes by selling laces they made by hand.

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Venice, 16th century. Reticello point.

A hundred years later, Louis IV, Roi Soleil (the Sun King), even “employed at his court” (ordered to Versailles) specialized Venetian lace makers to fullfill his need for exclusive garments.

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Venice, 17th century. Burano point.
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Venice, 17th century. Venice point.

After the epoch of the French Revolution, the demand for lace adorned garments recinded when lace as a former status symbol of the rich became a detested symbol of bigotry.

In the 70ies of the 19th century, the Scuola del Merletto was founded in Burano to preserve the traditional techniques of lacemaking. The Scuola was managed by a convent and the nuns thought woman and also girls from as young as having finished primary school the art of the Venetian needlelace.

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Venice, 19th century. Pattern.

In a short film, one elderly woman remembered going to school there and that the nuns very often cut into her pieces as they always found some irregularities. As a young girl she was devastated and thought she would never learn. But she went on and on and, in her final school year, received a prize for her outstanding craftsmanship!

The Scuola del Merletto was closed in 1974, but 7 years later, the Museo opened its doors.

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museomerletto

(Please note that I cited the above history as I remember reading it at the museum today. There were no booklets or information flyers to take home.)


There are still a few lacemakers working for the museum and for local craft stores. But as one seller told me, unfortunately there are no longer young apprentices…

Luckily enough, I found a local shop (also on the island itself) where a lacemaker sat at work! While watching her busy hands I appreciated the delicate motif she wove with her thin cotton thread… and I left with a beautifully crafted “raised work”: a butterfly, made by the same artist I met!

by Alessandra Sittuni

(I also bought a handmade doily… which I eventually will embroider with my own stitches… ideas are already forming…)