Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

SFSU bathroom [hi]

so.... i didn't really want to talk about this beforehand because i had NO IDEA how it was going to turn out. i got to have a sol lewitt experience. when i was asked to be in depth of surface at san francisco state the gallery director asked me to have a visionary moment outside of the building.

he said : we have a vinyl cutting machine. you make doilies. we'd love to make vinyl doilies and stick them all over the entrance doors. we have tons of students who can work on this. game?

heart racing as i had wanted to do this for years - in fact i researched getting vinyl doilies but couldn't afford to get them cut... i quickly said yes.

SFSU :: pilotwheel 3

so several emails and an map i generated in illustrator later.... voila. they did it. and not only did they do it - they did it ALL over the building.

SFSU :: pilotwheel 7

including the bathroom [that's me in the ladies room up top]. god i love enthusiastic students. so much. i feel blessed. i want to do this again and again in a big way. how to fund it? find the buildings to do it to? i don't know. but i want it. i could get used to being sol ... giving directions .... having it come together .... mmm hmmmm

nocturna :: install longview

and the other piece? i added wall drawings and crochet and felt bits around it ....
[sorry it's just not as exciting as the vinyl, huh?]

here are all the install shots [this is a pictobrowser image viewer - so it might not show up in a feedreader?]

Get the flash player here:


and the give-a-way? well - they gave me some extra doilies. so comment here with where you'd want to put one if you had one and i'll pick a winner next thursday :: 3/11.


i'm a bit tired of being sick. i'm battling illness number 5 this winter. more accurately WE'RE battling illness number 5 as the little has been super ill. this one was kind of a doosy - i won't go into details - but let's just say that some things make you realize that there is no place like home - even if there are piles of laundry and taxes to do. [never in a million years would i have guessed i'd be happy to see tax paperwork]

sneak peek of an installation

so... last year this 7' drawing was on exhibition at a gallery. this year i've taken this drawing and added some more wall elements to create an installation for a show opening this Saturday - the 27th - at the fine arts gallery at San Francisco State University.

the opening is from 1-3 and i'll be there ! come say hi - if you are around. the other artists in the show are really great : Julie Chang, Victor De La Rosa, Jennifer Ferré, Dustin Fosnot, Taraneh Hemami, Andrea Higgins, Ernest Jolly, Katie Lewis, Mung Lar Lam, Victoria May, Ali Naschke-Messing, Francesca Pastine, Anthony Ryan, Jeremy Chase Sanders, and Jina Valentine. [you'll notice some cross pollination with the by a thread show at the ICA in San Jose]

this is the drawing that was all about me being pregnant - here's the skinny on it.


this is just because it's too cute not to share....



ICA outfit

this is the outfit that i wore to the ICA talk on feb. 11th. gwen said she wanted to see it. so here it is. vintage dress....

and i also have to thank gwen as she sent a fantastic box [she always sends lovely packages].

thanks auntie gwen

in it was a valentine robot for the little. who immediately said ooh ooh and hugged it.... how cute is that?? gwen was kind enough to post a tutorial on how she made it so you can make one too. nothing like robot love . i'm happy that even though it's not mine, i get to hug it too !


and one more thing to note: on saturday i start a month long stint over at habit .

if you have yet to see habit then you really should take a gander. the brain child of emily and molly it's a lovely place to stop and behold.

i'm so honored to be asked and be amongst such amazing company

i have to dust off my camera and try to take some good pictures. nothing like a bit of pressure, no?

see you soon.

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so... the by a thread art talk?? well.... i got to sit in between two art crushes of mine -

Lauren DiCioccio

lauren dicioccio

i really love all her work, but these hand embroidered organza "plastic bags" are just SO delightful.


Victoria May

victoria may

none of the images on her site do her work justice. i particularly love the concrete and thread/organza pieces - like this one .

it's always a treat to meet artists that you have admired and have them be as wonderful as their work. it doesn't ALWAYS work that way - so when it does - well - it's icing on the cake.

a lot of familiar words were batted around: fragility, domestic, mundane, mending, nostalgia, lineage, notion... we all answered why we use thread in our work. i was next to last and really had very little to add on the topic after so many thoughtful responses [which were all interesting to hear]. the dreaded "c" word came up - yet again. i'm talking of CRAFT, of course. i'm not going to extensively rant about this here as i think this topic has been covered numerous times by folks far more intelligent than me, but... here's the short version of what i think....

i'm always disheartened when people continue to want to push a hierarchical divide between art + craft. one artist in particular was speaking about it's all about intention. in essence i can agree to that since ever since duchamp pointed his magic art wand and declared things art - you can "intend" almost anything into art. but i also feel that art can be born even where it WASN'T intended - in some ways it's art even if someone else intends it. this artist also spoke about how they felt that you discover "truth" and "something about yourself" while making something as an artist that you don't while making "craft" [i'm really generalizing here but you get the idea]. honestly - i think that's a load of bull. i think there is "art" that is fantastic/horrid and "craft" that is fantastic/horrid and that you can have an "art moment" [aka epiphany] in front of anything that you please - be it art/craft/utilitarian item. trying to separate them into these meaningful and ultimately elitist categories seems so 20th century [i'm being facetious here - kind of]. i always want my art to be well crafted and my craft to be artful. to me it's not about if macaroni art is "art" or gees bend quilts are "craft" - it's about what moves you in some way in any given moment [and that movement doesn't need to be like or love either]. enough said.

but speaking of said... lindsay sent me a poem that she said was inspired by my work. she writes a poem a day as an exercise [ah how i love daily rituals] and she sent it to me....

She ties the tightest knots,
practices first with her sister
who calls it cat's cradle,
but it's too easy diving her fingers in, out and through,
so she moves on to the living room,
tying the arm of a chair to its leg,
then a chair to another chair,
then a loveseat, a table, a lamp, a book shelf,
the thread like spider silk
that threatens to tangle in ankles
and the cuffs of unlooking pants.

she slips a needle through the patterned wallpaper,
and ties the chairs to the walls,
holding the room to itself.

i loved cat's cradle when i was a child - although i didn't have a sister to play with... how much do i love that last thought... holding the room to itself? so much. thank you thank you lindsay.

her website
her blog

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wallet size me

this piece is in an exhibition called by a thread which opened friday at the san jose institute for contemporary art .

there is an artist talk on thursday night and i will be there. first standing by my piece to answer any questions about it [they mandate this!] and then as part of a panel talking about the exhibition. if anyone is in the south bay and wants to see me wiggle and squirm in front of my piece - i'll be there!

this is an older piece of mine. they are all self-portraits - the images of me i collected when i went to visit my parents. they were all wallet sized photos - and thus the title of the piece is "wallet sized me". i'm showing the wrong side [back] of the embroidery. the side you don't see is actually neatly stitched. there are a couple reasons for this - one of which is just to reveal what is normally hidden.

wallet size me 1975

this was my passport photo when i was 2.

uppercase magazine

and some press :: i'm the blog beautiful feature in uppercase magazine issue 4 - thanks martha . uppercase is really really really a beautiful publication. they do a bang up job.

bring in some spring

and just because :: the plum trees are blossoming all over the place. i brought a few branches in to make it feel like spring.

i took this photo using my iphone and the hipstamatic app . man is that a fun app to play with.

hope everyone is having a good week. today there were blue skies and big fluffy clouds. fluffy clouds always make me happy.

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we are family :: 10 pieces framed

as a lover of all things mini it is my honor and pleasure to be a part of the 7th Enormous Tiny Art Show happening at Nachotta Gallery .

i made 10 new domestic scene pieces for the show.

we are family :: orange sofas

this is the one i sneak peeked a few posts back. i started this pulling the thread along the outer edges of my work in the pigmentary portraits series.

i'm really fascinated by this process. formally and technically and well... i just am. part of me really wants to get all joseph albers or agnes martin and JUST explore the use of thread in a colorway and structured pattern. get all minimalist. part of me likes the fusing of this process with what i'm already doing. i wonder if i have the guts to drop everything and just rely on the thread to do its magic. i should really just force myself to try it...

we are family :: pink and red sofas with doily [detail]

the other think i'm trying to do is add even MORE of a 3D element to the work. so i crocheted this doily from a single strand of thread and have pinned it on top of a hand drawn version of the doily...

we are family :: turqouise chairs [detail]

i'm also pinning felt shapes to things.

we are family :: turquoise chairs

from head on it's hard to tell that one chair actually juts out into space.

we are family :: blue + brown beds

this whole series is me thinking about our new family dynamic. for example the pattern in the piece above is from slovakian wallpaper - my husband's heritage is part slovakian... there are pieces with japanese elements too.

we are family :: green + brown chairs under a japanese sky

you can see the whole set of them on my flickr site [where you can enlarge them if you are contact of mine too].

you can also see them - and all the AMAZING WORK by the tremendous list of artists at the ETA website. you can also purchase artwork directly from the site if you are so inclined.

now it's time to go back into the studio to make the next group of work for the next show. big breath. and we begin again.

hope everyone is well!


there was cake

thank you so much for all the first birthday wishes... oh yes there was cake - homemade poppyseed with buttercream frosting... and there were cucumber sandwiches too. it was a lovely afternoon. and then we ALL got sick. one by one every. single. person. that came to the party. it was not food poisoning, but a really wicked stomach virus. oh dear. [hence no post this last week].


i thought i would share with you my vintage boston egg shaped pencil sharpener. it is my friend and companion in the studio. i think maybe gwen would like it.


it has been raining incessantly here. if we didn't need it so badly i might start complaining. i actually really like rain - the smell, the sound, the feel. but days and days in a row and we get a little stir crazy. the little gets VERY stir crazy. any break and you'll find us wandering around outside with an umbrella bundled up so she can look at some flowers and cars and birds.

this morning, i glanced over at the buddha in our garden and it looked like he had just had a good cry. i like that idea.

tonka in school

and finally some funny art.... i was asked to do a drawing for dogs in school an exhibition. [visit the website to learn about why dogs in school].

i immediately thought of tonka as a dunce. couldn't help myself really. i think he might complain and say he's no dummy, but... he doesn't talk - only snores and snarfles, so he really has no say i'm afraid.

Jan 30-Feb 25, 2010 at Screaming Sky Gallery in Portland OR

art sales benefit project grow

tomorrow i'm driving down to monterey to be interviewed for a video that companions another show i'm in. no idea what to wear. no idea what i'll say. sigh. hopefully my hair will cooperate.....

more soon i have LOTS of new art to share. made 10 pieces for ETA 7 .

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robots @ the Ulrich Musuem

does anyone live in wichita?? i've been meaning to post about this show and keep forgetting.

the show that was at the San Jose Museum of Art has moved on.

my wall drawing isn't a part of the show, but some framed drawings are.

up through December 18, 2009
ulrich museum site . i'm dying to know how it looks there....

glow - jennifer vasher's pills

I'm also in a group show at Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, NM called glow. [photos are from the gallery]

up through December 17, 2009

i really like all the work in the show, but these pill sculptures i really dig. they are by jennifer vasher

glow - long shot

here's an overview of the show

my work in glow

here's my work

i'm also in a show "Stitched, Looped, and Knitted"
@ The Mills Building through December 4, 2009
220 Montgomery Street in San Francisco
open mon-fri 8-6

this is kind of a funny show as it's in the main hallway of a downtown business building. i really do like how the work interacts with the space. i was only able to take a few pictures before they stopped me [oops].

@ The Mills Building - my work framed

what's funny is that they framed my work incorrectly. in the bed piece on the left, the orange bed should be facing the other way - but now that i see it this way i kind of like it?? i'll probably switch it back when i get the piece back, but i do like accidental happenstance like this. it makes me look at my work in a new light. maybe how someone else thinks is SHOULD be??

@ The Mills Blding - nocturna

i'm happy the 7' drawing is seeing the light of day. we had to come up w/ a way to put it on white since the walls of the space are yellow... gotta love MDF. yup.

@ The Mills Blding - lacey jane roberts

a piece by lacey jane roberts

this is actually the 2nd show we've been in together.
and i interviewed her for kitchen sink magazine a while back. see that here

@ The Mills Blding - aliza lelah

aliza lelah

other artists in the show: Emily Barletta, Lauren Dicioccio [whose work i really really really loved], Laura Kamain , Ruth Marshall, Esther Traugot, Marina Vendrell . there is some really great work in the show. [and i love the odd contrast of all this hand made stuff in this building - it's really funny]

fall walk :: look up & down

and because this post can't be ONLY about art shows.... if it looks like fall, smells like fall, feels like fall [finally chilly nights] then it must be fall right??

ok - the little's nap is almost done so i gotta run - but happy wednesday !

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someone kindly emailed to say that they couldn't comment on this post. oops! after fixing a broken link all sees to be working now?? sorry if you tried and weren't able to. and if you WANT to comment - you now can... or not.... happy weekend!

thanks for all the studio love... i'm so happy you are all so happy for me !

sketch clover

on monday i was holed up in the studio researching researching researching - and printing printing printing - pages and pages upon things for upcoming drawings. it was super nice outside and i had an urge to just sit outside and sketch for a minute.

and so i sat in my doorway [which i still have to show you - it's a custom swinging door] and sketched the clover at my feet.

it made me realize how much i miss just drawing something in front of me....

and so later in the day after a walk outside with the little i also quickly sketched this:

sketch pods

japanese maple seed pods [totally made me think of abigail and heather ]

i saw poppytalk's post on whitelines books and had to run out and get one for myself. [there was actually a store in oakland that had ONE left. just one. i snagged it]

more info on whitelines

note to self : try and find time to sketch. seriously.

i was recently gifted two books and they are UHmazing. i heart them. [it doesn't hurt that they are both by incredibly great people]

wall paper projects

by Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom owners of the curiosity shoppe

Wallpaper Projects: 50 Craft and Design Ideas for Your Home, from Accents to Art

is a BEAUTIFUL book. with easy to follow instructions. of course i now want to add wallpaper to a ton of things in my house. i even have a couple of rolls of vintage wallpaper... now i need the time.

bend the rules with fabric

by Amy Karol - our favorite angry chicken

Bend the Rules with Fabric: Fun Sewing Projects with Stencils, Stamps, Dye, Photo Transfers, Silk Screening, and More

how much does this book rock? so much. there is something about the way amy describes things that just makes sense to me. plus she's funny. and the aunt sarah/uncle pete dolls are just the coolest idea ever? enough said.

sketching and books. [well, sketchbooks are books too, huh?]. i love holding books. turning pages... technology is great, but give me a good book anyday. yup.

2nd 1/2 of the week, here i come... hope yours are good. see you next week.

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i can't believe the opening at rare device was already a week ago. this week has been a whirlwind of catching up on all the things i had put on hold while getting ready for the show.

it was a really nice opening. Lisa + Rena [of rare device] are super kind and supportive and it was a treat to have my parents, and husband, and baby, and father-in-law at the opening. it was also a treat to meet some folks for the first time, and see some friends who managed to make it, even though i gave out the wrong address. [oops. baby brain!]

his + hers : passport photos

so the body of work i made for this show is super duper personal [i know... most artwork is personal, but in this work feels even more so]. when my grandmother was sick with lung cancer i tried to make sure and visit her in LA as much as i could. once she found out i was pregnant she sat me down at one of our lunches [we always went to lunch at nice restaurants] and told me that i was going to inherit a good chunk of money. she said i could use it however i wanted, but that she really thought i should use the money to build a studio in my backyard. especially since i was about to have a baby which was going to change my world more than i could imagine [she had sparkles in her eyes when she said this. boy was she right].

his + hers : bling

thanks to my grandparents - AND the incredible building design of grub [ bug's partner ] i now have a space that is mine all mine literally 10 steps from my backdoor. [i know i still have to show you it. i've been waiting to make this little movie... haven't done it yet. it's on the LIST].

his + hers : lung cancer

i felt it was incredibly important for the first real work i did in the studio to somehow pay homage to my grandparents. because without them and their generosity i wouldn't have the studio.

his + hers : matzo

and so the show was born.

his + hers : tools

here's the statement i wrote about the work::

His + Hers
a show about my grandparents

My grandfather passed away in July 2006. My grandmother in October of 2008. Apart from my parents no 2 people had a more profound influence on me growing up. Their personalities, quirks, likes, dislikes were woven into my life in such a seamless way. In many ways I owe my artwork to them. My grandmother as she taught me how to crochet and knit and was an avid embroiderer. My grandfather as he taught me to love tools and how to take things part. Both of them taught me to be curious and work hard [traits that serve artmaking well].

his + hers : tracksuit

One of the functions of making art for me is acknowledging the past – connecting with and seeking to understand the nostalgic. I also often look to the “mundane” and the “domestic” - searching for small moments and objects that ultimately signify something greater than what they appear to be. I am also keenly interested in gender – what signifies and constitutes something as masculine or feminine? In rendering objects that may be seen as “male” or “female” can I alter or emphasize the perception, or can I create some sort of hybrid take on them as objects?

his + hers : cars

In my work I often leave long threads dangling – to me these threads emphasize the physicality and “drawing” nature of the work [they also pull the work away from “straight” embroidery]. The threads elude to time passing. In some instances they begin to hint at decay, things fraying and pulling at the seams. In my mind our memories start to have dangling threads as time passes – things are not as clear – they become fuzzy... The threads become longer. In other instances the thread highlights connections – moments where similarities are shared. And for me ultimately thread is a drawing device – like a pencil or pen – the thread simply has a different historical reference point than charcoal or ink. [The connotations of “women’s work” and “craft” are also things that intrigue me].

his + hers : need 6 of

These pieces are about what I remember as a child with my grandparents. What they wore, what they drove, what they played, where cancer invaded their lungs. Although they are in essence highly personal there is, I hope, intrinsically a universality to them as well. I’m sure there are people who have their own memories or associations with whisks, pliers, track suits, and American Matzo. These are just pieces of his and her story.

his + hers : cigarettes

his + hers : bridge game

his + hers : hobby

all the images are in a set on flickr . some of the pieces have comments there [like which one is one of my favorites and why bacos].

they are all available for purchase on rare device's site. [although part of me wonders if anyone is interested in this imagery besides me and my family].

oh! i also am part of pikaland's latest zine "good to know" where she asks if you need to have qualifications to be an artist. you can get a copy here . there are lots of really great answers!
have a good weekend!


b-day cupcakes

every year i'm surprised it's my birthday again. any wiser? nope! just older. this year in particular has sped by... last year i was cryptically implying that life altering things were in the wings. and here they are. the little is on her way to being a year old... my studio is built in my backyard... it's amazing to me how time can simultaneously fly by and yet things are happening. i can document, see, touch, them...

and this year it's amazing to get so many birthday wishes on facebook! i forgot they had the birthday reminder feature. and there are a lot of b-days happening right around now. bara , diana , karen , tracy , abigail ... i'm sure i'm missing someone....

Binding Constant at Rare Device

so here we go. install is friday for me ... before the opening of course.

Opens Friday October 2, 2009
from 7-9pm [i'll be there! come say hi !!!]

with marina luz and diem chau . two artists i totally LOVE and ADMIRE.

my portion this show is "his and hers" -- all about my grandparents and my memories of them. i'll upload pictures of all the pieces after the opening. and my statement on the show here. all art is personal - duh - but this show is really really near and dear to me. they will also be available for viewing [and purchase] on rare device's site.

ok - gotta run to pick up the babe.....
happy tuesday!

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My Photo
Name: lisa s
Location: oakland, CA, United States

hello and welcome to my blog. i'm a mixed media artist living in oakland, CA with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my baby daughter. i try to post once a week about things that inspire me, what's going on in my studio, and little tidbits of my life. thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!

please please please :: i am happy to have you use an image of mine on your blog or somewhere else, but PLEASE just ask permission before you do. and please don't hot link. it really is important that we respect one another and the work we do. and if you are too shy or busy to ask, could you at least link back to me? thank you in advance!


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