I listened to Yo Yo Ma's rendition tonight, and loved it- he plays it beautifully... But there's just no SOUL. Jacqueline Du Pre's rendition, however, is transcendent and perfect. Seeing Daniel Barenboim conducting brings tears to my eyes, particularly as he gave Ms. Du Pre got the shaft in so many ways. But MY GOD, her playing!! Electric.
It's been a year since my friend Carlos died. A long year, gone by in a heartbeat. This evening I visited with friends to look at photos of Carlos and share countless amusing anecdotes. Carlos' gardening was mentioned, and it wouldn't have been right not to discuss his creative and wonderful sense of style. The funny stories were laughed over- tales from Carlos' drinking days and his way with the ladies. But the stories pertaining to Carlos' big heart were the ones that made my own heart ache. He touched all of us in so many ways, and gave himself wholeheartedly. I thought about how he babysat my daughter (although I never quite knew the shape my kid would be returned besides absolutely covered in grime), offered me ridiculous jobs when I needed money, and even, on three separate occasions when I was absolutely down on my luck, tried to get me to either live with him or in an apartment next door. Selfishly, I miss my friend because it's really tough 'going it alone'. I'm a single mama- sometimes, if only for a moment, it's nice to feel taken care of. It's a rare feeling, but one that Carlos imparted with regularity.
I try my best to be little miss happy f-in' sunshine, but tonight, I feel an unusual sort of quiet, weighted sadness. Walking home after leaving my friends, I thought of a few lines from a Coleridge poem:
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
In word, or sigh, or tear -
(After the jump, the entire poem. It's lovely, absolutely, although utterly melancholic.)
I still love my friend very much. Thanks, Carlos, for having been there.
Life has been a little hectic since taking a fulltime job back in March. Not much time to write (but I'm making a great effort to find those 25th and 26th hours per day!), and sadly, absolutely no time for art-making. Therefore, I'm thrilled (to say the very least!) that the dynamic-duo behind Texas-based Bows and Arrows has bought (outright!!) five pieces for their upcoming show, 'A Needle Pulling Thread'.
Bows and Arrows writes:
A simple needle and thread give these carefully selected artists a common ground in which to create their works. The artists work on a variety of mediums including fabric, wood and paper. While using sculptural, as well as figurative and abstract elements, the artists build a whirlwind of visual characters. These works, viewed together for the first time, encourage a dialogue on the notions of where “craft” might fit in contemporary art. Our world is encompassed by the basic technology of sewing, from clothes to furniture, from a jet plane seat to ancient beadwork. The long history of this medium invites one to rethink and challenge its foundations and A Needle Pulling Thread influences the new folk aesthetic by encompassing what sewing is and what it can be.
Anyone want to take me to Texas for the weekend to see the show??!! Below, a detail of one of my pieces... Also, I have four pieces left from the solo show I had last summer at Spacecraft. Don't YOU want one of my embroidered canvases on YOUR wall??
Hello there, strangers. It's been a month since I last posted. 'Cause guess what? Working like a madwoman in a full-time job, writing like a demon, embroidering, and being a mama is a little time-consuming. But things are good. Read on...
One of the cutest and most wonderful of gallery/shops ever just bought FIVE of my art pieces! Out of Dallas, Texas, Bows and Arrows shows amazing art, and sells beautiful flower arrangements and really cool crafts. And soon, my dears, they'll be showing my work! Here's a peek at the pieces they've purchased:
How cool is THAT?? The pieces are from a show I had up at Spacecraft this past summer. Interestingly enough, it was just over a year ago today that I started embroidering on canvas and showed my first work, in a show at Brooklyn Collective (which was where, incidentally, the owners of Bows and Arrows bought their first of my pieces, entitled 'Growing Pains'):
The job is going well- a ton of work and a kabillion hours at the school- but I think I'm making a difference. Every time I start to feel overwhelmed I just close my eyes for a moment and remember that for three wretched years I used to work in finance... It is so gratifying to be working with people I can actually relate with, and for reasons I find important (I guess making money for rich people wasn't my cup of tea).
Anyway, all of this has made me EXHAUSTED. Knowing that my internal clock will wake me up at 4:30 to write, I am going to soon go to sleep, where I will probably dream of strange decapitations/bird heads, selling my novel, seeing kids grow, and, in the morning, will wake to my sweet girl's smiling face.
Sometimes, it's pretty amazing to be here on this earth, breathing, making things, being human.
To end, and because it's spring, I'm going to show you a few pretty arrangements from Bows and Arrows (because if none of you knew already, I LOVE flowers. They made me happy- they are sublime- magical- beautiful- strange. They make me want to weep (in a bittersweet sort of way). They make me want to go to weddings. (A little extra parenthetical, within parentheses, aside- I LOVE weddings almost as much as I love flowers... but you probably knew that, right?) They make me want to run through fields and roll down grassy hills). Enjoy! And happy spring!
I've been working on a few orders, and am gearing up for an event next week at Madewell (I've been once again retained to embroider). Perhaps you might be interested in receiving a pretty little package in the mail? Sort of like the one below? Stop at my little Etsy store to take a peek...
Or, if you're as hard up for cash as I am these days, maybe you'd rather win some of my work? You have two days left to enter my 'Write for a Rat' contest. The winner will collect one of my canvases from a show I had last summer. Click here for details!
Life is good. Very good. Raising my kid, embroidering, writing, laughing, and, as usual, MAKING IT WORK!!
I'm poor... really, really poor. As in, man-oh-man, it really sucks how poor I am. That said, I had a great time this past week with my daughter during her mid-winter recess. On Friday, we went to visit our friend, Dan, who works at the Natural History Museum. We walked through the amazing Silk Road exhibition, and I made sure to get my 'passport' stamped at each 'passport station'. As I told Dan, he exhibit is as close as I'll get to traveling for a long, long, long time.
This 'staycation' thing is getting old... Many of my friends are currently traveling/seeing the world. I have the travel bug, too, but I keep finding new bills in my mail box!
Anyone out there want to pay a struggling artist/writer to write a travel guide? I'd be more than happy to accept your all-expenses paid offer to go just about anywhere.
Today Anevay and I spent the entire day working on a school project. The assignment? To come up with a game that incorporated either math or language sciences. We devised a spelling 'knock-out' game, using, of course, none other than Muhammad Ali to help guide us.
The nearly complete game-board. Anevay is going to add some flourishes tomorrow.
Still working away, at 5PM. My kid's putting in a longer workday than many of the 'creatives' who live in my neighborhood.
This makes me laugh.
There are three levels of words- these are some examples of level one. Some of the level three words are brutal!
Proud of herself... I'm proud of her, too.
As for tomorrow, I'm going to scramble to get some of MY work done!
This past Sunday, Anevay and I trekked with our roommates across the river to Chinatown to celebrate the New Year! For those of you who have never experienced New Year's in NYC, just imagine a rich combination of firecrackers, streamers, kabillions of (drunk) people, amazing food, drums, and dancing dragons, and you'll have an idea of what it's like.
Yesterday, some kind Midwesterner placed an order for one of my Banksy-inspired Free Palestine shirts. In the past, I've donated $5 from the proceeds of every shirt to the Palestine Crescent Society (a branch of the Red Cross), but last night, preoccupied with other things, I went to the First Nations Development Institute website and made a donation. It was only after completing the donation I realized my mistake. Not that the First Nation Institute isn't great (it's in place to assist in strengthening American Indian economies, a matter dear to my heart), but if my buyer had wanted a Native American shirt, he would have bought one.
Anyway, I went to the Palestine Crescent Society site, but was unable to place an order. So I went to a folder on my computer where I keep information on great non-profit organizations to see where else I might donate. I opened the World Wildlife Fund site- something about seeing images of all those endangered animals tugs at my heartstrings. Very quickly, I forgot myself again, and inadvertently made a $5 donation. Again, once the transaction was completed, I realized my error.
I did, however, laugh when I saw how much my support was appreciated by the 'WWF', which, on a side note, made me remember pictures my dad once gave me of the time he went to see Andre the Giant:
I wonder if there has ever been an acronym war between the World Wrestling Federation and the World Wildlife Fund? Anyway, the shirt below has nothing to do with wrestling...
Now, $5 isn't a lot, although this past year I've learned quite a bit about how to stretch a dollar. If my kind Midwestern buyer is reading, please know that you have inadvertently donated to not one, but three very worthy and unrelated causes!
My flutter-brain-ness is really helping to save the world. Sigh.
Many of you may know that throughout 2009, I embroidered clothing at events for the J. Crew offshoot, Madewell. Well, looks like I'll be starting up again in March, with one of the brand's Denim After Dark events.
This morning, while leafing through my one few vices, amNew York, I saw that there is at least one fellow Williamsburger interested in Madewell...
Alexa Chung, whose MTV show was canceled last month, will be the first celebrity to design a line for the label. High-waisted skinny jeans will be amongst the pieces in her line.
Inneresting if it weren't totally boring. Yet despite the ridiculousness of the new wave hipsters (gag), I happen to like Madewell jeans. How about you? Will YOU be brave enough to wear jeans that are not only tight (jeans + totally tight = teans?), but leave nothing to the imagination by rocketing above your navel?
I say be bold, fashion soldiers. Surround your jiggly wonderful bellies in yet another STIRRING rendition of the skinny jean.
NYC declared a snow day for public schools due to the 'huge' snowstorm (I'm from Wisconsin, so the few inches that have accumulated thus far seem ridiculous). My kid is delighted, and so am I. It feels like a weekend, and Brooklyn, usually so grimy, looks clean- dare I say, PRISTINE.
I'm writing up a storm (haha), and later this afternoon, plan to get out there to run around a bit by the East River. I'm envisioning a massive snowball fight. Anyone want to join us??
My friend Tom has been in town for a few days before leaving on a many-month stint working in the jungles of Colombia. It's been great to see him- an added bonus is that this past weekend he brought a friend by who not only loved my work (much of which is littered around my loft), but asked if it is for sale! Obviously, I answered in the affirmative, and she picked up the above piece, called 'The Hand That Feeds', one of my favorites from my solo show this past summer at Spacecraft.
If you like what you see, check out my Etsy site for pricing/images/more info about some of my other work! And if you happen to be a friend or even a friend of a friend interested in a particular piece, shoot me an email and we'll work out a special deal.
Check out something I wrote for Lost at E Minor about the uber-awesome Victorian Photocollage exhibition at the Met. The above pic from the exhibit reminds me of some of my own work (see picture below). Make sure to check out my Etsy store for pricing/more info about my art!
Hey all, Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts just posted on their online publication a story I wrote for my new blog, Brooklyn Reject. In the story, called 'Brooklyn Reject: SO not even close to becoming a starving artist', I write about unemployment, underemployment, hunger in NY, and provide a couple of snarky comments about folks pocketing large bonuses. Check it out, here, and leave a comment to me know what you think!
As I refuse to spend money on Barbie clothes, my kid has been designing her own. On the left, 'Bluey' wears a short repurposed shift dress from last year's summer line as well as a lovely necklace from the winter jewelry collection. On the right, 'Steve Obama' wears a muumuu from the spring 2010 line.
I am Melissa Banigan. I've been many things under the sun, but am currently a single mom raising an amazing kid in Brooklyn, writing novels and short stories, and working on some art (canvases and paper). I also, under the moniker melifera, produce off-the-cusp embroidered clothing and bags.