Sunday, March 22, 2009

Brooklyn Collective Opening

What a whirlwind the last few months have been, starting in September when I was laid off from my wretched marketing job in finance, and ending with an opening party at the Brooklyn Collective, an artisan gallery located at 196 Columbia Street.

Check out the gallery's website:

The state of the economy has made many people renegotiate their lives. After spending a couple of months meeting with recruiters and trying to find yet another crap job, two things dawned on me: A) right now is not the best time to be looking for a new job; B) I have time to spend doing all the things I love the most! And although I still speak regularly with my recruiters (thanks, ladies, I know you're all working very hard to find another crap job for me), I have put myself wholeheartedly into all of my various projects.

See, the funny thing is, I had this coming to me. And no- despite what I thought the first few weeks after I was laid off- this was not due to any karmic wrongdoings I've done in my life, but rather because I wanted my life back more than anything. I had screamed silently to whomever might be listening out there in the omphalos- I WANT TIME TO FINISH MY BOOK AND MAKE PAINTINGS AND BE WITH MY DAUGHTER.

Well, be careful what you wish for... Your dreams might come true, just like mine did.

Time... a beautiful thing.

I spent a couple of months working with an amazing editor on finishing up my book (it's coming along, slowly but surely- draft three of a grueling re-write), and enjoyed myself enormously, but alas, writing sans a publishing deal doesn't generate much of an income (and in fact, it becomes quite an expensive habit, with all the lattes that must be consumed to stay awake)...

So I put my thinking cap on...

I was a crafty kid. Really crafty. Needlepoint and beading and all manner of handmade goods (think millions of woven potholders and you'll have an idea of the sort of gifts my poor parents had to feign love over). But soon before my daughter was born all of this changed... Her father, being the emotional abuser he was, made me feel that my craftiness was not real art, and, in fact, debased it so completely that, being the insecure and, yes, emotionally spent young mother I was, I stopped making anything besides a handful of uber-crappy paintings and tried to become something- anything- other than who I was (I only see now how f-in' fantastic I was back them). After a stint at Beloit College (in Wisconsin), I transfered to the prestigious Art History program at Columbia University, where I spent my final two years as an undergrad learning all about primarily dead men- both artists and dealers- who had shaped the art world into the monster it has become (yes, I'm 32, and no, I will not apologize for getting my undergrad only a few short years ago... but that's a story for another day).

Well, it took awhile to return to my crafty ways... I first needed to get it out of my head that being crafty was provincial. Again, this came directly from my kid's dad... but then, he also called my family, the books I read, and hell, even me, provincial. He was, FYI, from Iowa, a place that is apparently far-removed from anything provincial (I write this tongue-in-cheek). I digress... Anyhoo, although unemployment was the impetus behind me examining my lost craftiness, I can really thank Prez Bush. The many ways in which he screwed up the planet really worked to my advantage... Actually, if we can all trudge through this mess, the country as a whole might benefit from Bush's greedy disaster. Losing money means we need to renegotiate the ways we make it. I think we're starting to wake up to the idea that large corporations might not be serving our needs, and, in fact, often damage us. I'm just one of the great big flock of millions who is trying to take back some of the control our government stole. I want to see small businesses flourish. Hell, I want to see MY small business flourish.

So thanks, George W., for being such an asshole. You did me a great favor. And thanks to my old employer, for also being such a greedy jerk... Being laid off and receiving an incredibly crappy severance package meant I needed to be industrious... and quickly!

Here's how I resumed my crafty ways...

About a block away where I live is a fantastic art/craft shop called Spacecraft ( I poked my head in one day just for a looksee, immediately was sucked up into the vortex of craft heaven, and ended up walking out in a daze with a bag of embroidery thread and needles. A cheap and easy way to keep myself occupied, I thought. But once I started, I couldn't stop... I made a few bags, posted them on Etsy, and within days, I was contacted by a wonderful woman named Rachel- one of the two proprietors at the Brooklyn Collective (again, check out their artisan gallery- it's GREAT: She asked if I might be interested in selling my work at their space... duh!! I quickly knocked out a load of bags, shoes and clothing. All of this got me thinking- why stop with wearable items? Why not bring the craft of embroidery to the art world? Of course, there are amazing visual artists creating beautiful embroidered canvases. But I've noticed that none of them are really concerned with the stitching- they leave lovely messes of strings and hanging bits all over the place (which I love, don't get me wrong). But I like the idea of using a needle and thread like a pencil, and drawing over the canvas with clean lines. The results, so far, have been a handful of fantastical, fairy-tale-ish pieces. I wasn't sure I'd have much of a stage for them, but the ladies at the Brooklyn Collective appeared to like them well enough, and hung up two of them for their opening party last night (they recently moved locations). Also, a solo show right here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is in the works... I'll let you know the details once they've been hashed out!!

All of this is a big task, to be sure... The cost of materials- canvas in particular- is daunting. I'm currently taking applications for patrons/patronesses. Starting a start-up with no start-up money is daunting. But I have to use that one thing that is at my disposal- TIME!

Thanks to everyone who made it out last night to look at not only my work, but the work of 20 other artists and designers. There was great music, a little (OK, actually it was a lot) wine, and a fun burlesque show. The crowd was terrific, and hopefully a few sales were generated!

Cross your fingers for me...


  1. Bravo! This is a testemony to being true to yourself and turning disappointments and hardships to something creative, postive and constructive. A great example for your daughter. Wishing you much success...I'll be following your progress, and putting in another order soon.

  2. Their email bounces back and they never paid me for my consignment.

  3. Are you using the correct email?

    I just received a check from them over the weekend for last month...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.