cross stitch

Reclaiming My Time

My Facebook memory this morning was from last year’s New Years Eve Bash when I wore my favorite LuLaRoe dress and danced the night away and drank too much vodka and re-created Kim Kardashian’s best party trick.

Behold the many talents of the big booty.

Behold the many talents of the big booty.

This year’s was much less wild - bra was off by 6:30pm, romper and favorite sweatshirt were on, Chinese takeout was procured, and I was cuddled up on the couch with needlework and a Shaun the Sheep marathon with my kids until we stuck sparklers in potatoes in the backyard.

Life is beautiful and amazing when it’s a mix of wild and calm, loud and quiet, staying in and going out, acting up and slowing down. Being intentional with my time and thinking about how I want to really use it is something I've been thinking about a lot in 2017 and something I'd like to continue to implement in 2018.

My dear friend Rachel gave me this  Emily McDowell mug  for Christmas and I've been drinking everything out of it, from coffee to cocktails, because it's sentiment is so spot on for me some days.

My dear friend Rachel gave me this Emily McDowell mug for Christmas and I've been drinking everything out of it, from coffee to cocktails, because it's sentiment is so spot on for me some days.

There were a lot of important feminist moments in 2017 and I have several favorites, including this one. In what was arguably one of the most poignant political moments of 2017, Democratic Representative Maxine Waters spoke up to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin when she was testifying before the House Financial Services Committee in July. After he repeatedly spoke over her during her allotted period to intentionally run out the clock, she kept repeating over and over, "I'm reclaiming my time." It was recorded and widely reported and brilliant and meant so much more to all of us. Waters had been speaking out against the Trump administration for months before this and women all over the country had been applauding her voice and efforts, myself included. But this particular incident stood out because it resonated beyond this original context.

Like the Washington Post wrote soon after the incident:

Who among us, after all, hasn’t lost irreplaceable time to a uselessly meandering meeting, a pointless conversation or a draining social interaction? Waters’s phrase rang out as a rejection of that made manifest, delighting all of us who have been spoken over, ignored or had our time wasted by others. In a year studded with absurd examples of men interrupting their female colleagues, a dignified woman’s firm insistence on being heard and getting straight to business was a welcome and empowering surprise. And for many women and people of color, the phrase “reclaiming my time” felt particularly poignant, with the idea of reclamation specifically speaking to both the present and the past. Society has been wasting not only their time but also their voices, agency and potential — for years. Yes, there is the ongoing silencing and underrepresentation of women and people of color in boardrooms and business offices. But there are also centuries of being unable to vote, run for office or participate in public life. There are decades of enforced or de-facto segregation by gender and race.
Reclaiming My Time, 2018, cross-stitch in vintage hoop. I've spent the past few weeks stitching for myself and for a commercial gig and it's felt really, really good. This beauty is my own pattern and thus imperfect, just how I like my art. Lucky for you there are several cross stitch patterns out there if you want to stitch one yourself (including  this one  from my favorite Subversive Cross Stitch).

Reclaiming My Time, 2018, cross-stitch in vintage hoop. I've spent the past few weeks stitching for myself and for a commercial gig and it's felt really, really good. This beauty is my own pattern and thus imperfect, just how I like my art. Lucky for you there are several cross stitch patterns out there if you want to stitch one yourself (including this one from my favorite Subversive Cross Stitch).

2017 was the year I truly learned the importance of reclaiming my time. 2018 is the year I'm taking it seriously.

Here's to reclaiming my time from the internet trolls

Reclaiming my time from those who spend theirs tearing me down

Reclaiming my time from feeling shame over my cellulite

Reclaiming my time from feeling like an imposter

Reclaiming my time from those who expect my labor and expertise for free

From not asking for what I’m worth

From saying yes too much

Reclaiming my time from seeing unwanted penises and predatory sexual contact

Reclaiming my time from thieves of my joy and frauds and liars and fake friends

Reclaiming my time from what others think about me

Reclaiming my time from the guilt of motherhood

Reclaiming my time from diet culture and healthism

Reclaiming my time from other women’s internalized misogyny

Reclaiming my time from keeping up appearances

From striving for perfection

From pretending to be something I’m not

From exercising out of fear

From hiding my body to make others comfortable

Reclaiming my time in the sun and the dirt

Reclaiming my time in a bikini

Reclaiming my time in the kitchen

Reclaiming my time in the yoga studio and in the foothills

Reclaiming my time in the bathtub with my books

Reclaiming my time in front of the camera

Reclaiming my time by pausing and stitching and being still and moving my hands

Reclaiming my time in 20 second hugs

Reclaiming my time in my head and my heart




Making Your Own Way

Nearly six years ago I got a surprise email from a woman I'd met only once before. She was the sister-in-law of a dear friend of mine, a fellow University of Idaho alumni, and a local interior designer in Boise. She wanted to meet for coffee and talk about a proposition. I'd recently been laid off from my job as a curator at the only art museum in Idaho. I was blazing my own trail and cobbling together the career that I really wanted, including being my own boss in the local art scene, a writer, and a burgeoning body positive activist. I'm always open to meeting new people and taking unexpected paths, though, and thought, why not?

I pride myself on having an intuitive read on people and a savvy sense, so after a long conversation over brunch at a little bistro at a garden nursery in Boise's North End, I knew I'd met my entrepreneurial match. Kristin had an idea - she'd seen a lack in the art and craft scene, particularly around quality holiday bazaars. I couldn't agree more, I said. Boise needs something a little edgy and indie and high quality. I think we should start one, but I need you. I've got the business experience and organizational expertise, but I need your curatorial eye and connections in the art world, she said.

A lot of research, organization, hard work, long hours, and creative sessions later, Wintry Market | Handmade for the Holidays was born. And here we are, celebrating our fifth birthday this weekend. Since the beginning, we have prided ourselves on hand-selecting our vendors for the best quality and diversity in one marketplace, while charging a modest booth fee and taking no artist commission. Kristin and I spend hours doing tax paperwork and making Excel spreadsheets and working with a local artist to design our poster each year. We write blog posts and Facebook updates and promote on the radio and craft press releases. Our assistant, Anna, is the creative genius behind our amazing website, where she volunteers her time. You'll see our husbands there up on ladders and our parents babysitting grandchildren and hanging signs and my 11-year-old daughter Lucy selling art at my booth, including embroideries she stitched with her own little hands. The behind-the-scenes work that goes into this successful local event is extraordinary and so worth it, as all the best small business endeavors are. Over 1,500 flock to our free event each November on the weekend before Thanksgiving and shop. They meet the artists in their neighborhoods and buy earrings for themselves and hand-crafted candles for their grandmas. Their kids hang out at our free art stations and snap photos at our photo booths and eat lunch at local food trucks in the parking lot.

Our very first Wintry Market was at Ballet Idaho with around 30 vendors one snowy weekend five years ago and we've grown to take over the entire historic El Korah Shrine with 63 vendors, both upstairs and down, and a full bar for your cocktailing pleasures. This year we're excited to partner with the Boise Public Library to bring you a free 3-D printing workshop where you can make your own tiny jewelry treasure. The annual Boise Holiday Parade will be happening in the neighborhood on Saturday morning as well, so bring the little ones, wave to Santa, and stop by to meet the makers afterward, including Kristin and myself. She'll be upstairs near the stage at Inspire Me Gifts with darling stockings she's been slaving away at over her sewing machine and I'll be downstairs at Ticky-Tacky, selling subversive cross-stitches and thrift store monster paintings. You may not find us at our booths much, though, as we'll be running around like happy little elves, stocking toilet paper in the bathrooms, helping with parking, chatting with vendors, (hopefully) sipping a cocktail in the Oasis Bar and spreading the truth and love about making your own way in the Idaho grassroots art scene.  Because not only do we at Team Wintry believe that to be true, we've proven it to be a successful business model and a way to give back to our art community, making it the best kind of business to be in.

 {I take unloved and discarded landscape and still-life paintings from thrift stores and rummage sales and illustrate and paint quirky monsters in them giving them a silly new life. $20-$40 at my Ticky-Tacky booth at this weekend's Wintry Market!}
{As a radical feminist artist, I often incorporate needlepoint, particularly cross stitch, in subversive ways. These stitched up bits of craftivism are all unique and available at my Ticky-Tacky booth at this weekend's Wintry Market, $15 each.}

ARTSY: Needlework for Wintry Market

We're celebrating our fourth year putting on Wintry Market | Handmade for the Holidays, an upscale and inventive indie art/craft holiday fair. I'm co-creator and co-organizer with my friend and local interior designer, Kristin Montgomery.
This year's Market will consist of innovative and original items produced using traditional art/craft methods created by 48 vendors from around the Treasure Valley. Also part of the Market will be a Kid's Craft Workshop by Bricolage, coffee by Joe 2U, baked goods by Boise's Bakery, food truck by P. Ditty's Wrap Wagon, local live music curated by Go Listen Boise and a winter-themed photo booth. For the locals, Wintry Market will be held Saturday Nov 22 (10am-5pm) and Sunday Nov 23, 2014 (10am-3pm) at the El Korah Shrine on the corner 11th and Idaho Streets in downtown Boise. Admission is free to the public.
In addition to organizing the event, I also operate a little vintage booth called Ticky-Tacky. I typically sell mid-century home wares and quirky items, and this year I'm adding some hand-stitched artworks to my usual fare.

As an artist, my work blurs the boundaries between fine art and craft. For me, the repurposing of found materials adds both tactile and historical elements integral to the contemporary story each piece tells. I learned needlework and cross-stitch from my mother as a girl.  My foundations with fabric, combined with my academic background, have allowed me to explore traditional women’s handiwork in a non-traditional way. Needlepoint has been an important part of America's past and a recent resurgence in the art/craft has proved its duration and importance in our lives. 

As a writer, words and storytelling are also ways I express myself. Combining contemporary text, often song lyrics from female pop stars like Katy Perry, the Dixie Chicks, and Taylor Swift, with stitching can be both playful and powerful. It speaks to history and generations, telling stories of women throughout the years - the (presumably) older ones who lovingly hand-crafted the vintage tea towels and linen napkins in the 1950s with the pop star girl power of twentysomethings today.

I've also made a handful of these lovelies, of course, inspired by Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch, of which I've been a fan FOR YEARS.

This year my ten-year-old daughter, Lucy, will be joining me. I've taught her how to embroider as well, passing along the craft, and she's decided to have a little booth called Embroidery by Lucy. She's making these darling little initials, some Christmas tree ornament sized and some larger to hang on a wall. Be sure to stop by our booth, as she'll have all 26 letters of the alphabet.