She is inspired by my beloved Archie McPhee Monster Women rubber toys, a gift from my oldest friend Victoria.
I used what may be my last scrap of silver velvet, some old-gold colored wired organza ribbon that I bought with a coupon at Jo-Ann for my first wedding, and gold tulle.
Plus my favorite Black Pearl metallic thread from Rico Design, which is the only good metallic embroidery thread available in the world.
And two citrine Swarovski crystals for her eyes, some brass rhinestuds, a scrap of teeeny gold dollmaking braid trim, and plain dark green cotton thread, doubled, carefully stitched around the border of the design.
Using a fine dark thread to go around the edges of important shapes really helps me control and refine the line, I highly recommend it.
It’s especially great where a regular back-stitched embroidered line butts up against a satin stitch area. The tiny needle you can use for a single strand of floss or regular thread means you can stitch into the satin stitch without disturbing or spreading it, yet stabilize it at the same time.
I also added brass stud stars, both to reference Wonder Woman iconography and because I love studs.
When I was a child, about seven to nine, I had a babysitter I adored. Her name was Melissa, and although she was a hardcore drug addict and a total flake, she was so mellow and gentle with me. Some friends of her and her sister Nadine had a clothing store on 8th Avenue between 20th and 21st, a funky hippie store where everybody hung out. I don’t know if they ever sold anything but drugs.
Sitting on the floor in there under racks of fringed and embroidered and patched rocker clothes impacted my aesthetic so much.
There was a barrel of studs for your jeans or jean jackets, all different shapes and designs, stars and moons and pyramids and other shapes I can’t quite summon. Like, a barrel- they must have bought them by the kilo at some surplus place. I would run my hands through them, gently so the points wouldn’t poke me.
I felt completely safe there. Years later the clothing store friends became famous Deadhead t-shirt silkscreener artists, and I went to a party at their loft on 14th st. I came home drunk at dawn and gleefully told my mom about their huge ball python Clyde who had cuddled me. They were such nice people, and such incredible artists.
Melissa died in a motorcycle accident in Hawaii in the 80s, and I still think of her with love and remember her gentle grace, which bent like a willow in the crappy world of 70s New York.
Everything you do or see or feel goes in the hopper for creative work.
Everything I remember, here in this safe-at-last place, surfaces and turns and shines under the light. I don’t know where the synthesis will take me. Or what the meeting point will be between painting and drawing, the skills I trained a decade for and made a career in, and the making things I’ve always loved.