Friday, November 26, 2010

a day of thanks...

This Thanksgiving has been an intense day for me because last year I was 'recovering' from sticking my hands in the middle of a dog fight. My hands were stitched & bandaged and I was not sure how it was going to affect my work ~ needless to say I was a bit blue. But what a difference a year makes :). This year I was able to go for a run, cook up a storm and enjoy the day with wonderful friends and family. However, there was still a cloud of introspection that followed me . An anniversary gives you a time to reflect, and today I thought about my journey since the 'incident' and I found more positives than negatives. One positive outcome was being introduced to acupuncture and meditation ~ two practices that have entered my life to help balance my ‘crazy’ tendencies. (she says as she blogs at 2:30am) And the second positive was my passion for crocheting. Yes I was crocheting before, but after the ‘incident’ crocheting became essential to
keeping me sane. It was a creative activity that I could do with stitches and soon after my surgery. And with this crocheting obsession came my creatures, and most recently, my ‘healing wraps’. This idea also sprung from my surgery ~ a fiber piece that brings the owner positive healing energy, warmth and TLC. I guess it is along the lines of my womb wrap – a ‘garment’ that gives you comfort. And this week I finished my first healing wrap and it was delivered on the eve of Thanksgiving, which seemed appropriate. It went to a friend who is the midst of a tough battle with cancer. I made this wrap with blues and purples, colors that I connect with healing. Crocheted into the piece are many beads and charms, saying things like ‘laugh often, love much’. When I worked on the piece I tried to be present with my crocheting and concentrated on filling the stitches with positive thoughts and prayers.

In the past months I have been aware of how garments can bring the wearer strength or confidence or healing. When in New York I went to a show that highlighted this idea in many of the exhibited pieces. This remarkable show, “A Stitch in Jewish Time,” is at the Hebrew Union Collage - Jewish Institute of Religion Museum until June 30th, 2011. It is a beautiful show with some truly amazing pieces ~ some personal favorites are Ten Plagues (2009) and Exodus(2008) by Carol Hamoy, The In-Between Yeshiva (2008) by Jacqueline Nicholls, Coat of the Agunah (2010) by Andi Arnovitz and Lisa Rosowsky’s We are Not Safe(2005), to highlight a few. This show is definitely worth a visit.

And I am thankful that I was able to see that show, along with the many wonderful art shows that I see in NY and anywhere I can. And I am thankful to have my work included in many wonderful shows. I am thankful that I am back to my old creative, high energy, insomniac self. I am thankful for the many wonderful people in my life that support me, encourage me and love me. So thank you & peace!!! & good night :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

an amazing evening!!!

An amazing evening.... Attleboro and UMass Boston!!! peace!!!

Out & About

A little update of the comings and goings of the artwork of Virginia Fitzgerald ~
Last night was the MassRecycle's Annual Recycling Awards @ the Artist for Humanity EpiCenter,Boston and a few artists, including yours truly, were ask to exhibit artwork made from recycled material. This was an easy one for me ~I exhibited Black Widow (the VCR tape dress), Glass Slipper and the Paper Mache Bustiere. It was such a lovely event as well as a zero waste evening!! really nice!!! The Epicenter was a perfect venue for this event being a green, high-performance, sustainable building ~ "the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter was awarded LEED Platinum Certification from the United States Green Building Council; it was the first project in the city of Boston to have earned this distinction. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings." The building itself set the 'green' tone with many different reused materials ~ the Ladies room was so cool, the toilet paper holder was made out of the bottom of a used water cooler bottle. I was happy to be included because i am a big fan of all things recycled. Years ago my business centered around recycling, creating bottle cap jewelry and accessories. I used the bottle caps as frame for my artwork and sold the pieces to stores around the world ~ so this is not a new trend for me. And it was exciting to see the 'recycled' artwork of the other artists. David Lang exhibited three pieces, and one of them he made especially for the evening, 'Return', and it was a show stopper!!! Check out his blog to see some of the pieces as well as the creation of 'Return'. The other artists were ~
Jeannie Dunnigan, Paula Estey, David Lang, Michael Ulman, Marty Ulman & Bill TurvilleIt was a feel~good evening!!

And then tonight there are two openings of shows that are exhibiting some of my work ~
First ,the opening reception for ArtOrganic at the Harbor Art Gallery, UMass Boston is tonight, November 18th, from 5:00 - 8:00 P.M. This show has many of my fiber pieces as well as the work of Jodi Colelle, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, David Lang, Janet Kawada and Derrick Te Paske. (Click here for the post with all the artists' links) The show runs from November 15th through December 15th. And I hope to make it to the opening near the end (one never knows with Boston Traffic).

And the second opening is for Carry On at the Attleboro Arts Museum, tonight from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. i am going to start there for two reasons. one this show is running in conjunction the city of Attleboro reading Tim O'Brien's The Things That They Carried so I am thinking this could be one big book group with artwork. As i think I mentioned before I was really moved by this book and I am eager to discuss it. Also I am planning to wear one of the pieces I made for the show, Tongue necklace, during the opening which will be fun. I just need to figure out what else to wear in the next few hours.

Both shows are exciting shows and the openings promised to be fun ~ I wish that i could clone myself :) but maybe I can make it to both openings!! But if you are in the area of either or both openings please stop by - i don't think you will be disappointed!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This week I delivered four pieces to the Attleboro Arts Museum to be part of their invitational exhibition entitled Carry On. I am SO honored and excited to have been asked to be in this show. This exhibition is running in conjunction with a city wide reading initiative, where participants are encourages to read the same book at the same time and extend their connection to the text through local arts and cultural activities, such as this show. This year the chosen book is Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, considered by many as on of the finest books about the Vietnam War, and I couldn't agree more. This is not a book I would have likely picked up to read on my own, but since I have invited to be in this show I read it and I was blown away!! I was mesmerized and taken on a journey that i will never forget!

As artists we were asked to contribute artwork 'that directly responds to O’Brien’s text, along with work that addresses what soldiers, families, nations and others carry – literally and figuratively – during (and after) a time of war.' This will be a very provocative and moving show. Out of the four pieces that I am showing one of them was directly inspired by O'Brien's text but the other three fit perfectly with the theme. For the exhibit they asked the artists to write a description about how their pieces relate to the theme ~ and I figured that i will share those descriptions here because I always find it interesting when I need to put my thoughts and feelings about a pieces into words.

The Virgin of Guadeloupe represents the things that the soldiers carried to get them through; the talismans, the good luck charms, their faith, their hopes and dreams of girls and home. These were the things that kept the men"safe", "sane" and "alive".

In Memory Of... is a piece that I made to represent my sadness and frustration with the conflict in Iraq. On January 1, 2007 the New York Times announced that the list of dead soldiers had 'reached the somber milestone of at least 3,000 deaths since the March 2003 invasion'. I was moved by the 3 or 4 page spread of thumbnail pictures of the faces of the soldiers who had lost their lives. At that point the situation seemed endless and hopeless.

The top of the piece is made out of plaster tape, suggesting injury and immobility. The bottom of the dress is meant to suggest a quagmire – a total mess, with the wires suggesting the mines and booby-traps that have taken many of the soldiers’ lives. Lastly, hanging in and on this mess are dog tags with the pictures of a fraction of the soldiers who have lost their lives, who have left behind mothers and father, and sons and daughters. The size of this dress was deliberate reflecting the innocence lost in war, as well as portraying a sense of emaciation and undernourishment, states often present in war zones.

I have made a few pieces with dog tags as a way of visualizing the numbers and statistics that we hear or read about, and of which we may have become numb. I believe it is important to remember that these statistics represent real people and real losses in homes and families.

As of this week the total of US casualities in Iraq is 4427 since 2003 and in Afghanistan the total is 1388 US casualities since 2001 according to
Tongue Necklace was inspired by the chapter, "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong". This part of the book enchanted and beguiled me. I felt a sisterhood with Mary Anne Bell; how Vietnam made her feel alive and how she "wanted to penetrate deeper into the mystery of herself". As disgusting as the idea of a necklace of tongues is, I saw it also as a statement of empowerment and freedom. I envisioned the necklace with the tongues facing out, as in the act of screaming either out of pain, terror or as in the act of sticking out your tongue. In Mary Anne’s case, sticking out her tongue to the confines and limitations that she faced back in Cleveland Heights as Mark Fossie’s wife.

Do They Know its Christmas? comes from the ostentatious display of holiday consumerism and cheer while soldiers and loved ones are deployed to war zones.
As I mentioned before I am so honored that i was invited to be in this show - this is a theme of which I have many opinions & that I love to share. I am excited about talking to many people about the brilliant book. In fact if I had more time I could have produced at least a dozen pieces inspired by O'Brien's text. In fact even though I knew of the delivery date for months, thanks to girlies home sick and no school days, I was still madly sewing right up to the time we pulled the van into the museum's parking lot. :)
Show details : November 18th to December 4th, 2010
Opening Reception:Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.
Reception space is limited. RSVP by Nov 10, 2010 to or 508.222.2644 x13

CLICK here to see all the other exhibiting artists along with their web sites and also all the different activities that will be going on during the opening. I am so happy to announce that David Lang is also exhibiting some of his amazing pieces, check out his blog. In fact he was driving us to Attleboro while I was madly sewing!!! thank you St. David!! Now off to deliver some dresses to a party in Boston - more to come about that!! :) peace

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Travels and other interesting sites.

In the past few months i have been bathing in the lush world of fibers ~ my creatures have been gathering interest and have been in some shows; i have been exposed to new and different techniques and amazing artists; and I have been discovering wonderful articles and information on interesting blogs and websites. I have wanted to share these discoveries here and tonight after watching this video I figured I would share a few of my finds.

As i forge deeper into this luscious and intricate world of fiber art i am aware of a quiet connectedness, a sense of community, as if the rich history of fiber work and handicraft is still present and binding the people and the work together. An example of what i mean is the story of how i learned about this video. On Veteran's day, when the girls were out of school I took them and two of their friends to the Boston Museum of Science. A great museum for the girls to play for long periods with the many exhibits so i came prepared ~ I brought my crocheting. And while i was curled up on a bench crocheting and another mom was intrigued. She asked if i was following a pattern and i explained my 'organic' approach to crocheting. This reminded her of an article she saw on the web about crocheting, science and mathematics. I was interested so I gave her my card in case she remembered where she saw it. Well the next day she sent me the link to this article and the video about this crocheted coral reef and the story behind it. Here Margaret Wertheim speaks of how crocheting is the only way to model a certain mathematical theory and how their coral reef project has grown exponentially including many from around the world. This reminded me of Mandy Greer's work ~ a community forming around these artistic endeavors. I found this video very interesting especially after dropping my creatures off at the Harbor Gallery for their Art Organic show ~ so see what you think. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Travels from Ireland to the Smithsonian.

Another one of my favorite 'fiber' finds is the artist Joetta Maue and her blog. I love to read her blog, it introduces many wonderful shows and artists ~ in fact her most recent post was about a show in London: Louise Bourgeois: Fabric Works. :) Joetta's work is beautiful and inspiring - i love her uses of old linens. This is an example of her work, on the right.

The last artist is will share this evening (as it is way past my bed time) is Abigail Doan. I discovered her work surfing the web and was memorized. Her blog is also a great read ~ showing many interesting works. I was particularly intrigued with the Knitted, Knotted, Netted show.

And this is just a tiny fraction of all the amazing work out there (which can be intimidating!!!) And many of the artists that i am drawn to do talk about a 'community' with their work, which is what i was trying to allude to earlier. There seems to be an invisible web connecting these works and the artists and the viewers. I see my interaction at the science museum as an example ~ how this mother and i have made a connection. In fact after she looked at my web site she realized that she knew my dress project work, and in fact she had pictures of some of my dresses on her phone. My brain is a little tired to clearly explain this sense of connection but I do feel there is something about 'handiwork' that softens people, breaks down some barriers and lets us connect a little more. I think this is shown in the tremendous interest in knitting and crocheting after 9/11.

I invite you to take a look at these artists and there will be more to come - I promise!!
peace & good night!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Louise Bourgeois ~ amazing!

I just finished watching a most inspiring film called The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine ~ a film about one of my utmost favorite artists - Louise Bourgeois. Her work speaks to me in volumes and there are aspects of her and her work that i so relate to ~ one being her insomnia. She would spent many late night hours drawing until she fell asleep. Also her total dedication to her work, never wanting to waste a minute. She loved to work so much she would work 6 days straight and then on Sunday when her assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, would have his day off, she would open up her home to artists where she conducted critiques.

I was so fortunate to have been able to get to her retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC, in 2008. The show blew my mind!!! Her pieces worked well with the architecture of the Guggenheim ~ both with their twists and spirals. I spent the entire day in the museum, so much that some of the museum guards noticed my complete absorption and made sure that I saw everything, directing me to this and that exhibit area!!

Bourgeois' Personages were her first pieces that made me sit up and pay attention. I saw one in person at the ICA's show, Bourgeois in Boston. The piece moved me, but then when i read more about the body of work I was even more captivated. When she exhibited her Personages for the first time she wanted them attached directly to gallery floor, not on pedestals. And she wanted them arranged like a cocktail party with some close together and some alone. (much of her work dealing with physical closeness or isolation) And she wanted the gallery visitors to be able to walk among the pieces. She created an installation with these pieces. And from the Personages I discovered her immense oeuvre. Another quality of this artist that appeals to me is she works in any and everything ~ painting, wood, marble, fiber & found objects to name a few. So much wonderful work, stories and emotions that I can't even begin....

The world lost this amazing artist earlier this year. (click here for the New York Times' obituary)

Since her death I have wanted to write a tribute to her and her work ~ but I was always overwhelmed or didn't feel prepared enough. But recently I have been drawn back to studying her work and during one of my library searches I came across this film. So this evening, once the girls were in bed, kitchen clean and the house was quiet, I set myself up with a cup of tea, some crocheting and Louise and I was memorized for hours ( I kept stopping and rewinding and taking notes to make sure I got everything). I highly recommend this movie and the work of Louise Bourgeois ~ be prepared for quite a journey!! peace

Monday, November 8, 2010

My 'Creatures' are out on the town ....

Today I delivered 6 creatures and my 'womb wrap' to the Harbor Art Gallery at UMass Boston for their show, Art Organic. This is very exciting because they wanted as many creatures as I could give them ~ so my babies are out in the world, some for the first time.

This show will also be the debut for my 'womb wrap'. I did exhibit it during my open studios a few weeks ago, in fact as a participatory piece. I set it up so that anyone who wanted to could put on the wrap and sit in my big, orange studio chair and just 'be'. I created this piece with the idea of being able 'go back to the womb', as a sort of sanctuary. I spent a few years knitting this piece in my organic approach ~ adding different yarns, and increasing and decreasing the stitches when it seems appropriate. It is two~sided which gives the piece a significant weight and comforting quality. For Art Organic 'womb wrap' will not be able to be worn but it will be hanging, in fact the plan is to suspend it in the middle of the gallery so that it will be able to be viewed on both sides and (hopefully) spin.
There is another interesting 'wrinkle' to this show ... when talking to the curator of the show, Steven Pirrello, about the numerous ways that my creatures can be exhibited I realized that i wasn't married to any particular way of exhibit them. And Steven showed real excitement about the creatures and understood their characteristics and their versatility. So I am letting Steven decide how each creature will be exhibited. Giving him that freedom seemed so right because these are 'creatures' ~ morphing, oozing and perching. In fact as they sat
on the floor waiting to be dealt with they were very reminiscent of sea urchin just washed up on the shore.

Art Organic will run from Nov. 15th - Dec. 15th, with the opening reception on November 18th, 5:00- 8:00pm. There are six artists exhibiting works that have an organic feel or work with organic materials. It is a great group of artists to be included with ~ Jodi Colella, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, David Lang :), Janet Kawada and Derrick Te Paske. The Harbor Art Gallery is on the UMAss Campus, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA, on the first floor of McCormack Hall, phone number# 617-287-7988. Stop by for a treat. Peace ~

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Greeting cards....

Ok after many, many requests for greeting cards I have finally gotten my act together and I have a few on the site ~ hopefully it is going to go o.k. The first that i am posting is a detail from my Ribbon Dress. I picked this image because it represents many positive and creative intentions. ribbons dress (detail) card
ribbons dress (detail) by va_fitzgerald
Shop for cards at zazzle
'>Ribbon Dress greeting card