I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. Not too long ago my mom and dad gave me a bunch of my school “reports” from elementary school and almost all of them said something along the lines of “wonderful art”. I didn’t really think of myself as particularly artistic or creative growing up though. And I didn’t really call myself an artist until I went to graduate school and got my MFA. It was actually in grad school that I taught myself to embroider and fell in love with it. My grandmother had taught me to crochet and knit and embroidery just seemed like a logical step. I really adore how it functions like drawing and painting simultaneously. You can create very fine or thick lines with it and you can also fill in spaces with color.
I grew up in Los Angeles, went to high school in California, and came up to the Bay Area to go to college [UC Berkeley and Mills] and basically have never left.
2) What are you most excited about creating right now? What projects or mediums?
I’m currently working on an exhibition that will open in November at Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles. It’s a continuation of my exploration of the number 1000 – or Sen in Japanese. My mother is Japanese and so I often find myself researching that aspect of my heritage. The number 1000 is prevalent in Japanese culture. It’s often used as a symbol of luck or good fortune, often with a component of communal good will – think 1000 buddhas, 1000 cherry blossom trees [given to Washington DC after WWI], 1000 cranes…
I actually did a show with the same theme at Fouladi Projects last November. I had 45+ women from around the world help me make 1000 doilies [a prevalent motif in my work], 10 each in 100 colors. I displayed them on the wall in a modified rainbow order… this Fall I’ll be reconfiguring the piece at Walter’s space. Working with collaborators from all over the world was so inspiring and amazing I’m actually trying to do it again ;) ! I’m trying to get people to draw me doilies and make me small swatches with French Knots. I put a call out on my blog – if any of your readers are interested I definitely still need help!
So this summer I’ll be in the process of making a series of drawings that go with the doily piece. I’m doing more 1000 buddhas and cranes, and also 1000 samurais [I discovered there’s a 1000 samurai parade that happens every year]. These are colored pencil, ink, acrylic on Duralar with embroidered elements.
I think creating is a daily thing for me. But it’s not momentous creating every day. It can be very small – even just thinking about something. I tend to use photography to document things that visually interest me through out the day, so instagram is a big fav of mine. I find that helps to keep my creativity active on a daily basis. In terms of finding time… I’ve become very good at making in small spurts. I used to need long chunks of the day to BE CREATIVE. But these days – especially after the birth of my daughter – I have found the means to be more portable and work in short spurts. I almost always have a bit of crochet, or my sketchbook, or my phone to take a photo handy. I work a lot in front of the TV at night. I do still set aside whole days to spend in my studio, but it isn’t as crucial as it used to be.
4) What is your favorite mythological animal?
I’m interested in tengu – a Japanese mythological creature.
5) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Oh jeez. How to choose???? Flying? Invisibility? The ability to wave my hand and have everything be clean??
Thanks Lisa, we can't wait to embroider with you!