I have been a pretty absent blogger of late as I’m in a perfect storm of selling and buying houses and readying to move in a few days, sick little boys who pee beds and vomit copiously, sewing and editing gigs galore, prepping for christmas, goodbye visits my amazing gaggle of Toronto friends and so on. The adventures are coming thick and fast, offering all sorts of fodder for brilliant blogginess, but alas, no time to sit and write. I’m keeping a list of good ideas for quieter days ahead … all that said, I should really not be blogging at this moment, but I simply must share this right now!
Today I picked up my first big-girl art. A real, alive, commissioned piece from the remarkable Casey Von Esteban. A friend of mine had a piece on her wall by Casey that I fell hard for. In mid gush to my lovely husband about Casey’s stitched art, he suggested that I commission a piece for my autumn birthday. And so I did. That was in September sometime. And now it’s done. And I picked it up (jamming it in front of my sick sleeping boys’ feet in our Toyota Matrix because I am obviously a highly responsible and priority-straight parent). A 4′ x 4′ stitched map of my childhood neighbourhood! Here it is perched on the radiator in my almost-packed house:
I am on a big map kick right now, or maybe for always. I simply enjoy them, never tire of looking at the grid, always seeing new bits and places. I like the architecture and design of a place I don’t know or revelling in the comfort of familiar streets or landscapes. To that end, I asked Casey to stitch a chunk of South Edmonton, specifically Parkallen, where I grew up.
She did such a great job! Perhaps because I am moving cities for only the second time in my life and am overtired, or whatever the reason, emotions are close to the surface these days I can barely look at this piece right now without a misty wave of memory and nostalgia for childhood days and a beloved prairie city.
This piece of art encompasses a bunch of things I love — old, weathered wood, embroidery, maps — it is all of that. It’s tactile, I can run my hands over it, see and feel the care with which the artist worked. I love the back too, a rough, knotted mirror of the front. Casey actually drills every single one of those holes and then embroiders the work through them. It blows my mind. And. I. Love. It.
See the burgundy street in the centre of the image above above? That’s where I lived! Right on the inside corner. We had a great yard on three sides of the house because of that inside corner. I did a lot of dancing and daydreaming there, sigh!
I am a fairly large fan of the work of Casey Von Esteban. Ahem. You should check her work out, she’s a local Toronto gal. Her stuff is readily available (not just commission) and it’s not too late for holiday gifting (insert horn tooting here)! In addition to her maps, she does Toronto images (I really love the streetcars), animals (the squirrels and racoons make me giggle), miscellaneous (fingerprints, hearts and microphones, oh my), inappropriate words (nothing compares to a carefully embroidered f-bomb, nothing) and more. My map will have pride of place in our new home. Big girl art, sorted.
Gosh darn it lady, I’m getting all verklempt reading your posting. Your experience of the map makes the piece a thousand times better! I can’t express how delighted I am that someone as talented and amazing as yourself likes my work (read ‘grinning from ear to ear’)!
Reblogged this on Casey Von Esteban and commented:
I recently had the pleasure of making a commission for the amazing Pocket Alchemy and she has awesomely posted pictures of it on her blog (yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to posting my own pics, but in the meantime I thought I’d share hers). The piece is a 4ft x 4ft map of her old stomping grounds in Edmonton stitched onto old pine boards. Check it out!
wonderful…thanks for your teachings 🙂
Thank you Hedy! And really, right back to you, your photos and thoughts bring me a lot of joy! xo