Iviva Olenick

Were I So Besotted: How and why I make this work


Post-it(s) at Muriel Guepin Gallery, Brooklyn


In 2007, I began embroidering anecdotes from my dating escapades, juxtaposing images and text on pieces of fabric approximately 5 inches wide by 8 inches high. Each fabric “page” recounts a specific episode. Taken as a whole, these episodes, which combine rawness, vulnerability, humor, hope, fear, disappointment, love and loss, are an embroidered blog. I have named this project “Were I So Besotted,” and have created an actual web log, wereisobesotted.blogspot.com, to post images of embroideries in progress and discuss my process.

While initially I kept a journal where I recorded snippets of conversation, my impressions and thoughts, and made preliminary sketches, now I embroider directly onto fabric, which is usually antique and often has lace edging. In addition, I must admit that my iPhone now serves as a form of a journal: I use the notes feature to record thoughts, which I later embroider.

The act of using embroidery to render text and images requires time, patience and commitment, qualities which seem in contradiction with the fast-paced, casual, and seemingly disposable nature of contemporary courtship as mediated by Facebook, instant messaging, email and text messaging. Similarly, the self-exposing nature of my work parallels the manner in which we expose the details of our private lives via Facebook and Twitter.

My work both exploits and criticizes the intimate-yet-casual nature of technologically-driven socializing. I am looking for quiet and meaning within the noise of information overload. To this end, I thoughtfully construct each embroidery and blog entry, and surrender to the slow, poetic process of my work. The process itself creates a sense of meaning and intimacy.