Iviva Olenick

About Iviva

I first learned how to sew in kindergarden. The teacher’s assistant gave us needles, thread, buttons and socks. I guess we were making sock puppets. All I remember is that sewing stuck with me, embedded in my hands.

I didn’t start incorporating embroidery and stitching into artwork until 2002. This was a transitional time in the art world, and in New York City in particular. The Whitney Museum mounted an exhibit of “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend,” large, abstract quilts made by women in Gee’s Bend, a small rural community nestled into a curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Alabama. All of a sudden, quilts had the same presence as abstract paintings, and craft was in again.

Ten years later, “fiber arts” are still hot, and I’m excited to be part of a growing community of artists employing traditional handcrafts in new ways, and to have expanded the vocabulary of my work to include stop motion animations that somehow retain the handmade quality of my embroideries.

As for my personal history, I was born and grew up in Brooklyn, where I still live and work. In addition to making art, I design textiles and teach embroidery to adults, and weaving, knitting, drawing, embroidery, soft sculpture, collage, selfie reinterpreting and life skills to children and teens.

When not immersing myself in textiles and teaching, I am an avid runner. I have a BA in French Literature and Psychology from Binghamton University, SUNY, and an AAS in Textile/Surface Design from FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology).