IVIVA OLENICK

I first learned how to sew in kindergarden. The teacher’s assistant gave us needles, thread, buttons and socks. I suppose we were making sock puppets. All I remember is that sewing stuck with me, embedded somehow 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 weight and 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 hand crafts in new ways.