i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
e. e. cummings
This tiny wearable work of art includes a Victorian brass hand, a blue Czech glass heart, and many tiny vintage and new glass beads. The frame is 2 5/8″ x 1 1/2″ and has been hand-treated with grunge and a beautiful patina. Strung on a copper chain that is 24″ with lobster clasp. The back has been texturally treated with embedded treasure as shown. Although these pieces are crafted for stability, there is a certain inherent fragility in the tiny glass bits and pieces; if dropped or banged breakage could occur. For that reason, I do recommend wearing these shorter, on the flat upper part of the chest. Please let me know if you’d like the length adjusted at time of purchase.
ee cummings was one of the first poets I ever read; I’ve loved his work since I was a very young girl. Carry the hearts of all those you love, including your own dear heart.
When not being worn, this piece would be happily stored on your wall, or in the lovely box it will ship in.
A health and well-being talisman necklace centers around the genuine tiny bone of a very small animal. The bone itself is a mere 5/8″ long and is surrounded by a joyfully patterned mosaic of matte, faceted, and glittering seed beads with other treasure, including the tiniest brass crown and a rare diamond-shaped vintage Swarovski rhinestone. All is confined to an an ornate baroque frame, treated by hand with heavy patina and grunge in burnt shades of black, bronze, gold and turquoise. The dangling heart is a vintage Czech glass givre heart, with an illusion of blood enclosed.
The back of the piece has been textured and patina’d as shown.
Powerful magical qualities included and made with love.
My default chain is 24″ with a lobster clasp. I highly recommend that this be worn shorter, on the flat upper part of your chest due to some fragility so please let me know if you’d like it shortened to any length. While the piece is solidly made and quite stable, dropping or banging it could cause damage. No slam dancing while wearing, please.
Welcome to the first of hopefully many Charming Chats with some of the people I adore in the Craftsphere. First up I’m honored to bring you the amazingly talented and often quite private, Julie Jackson. Julie started Subversive Crossstitch in 2003, one of the very first women to launch a DIY business celebrating the then-dying/dead art of crossstitch. Julie gave this “women’s work” the hilarious and snarky kick in the butt it needed and the rest, as they say, is history. More recently Julie, along with photographer Jill Johnson, and Boone — glamourpuss extraordinaire — launched Kitty Wigs to global acclaim. Read on for an intimate cozy chat with Julie over a cup of virtual tea.
Jodi: Julie, hi! Isn’t it great for us to find time to chat in our busy DIY-diva lives? BTW, you have the most charming little Texas accent. Who knew? Did you grow up in TX?
Julie: Oh no, do I? All those years of voice training were for naught? Kidding. Yes, I’m from Dallas. Big D, Little A, Double L, A, S. The stars at night shine big and bright… etc. Can you hear me singing from there? Yee-haw!
Jodi: Ha! And I’m from “What’s round on the ends and hi in the middle… O-HI-O!” I remember when we first “met” and we traded some work; a sampler for a charm bracelet. That seems like forever ago! But, I think my daughter is finally old enough for me to post the sampler you did (pictured above) without seeming like a very bad Mommy. Back then she might have said: “Inappropriate, Mom,” and then charged me a quarter for her swear jar. It is such a cherished object in my studio. Do you still find time to do personal projects?
Julie: Cool! I just came across a photo of that today, oddly. We’re psychic friends! Personal projects… hmmm. Oh yeah, I did something recently, though of course it’s not done yet. We love that weird song by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, “Some Velvet Morning”. I found myself stitching the title on some dark green velvet. Then I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I wrapped it around an old piece of wood and now I’m going to bead the ends. So I guess that’s a weird personal project, huh? Also, I’m taking on a lot of custom work. I haven’t felt like stitching for a long time but I’m getting back into it.
Jodi: Oh I love Nancy too; I wanted to be her when I was a little kid… with some cool go-go boots for walking! So, I know you’ve been up to some exciting things in addition to Subversive Crossstitch, but since you’ve been doing Subversive for so long, I have to ask: What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about it? What keeps the fire burning and what parts do you wish would go away?
Julie: My favorite thing is the incredible interaction I have with my customers and people who take the idea and make it their own. Also, I get the most amazing emails from people who found stitching Fuck Cancer to be incredibly therapeutic or cathartic, their stories are so moving. It makes me feel like I’m in the right place doing what I’m doing. Least favorite is shipping because I hate getting behind with orders–it is completely overwhelming doing everything myself. I love it when I can afford help, but I wish I could hire a fulfillment company. I’m glad I started a PDF shop, because it’s a win-win situation. I can design something and put it out there without having to stitch first, and the customers get the pattern delivered instantly. Brilliant.
Jodi: That is brilliant. And I have to agree, it’s those relationships with customers that totally keep me going. For me, I wish the Web code would go away! And yeah, it’s challenging for sure to be designer, maker, shipper, writer, photographer, Web programmer…. so many hats. But it just sort of happens, doesn’t it? So, I’m sure people will want to know, have you been a stitchy girl forever? How did you first get into making things?
Julie: I’ve been a crafty girl forever. I was always super creative — my mom says that when I was a kid I would just make whatever I wanted. If I wanted a purse, I made one. I never would have guessed I’d be doing it for a living, though. I thought I’d be stuck at office jobs forever, writing away at a desk all day. I guess I am actually doing that, but at least it’s my own desk and my dog is asleep on my feet.
Jodi: It seems like some of us just have to be making things doesn’t it? You know, the handmade world has really changed a lot since 2003 when we both opened our shops. I remember when I first wrote to you and told you that your stuff reminded me of Jenny Holzer’s work. I mean NO ONE was doing anything like Subversive at the time. What developments have been either good or bad for handmade?
Julie: It seems like ages ago, doesn’t it? I adore Jenny Holzer, so I liked you instantly! hee. I think the way the craft scene has grown is amazing and fantastic. I’ve always said there’s room for everyone, and I love that places like Etsy make it so easy for anyone to give it a try. Almost everyone in the craft scene is friendly and inviting and supportive of each other, it’s just a great place to be. I don’t really see any negatives, it’s all good.
Jodi: Do you have any favorite stories of people you’ve made friends with during the process of building your business, other stitchers or crafters or artists? Who would you want to meet if you could?
Julie: Oh, I had the chance to be on a panel once with Amy Sedaris. Our paths have crossed a lot, but it would have been so cool to be on a five-person panel with her–I think it was at BlogHer or something. But I was just too chicken to put myself out there like that. My friend Leah Peterson was putting it together and she was kind enough to send me all kinds of Amy paraphenalia afterward even though I wasn’t there. The pill box is my favorite — it says “Pee on Me” in Amy’s handwriting on the outside, with her photo. Some of my very favorite people I’ve met are Katherine Shaughnessey of Wool and Hoop, Laurie Cinotto of Itty Bitty Kitty Committee and author of Making Paper Flowers, Stitchy McYarnpants of course, Emily and Matt at Steotch, Claire at Miso Funky, Jamie and Bridget of MrXStitch… there are so many. Also, I love the ladies at Bust magazine, Natalie who used to be the editor at Craft, Christina Loff and all the people at Chronicle… man, this list could go on forever. I’m already composing apology emails in my head to the people I know I’m not listing. There are just SO many funny and generous people out there who inspire me and keep me going.
Jodi: The mutual support in the community is truly inspiring. And I think anyone you forgot will forgive! One of the things I love about your shop is that there are soooo many hilarious subjects, it’s like there’s really something for everyone. What’s been Subversive’s hottest selling kit? Is there one in particular that just keeps on keeping on?
Julie: It used to be Go Fuck Yourself, but now it varies more. Sometimes Fuck Cancer goes through a phase of big demand, or Awesomesauce, or whatever’s new.
Jodi: I personally love CandyAss, that was the first one I did and it’s on display in my bedroom (pictured above)! It makes me think of Jeff Koons for some reason. And I did Whatever for Molly’s room, which I also love. Oh, and the Stephen Colbert Truthiness kit… I have that too; I LOVED seeing your piece on his show. But even with so many sparkly ideas, I know that my creativity seems to go in cycles and most artists I’ve talked to describe similar things. Do you ever get stuck? And if so, how do you unstick?
Julie: Yes. I just wallow in it. Sometimes there’s nothing to be done. I’m prone to pretty awful bouts of depression, so sometimes I can only do the bare minimum. It makes me more thankful for the productive times like I’m in now. I’m totally in flow right now and it’s great. I hate to go to sleep at night and I can’t wait to wake up in the morning. This is mostly because I’m completely redoing my website for the first time in almost ten years.
Jodi: I think every single artist I’ve met has the depression thing kicking around, myself included. It seems to come with the territory… I know there have been studies about this. And hey, so cool about your new Web site. I think the new So Charmed site will launch shortly after yours, and I can’t wait. It feels like such a fresh start doesn’t it? And we really need that from time to time. Let’s talk about your larger Subversive Empire for a minute… books, media coverage, and having your work in major hipster emporiums like Urban Outfitters. How exciting and glamorous it all seems! But is there a stressful side too? What’s it like having a book deadline, or seeing your work broadcast nationally? What sage advice would you give the young up-and-comers about this stuff?
Julie: Oh, it’s not glamorous AT ALL. And it’s never as much money as you hope it will be. It’s very stressful and the scariest part is, what happens if I get hit by a bus? It’s all on my shoulders and sometimes it’s hard not to freak out on that. If I have any advice it’s probably the advice everyone always gave me: follow your bliss. Kind of cliche, but it’s true. I used to stress out so much in my twenties about what I would do the rest of my life and you just have to wait and everything will unfold. You have to follow your heart and your instincts. The goal is to not have to do work that you hate. Also, I think something magical happens when you hit 40 – you kind of figure out what you’re all about, FINALLY. And things seem to start to fall into place. Don’t worry, enjoy life.
Jodi: Oh, I agree totally about bliss-following, and if you think 40 is magic… honey, 50 is nirvana! I’m thinking I’ll probably just explode with joy at 60! Lately, I’ve really discovered that it’s super important to sometimes shove the business stuff on the back burner and just get back to the joy of making things, of discovery and adventure. Speaking of adventures, how did you first come up with Kitty Wigs? The Web site talks about loud music and dancing. If we can turn back the hands of time, tell us what you and Boone were dancing to when Kitty Wigs was born.
Julie: Scissor Sisters! Yeah, Boone used to sit on my desk and stare at me all day long and I took a lot of photos of him. One day I was goofing off, looking around on Flickr, and I searched for “cat wigs.” I was surprised that there were only a couple of photos and the cats all looked mad and the wigs were clearly too big and really sloppy (no wonder the cats were mad). I don’t know what hit me, I just thought if people were going to take photos of their cats it should be more interesting and enjoyable for the cat (if possible). After a lot of research and trial and error, I found the right wigs and the right photographer. Again, I had no idea the idea would catch on so crazily, even bigger than Subversive. I’m still stunned but it makes me really happy that it makes people laugh. And gives them a new way of interacting with their cat that can result in amazing photos. It’s not at all like dressing your cat in outfits, it has turned out to be more about noticing things about your cat… it’s hard to explain. If you see the photos in our book, you can imagine how floored I was when I first saw them — it’s like the cats are showing their innermost personalities, it’s insane.
Jodi: Oh, I know, it’s really portraiture at its finest! Did you and Boone get to meet any of the famous people who have created buzz about Kitty Wigs? Conan? Chelsea Handler? Anderson Cooper? I can see Anderson having a cat who wears Kitty Wigs. Do you have any Kitty Wigs celebrity gossip to spread viciously through this interview?
Julie: We didn’t meet anyone, but I would have turned down any kind of public appearance. The Kitty Wigs photographer, Jill Johnson, was great to appear on my behalf in the press — she is such a pro and has such an amazing personality. I guess my favorite celebrity thing was Graham Norton, because I adore his show anyway so I was watching it when he suddenly started talking about Kitty Wigs and showing the website. He also talked about Subversive years before but I knew about that in advance and shipped some stitched pieces. The Kitty Wigs appearance was a complete surprise. I love Graham because he totally gets it, and he is just brilliant and hilarious. As for celebrity gossip, the people who were the coolest to correspond with were probably Bobcat Goldthwait and his girlfriend. They just reached out to me and were so nice. Bob had posted Kitty Wigs on his site and he ended up writing a blurb about it and sending me photos of he and his cat in a wig. Bobcat is truly a cool cat.
Jodi: Oh I would love to see those Bobcat photos! Before we finish up the last sip of our tea, will you tell us what else goes on in your world along with snarky crossstitch and wigs for kitties? What do you do to relax those busy fingers and that busy brain of yours?
Julie: I devour the internet, I always have looked to it for inspiration and I love those “wow” moments when I find something amazing. I’m always trying to get my friends to join in on my latest idea, like adhesive eyebrows for dogs or pistachio castanets. I’m the mischief maker.
Jodi: Yes, you are such an instigator, and that’s why we all love you so much! Anything new coming down the Subversive Road that you want to tell our readers about?
Julie: The Subversive website will be completely fresh and new — I’m hoping to re-launch on February 15th! I can’t wait, it’s going to make all of our lives so much better.
Jodi: Well, I know I’ll be looking for that launch email. Thanks, Julie, for doing this. You’ve made such a huge difference for so many people, helping to pave the way for so much of what’s going on today in crafts. And, with such good humor and generosity! Thank you thank you!
Wanted to share this Voodoo Candy necklace in its finished state. Detail above shows focal, clasp and some of the crazy beads.
In its entirety… very allsorts candy and licorice. This may not be everyone’s favorite colorway, but I’ve always loved the high contrast and the dark playful aspects of using lots of black with neon.
This view shows these strange natural black coral beads that are so scary and freaky.
Here’s a piece made/sold several years ago, a handknit cuff thing using neon potholder loops that were made into yarn. This is one of those pieces I miss and keep thinking I need to make another for myself.
Detail. Looks like a strange futuristic mutated sea creature.
And, one last picture of the first batch of Unstrung Hero beads, all grouped together before they come apart for use in jewelry. More beads to come soon… as Steph warned (and now you’ve been warned too): HIGHLY ADDICTIVE.
Were you thinking it was all about art, literature, espresso, and monuments? Nooooooooo, mes amis. There was shopping. Yes, there was. Today’s post is just the stuff I happen to be wearing here at the office… and there’s a definite color way happening. The shoes above were purchased at Gaspard Yurkievich, deeply discounted as they were (gasp) last season’s stock. I must admit to having not heard of this designer (I know, can you believe it? Whatever!), but apparently he is rather the word, and the price of his clothing & shoes reflects that. Suffice to say, these were a serious score and I LOVE them. They glow. And look great with dark tights. And are even (gasp again) comfortable.
You might be under the impression that I never buy jewelry, and while I don’t often, occasionally I fall in love with something. Such was the case with this dear necklace, which is made of unglazed ceramic or porcelain or something. It’s bone white and just lovely, a lamb under a cloud. I love everything about it, the double dangling design, the simultaneous detail and anonymity, the weird material and the (at least in my mind) pro-vegetarian statement. Lambs under clouds, as they should be, not on plates. We stumbled (literally, severely jet-lagged) into this super cool shop our first day wandering our ‘hood, the Marais District. It was full of amazing designed goods: wearables (including some Vivienne Westwood jewelry!), household stuff, and miscellany. Later in the week, we tried in vain to find the shop again and are awaiting the (third gasp) Visa bill to find out the name of it.
You absolutely MUST buy and wear scarves in Paris. The one above is my favorite, a tattered fringed silk in poppy red, scored for 5 euros in a vintage store in the Marais that we visited several times b/c it was open for late night shopping and was full to the brim with trashy crazy super cheap used clothing. The Marais had tons of vintage stores, some chic, some, like this one, more thrift (as I prefer).
This vintage doctor bag purse was purchased at Gavilane, the store we (and others apparently… NOTE at the link above the hat in the window that looks remarkably like MY Paris hat!!) have dubbed The Goth Store, which had very cool but expensive jewelry and a lovely line of clothing. They also had a trunk full of these old handbags on sale for 15 euros. We met and befriended the jewelry designer, Mssr. Gavilane himself, exchanging cards and receiving a further discount to 10 euros. Who said Paris was expensive?? BTW, Gavilane is next door to Biblioteque Nationale where the Rimbaud Exhibit hangs.
This was NOT purchased in Paris, but started in my studio before the trip and finished up last weekend. I love how it turned out! Why is the Jesse James brooch included in this post? a) I like odd numbers of things and only have 4 Paris objects with me b) the colors were just too perfect and c) shameless self promotion. Available soon in the Pirates collection.
😉 A very super special thanks to the BF for supporting our endless shopping tho mind you, the dude can hold his own in such matters.
The first of several posts about my trip to Paris must be about the exhibition pictured above. Opening on May 6, at Galerie des Bibliothèques, Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, 22 rue Mahler, 75004 Paris and running through August 1 when it will move to the Rimbaud Museum in Charleville, this event was the impetus for our travel. Thrilling does not begin to describe the feeling of being there for the opening, and experiencing the show.
Beautiful typography in neon orange and acid green, and an installation on the gallery walls, pictured above, welcomed visitors into the museum.
And, in the very first room, my two pieces of jewelry drew attendees to their glass cabinet. The lighting was too dramatic for my digital camera, so I picture the pieces in the 320-page exhibition catalog/book.
It’s a gorgeous book (in French) and as soon as I have a link for purchasing I’ll share it with you dear readers.
Many of you are familiar with the Poet Rosary necklace that curator Claude Jeancolas originally purchased for the exhibit; this piece has been an integral part of the So Charmed Poets Collection for a long time now. When Mssr. Jeancolas informed me about the piece’s inclusion in RimbaudMania as well as his 18th published book on the subject of the iconic poet, I decided to make him a small gift, hoping he might wear it on his jacket to the opening. This was included in the show instead. Pictured above, the piece was crafted from a vintage pin finding and includes a vintage pen nib inscribed with the words Made in France. A limited number of these will be available at So Charmed soon. Although Claude was being followed around by the press and many admirers the evening of the opening, he made time to speak with myself, David, and Molly, remarking how the Internet had brought us together and how poetic that was!
This fun crossstitch/embroidery hung above my jewelry case. Other cultural items in the room described as Objects Fetiches included furniture, clothing, stamps, plates, even an I Heart Rimbaud coffee mug.
Much of the exhibit was organized by medium, the second room being music and film. Patti Smith figured prominently, along with the Clash, and the poster from the Leonardo DiCaprio film, Total Eclipse. If memory serves me, it was via Patti Smith that I first discovered Rimbaud, when I was in college studying art. He was a hero, icon, and muse to many musicians and artists in the burgeoning punk/new wave scene. A novel, Godlike by punk poet/musician Richard Hell was also included in the exhibit.
There were a lot of photographs included, my favorite being the series by Robert Mapplethorpe illustrating A Season in Hell.
One room contained works of fine art from the Rimbaud Museum, including the piece above by Picasso. There were also lovely ink drawings by Jean Cocteau, Fernand Leger, Alberto Giacometti and Jim Dine among others.
Graphic design was well-represented with dozens and dozens of book covers, including the illustrated calligraphic piece above by Leger, one of my favorites in the exhibit.
The most touching room in the show held encased original manuscripts by the poet; seeing these handwritten documents up close was intimate and breathtaking and made us sorely wish we could read French. Speaking of which, I plan to be in touch with Mssr. Jeancolas regarding an English-language version of the exhibit and book for possible travel to the USA. I’ve thought of The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, and the French Embassy as possible venues. All of these, naturally, here in Washington DC! A great idea, n’est pas?
And, with that sentiment, I’ll leave you with a poem by Arthur Rimbaud and bid you adieu, for now.
A DREAM FOR WINTER
In the winter, we shall travel in a little pink railway carriage
With blue cushions.
We shall be comfortable. A nest of mad kisses lies in wait
In each soft corner.
You will close your eyes, so as not to see, through the glass,
The evening shadows pulling faces.
Those snarling monsters, a population
Of black devils and black wolves.
Then you’ll feel your cheek scratched…
A little kiss, like a crazy spider,
Will run round your neck…
And you’ll say to me : “Find it !” bending your head
– And we’ll take a long time to find that creature
– Which travels a lot…