Gallery opening: Christmas Show at The Latent Space


Tonight is the opening of the Christmas Show at The Latent Space Gallery in Irving Park!

The show will have more than 50 unique art objects for sale under the gallery’s Christmas tree. Two of my original embroidery artworks and a gift pack of my collage notebooks will be wrapped up all pretty under there. 🙂

The gifts will have the name of the artist who made the work on them (so guests can have an idea of what they may be purchasing) but the contents of the gifts will be a surprise.

Every gift is $300 or less and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Brave Space Alliance in Chicago. 

Come in and buy a gift of artwork, hang out, and enjoy baked goods from Gingham Baking and eggnog. What a Saturday! There’s word Santa might even show up…

The gallery will be open Sunday as well so you can still hit up the tree if you can’t make it Saturday. They’ll have items available on the online shop soon too. 

Yay, art! Yay, gifts! Yay, art gifts!


Gallery opening: Journey / Explore at Fulton Street Collective


Chicago friends, come see two of my newest pieces in person, plus work from these awesome other artists!

The Fulton Street Collective group show Journey / Explore opens this Friday, December 10, from 7-10 pm.

The address is 1821 W. Hubbard St. (on Hubbard between Wolcott and Wood, and NOT on Kinzie… that’ll send you to the alley, and that’s not where the show will be though perhaps that’s a cool idea for next time??)⁠

Tickets are $5 and there’s a capacity limit (because 😷), so snag yours now!


Travelogue: Glessner House in Chicago


Glessner House, located in Chicago’s Prairie Avenue Historic District, was designed by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1887.

Richardson studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, which encouraged quick conceptual sketches and detailed perspective drawings that could and should be followed through to physical completion of a space.

Good thing.

In April 1886, Richardson completed the design for the house. 

Three weeks later he was dead.

This sprawling residence was built for the Glessner family, wealthy from 19th Century manufacturing of agricultural equipment. It was home to a child who would grow up to be very important due to homes of a different scale: Frances Glessner Lee.

Frances was the first female police captain in the U.S. and “the mother of forensic science.” In her 40s, Frances began making miniature dioramas that depicted grisly murder scenes. The replicas were designed to be educational tools for homicide detectives and the fledgling field of medical examination and crime scene investigations.

Pictured: Detail of “Kitchen,” from the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths. 

The dioramas, eventually becoming Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths, were precise — down to the make of the mousetrap and the bloat of the body. Many are still used today to train detectives, and the answers or real-life cases from which they were inspired remain under lock and key.

Also awesome? It’s rumored Frances was the character inspiration for everyone’s favorite brilliant amateur detective in gaudy baubles: Murder, She Wrote’s very own Jessica Fletcher.

Following, some pics I snapped on a recent tour of the place… No crime scenes evident!

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Entrance, library and parlor

Dining room and kitchen details

Bedrooms

Behind the scenes

Next door


The story of the French Angel


As the end of the year (aka gift giving season) rolls up with the top down, I thought I’d show off one of my favorite custom embroidery jobs from the archives.

***

I recently finished this custom piece for a dear friend. He wanted to gift an artwork to a friend who loved wrestling and wrestling history. He picked an image from this series of photographs by Irving Penn from 1945 and told me to have at it.

Original image info: Irving Penn, 1945, “Dorian Leigh & Maurice Tillet aka The French Angel”

The man in this photo is Maurice Tillet (1903-1954), the most notorious wrestler of the 1940s, better known by his ring name, ~THE FRENCH ANGEL~.

If you’ve been to Chicago’s International Museum of Surgical Science, you’ve probably seen a bust of The French Angel.

The plaque there tells more of this man’s story:

“He studied 14 languages, wrote poetry, and aspired to become an actor. However, his dreams were shattered when he developed acromegaly in his twenties. … This disorder is caused by an abnormal production of growth hormone usually related to a benign tumor of the pituitary gland… With his new body, Tillet, an educated man and a lover of the fine arts, felt like a monstrosity. Unable to face a life of constant gawking and humiliation, he decided to make drastic changes and use his condition to his benefit.”

At the end of his life, Maurice was a Chicago boy. He died here, too, of a heart attack that came on after he heard that his trainer died. <sobbbbbbing>

My color choices for his wings and the stars on his belt are a direct reference to the Chicago flag.

I almost put the fourth star on Maurice’s belt too, but I just had to do something about Dorian there…

The angle of her foot, the shape of that heel… oh la la, there’s just so much I love about that aspect of the original photograph. I put the last star beneath it to give Dorian her own special place in this piece.


Socks for Christmas? Yes, please.


You know you’ve past a certain age threshold as soon as getting socks for Christmas sounds awesome. No? Well, welcome to my blog, fellow kids. Say it with me now (to the tune of LMFAO “Shots”): Socks socks socks socks socks socks! Everybody!

I just added socks to the macro.baby shop because, I mean, look at these.

They have all the function you need from your footwear — not to mention the “I’m fun and love graphic design” vibe of a grown ass adult if you’re looking to demonstrate that kind of thing at a Scrabble marathon house party or whatever — plus they’re mismatched so you can feel the sloppy, IDGAF kid-ness of being a kid again.

Don’t forget the wrapping paper.


Look what just dropped: 2022


New on the shop: It’s that time of year again. Time to think about the next one.

Have your best year yet with my dotted, delicious, designed colorful calendar poster. So full of promises for hope, happiness, and horrible alliterations!

Giclée print poster made on thick and durable matte paper (because the matte feels so smooth and sexy).

12 x 18 inches.

$25 + free shipping.

Available now through… well, 2022 I guess.


Multi-colored blue graphic design illustration by macro.baby.

Totes for your toast


Just kidding. You can put anything in my macro.baby totebags, not just toast. 

But, toast in your tote is probably a cool idea… I mean, everybody loves toast. You’ll be so popular! Pack butter too probably. And jam! If anything spills inside, you can just machine wash it once you get home after hanging out with all your cool new friends who now call you Toad for some reason but you think they mean Toast they’re just saying it wrong!

ARTISAN TOAST TOTEBAGS 

Hand-sewn in the U.S., and Society6 says the print will never fade. These babes are constructed with a premium, canvas-like material and double-stitched for quality.

  • Available in three sizes
  • Crafted with durable, lightweight poly poplin fabric
  • Double-stitched seams and stress points
  • 1” wide cotton webbing carrying strap
  • Machine washable, tumble dry low

A beam of rainbow colored embroidery floss shoots out of the palm of a hand on a black and white photograph of Isadora Duncan.

New embroidery + Isadora Duncan


On this day nearly 100 years ago (1927), Isadora Duncan died the strangest death. She was strangled in not-so-nice Nice (France). 

By her scarf.

A black and white photograph of Isadora Duncan, sitting on the ground. From her right arm extended over her bent right knee, a rainbow of embroidery floss shoots from her palm.
“Isadora Funcan” by Jackie Mantey // Original image info: Arnold Genthe, 1869-1942, “Isadora Duncan: studies.”

Duncan was a dancer, remarkable for her ability to use the body’s natural movements and desires as guides for her improvisational choreography. She is remembered for her movement-based rebuke of classical dance and its wealthy connotations at the time. Her dance was independent. Emotional. Beloved by sad corseted ladies and boho-minded men yearning to be free the world over.

Because of this dance style, scarves were kind of her thing.✌️ She usually danced barefoot, while wrapped in free-flowing gowns. 

I know this sounds kind of “so what?” in the context of today, a time in which Bonnaroo exists and you can’t walk past a modern dance performance without being thrown a curtain from the rafters to climb into and be swaddled like a baby in the cradle of the womb your subconscious still craves.

But!

At Duncan’s time, the drapery was rebellious — shocking even! Her movement style and sartorial choices were a stark contrast to the toe mashing and waist gashing of classical ballet, the bitchy bell of the dance ball for too long.

A white Oldsmobile is parked in front of a Chicago apartment building covered in green ivy.
Neighborhood baddie, summer pre-COVID
A white Oldsmobile with its back driver's side window broken out and covered in plastic and Duct tape is parked in front of a Chicago apartment building covered in green ivy.
Neighborhood bummer, summer 2021

Here’s what was not her thing: Cars. 😠  I’m being glib, but this part is actually super sad. Duncan had three children (“all out of wedlock,” Wikipedia notes… hell yeah, Izzy). We’re already off the rails here, so I’m just going to quote Wikipedia again:

“The first two [children], Deirdre Beatrice (born 1906), whose father was theatre designer Gordon Craig; and the second, Patrick Augustus (born 1910), by Paris Singer, one of the many sons of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer, drowned in the care of their nanny in 1913 when their car went into the River Seine.

Daaaaamn…. 🙁  And then:

“In her autobiography, Duncan relates that [IN HER UNIMAGINABLE GRIEF] she begged a young Italian stranger [HELL YEAH, IZZY], the sculptor Romano Romanelli, to sleep with her because she was desperate for another child. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son on August 13, 1914, but he died shortly after birth. [WTF!]

A beam of rainbow colored embroidery floss shoots out of the palm of a hand on a black and white photograph of Isadora Duncan.
A beam of rainbow colored embroidery floss shoots out of the palm of a hand on a black and white photograph of Isadora Duncan.

One can not blame Dear Isadora, then, for ignoring the warning of her fellow passenger on that fateful joyride in 1927 to watch her damn scarf

Why not live free? Look fabulous? Die at 50 in a tragic and grotesquely bizarre way befitting a tragic and beautifully bizarre life? With a burdenous heart broken such as that… then what, pray tell my young man, is a broken neck?

The scarf caressed her as l’automobile revved faster on whatever rue de la franacaise. It slithered silky and sensual out the window, fluttered with the wind and shivered with thrilling joie de vivre. Then, spotting the car’s open-spoked wheels and, being one to fancy danger, the scarf flirted and tickled and teased and then licked the rear axle. The tire, all business of cut-throat rubber and metal grinding dirt, responded and swallowed the tongue of that scarf and consumed it in one harumphing gulp, pulling the legendary body of Isadora Duncan down with it for dessert.

A snap. A slice. An exit wound.

A goodbye, sweet world. A thanks for the dance. ✌️