Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Faraday/Jensen

(d. Dec. 20, 1968)

Placed in the snack counter at Deerfield Park, Smithfield RI.

The two high school students were on their first date when they were shot to death on a dirt turnaround outside Vallejo, CA, Lake Herman Rd.

The quote is from a note inscribed by Jensen on the back of a wallet-sized school portrait.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things My 3 Year Old Says: Cameo Pins

These pins were made as a multi-step process:
1. Continuously compile phrases from my daughter
2. Stitch texts on 8.5 x 11 sheet of crinoline
3. Scan, shrink, and raster with a laser cutter
4. Cut cherry wood frames and felt backings
5. Glue the layers together
6. Pin and card

Finished Cameo Pin Size: 2.25" x 1.75"

You can find them for purchase at Craftland on Westminster St. in Providence.


Of course, this one is the favorite.

Many thanks to Sparrow for her wisdom in saying things...
and much credit to Jess for her laser cutter, technical skill, and urge to make things.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Darby Crash

(d. Dec. 7, 1980)

Placed in Spike's Hot Dogs, Cranston, RI

Quote is Crash's suicide note.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Natalie Wood

(d. Nov. 29, 1981)

Placed on a sculpture of a mother dancing on waves with her children
Narragansett Beach, Narragansett, RI

Quote by Natalie Wood, herself.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Lee Harvey Oswald

(d. Nov. 24, 1963)

Placed in the Avon Cinema, Providence, RI
Third row from the back, fifth seat in (Oswald was arrested in this seat at the Texas Theatre)

Quote is from his diaries.

(A shot in the dark is hard to come by. I'm lucky to have gotten any photographs at all. The usher asked, "Is that yours?," seeing the pillow sitting in the seat. I said yes and proceeded to the exit quickly, after she turned her back.)

Stitched Deaths: John F. Kennedy

(d. Nov. 22, 1963)

Placed on the front steps of the State House, Providence, RI
On Nov. 22, 2013

Quote from the JFK American University Speech, June 10, 1963

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stitched Deaths: DJ Screw

(d. Nov. 16, 2000)

Placed among the cough syrup bottles in Rite Aid, Branch Ave. Providence, RI

Lyric from the Lil Wayne track, "Rich as Fuck"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Laika

(d. Nov. 3, 1957)

Placed in a pile of dog chew toys at Petco in Cranston, RI

Quote from Oleg Gazenko, the Soviet scientist responsible for Laika's trip

Friday, November 1, 2013

Stitched Deaths: Adrienne Shelly

(d. Nov. 1 2006)

Placed in a shower stall at Lowe's in Cranston, RI

Part of an ongoing series.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On Threads and Tangents: post notes

It's been a few days and I'm still reeling from this RISD Museum performance:

Live stitching, video, costume, and noise came together as one with a rapt audience that participated by throwing yarn everywhere. And allowing me to use their faces. For those of you who were there - THANK YOU. For those of you who missed it - I hope to share a video of the performance very soon.

For now, please see some really fun shots taken by friends:

photos:[top] Brian Jablonski [bottom] Jinwon Lee

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Mahatma Gandhi

(b. Oct. 2, 1869)

I was a freshman in high school when I saw the biopic, Gandhi. As most of my classmates slept, I felt connected to this idea of fighting without violence. I noted earlier in the collection that his wife,  Kasturba Gandhi (see her stitched portrait here), taught Mahatma the ways of non-violent civil disobedience. (behind every great man...)

He led India to independence and inspired people all over the World. And he was also a bit of a creepy, crazy person. But aren't we all? I like to think of him as an inspiration and I will remember his lesson, including how it affected those closest to him.

Gandhi (with intensity):

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Jimmy Carter

(b. Oct. 1, 1924)

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Carter. On this day, when the government has been shut down I'm glad I get to think about you. You, who pleaded with Americans in 1979 to be less greedy. And I really wish that message would stick. Thank you, Jimmy Carter.

Smiling, looking forward:

Monday, September 30, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Truman Capote

(b. Sep. 30, 1924)

When an artist's work and personality are equally enigmatic, they can earn the title of Dandy. This is a proper description of Truman Capote. He wrote some pretty great books that were turned into some pretty great movies as well. Happy Birthday, Mr. Capote.

Here he is all stitched and wonky:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Les Claypool

(b. Sep. 29, 1963)

Wow, this guy turns 50 today. He was such a hero to me when I was a wee teen. In high school I saw Primus more times than I probably should have and his goofiness rubbed off on me. Thankful for his singular bass playing style and his ridiculous songs that feature talk of mud and beavers, I love Les Claypool - jambandiness forgiven.

Les (hatted):

Saturday, September 28, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Annie Clark

(b. Sep. 28, 1982)

Monster guitarist, cute little frame, Annie Clark knows how to stand and she knows how to lead at the helm of St. Vincent. David Byrne noticed this and they've been touring together for the past 2 years with their joint brassy project called Love This Giant. I do, too.

Annie Clark (with freckles included):

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Carrie Brownstein

(b. Sep. 27, 1974)

"Don't touch me. You're a hippie. You do not get punk rock at all,"

said Iris.

Carrie formed Sleater-Kinney with Corin Tucker and they killed it for years (1994-2006).
Then the band split and Brownstein started doing comedy with Fred Armisen that led to the funniest show ever about Portland and they called it Portlandia. In 2010 she needed music again and formed the band Wild Flag with a bunch of other kick-ass ladies.

Here she is (w/ scowl):

Thursday, September 26, 2013

[THE LOST WEEK] Stitched Portraits: Winsor McCay

(b. Sep. 26, 1869)

Last year at this time I was losing it. The one-a-day project of stitching portraits had become too much. My wife suggested I take a week long vacation. Wisely, I took her advice. Not only for my sanity - but also to keep my family from hating me.

At the end of the 366 days, I went back to the week that I had lost (Sep. 26 - Oct. 2) and completed the portraits.

Winsor McCay (the first in this series) is one of the most influential illustrators of all time. His Nemo in Slumberland served as a boilerplate for artists like Maurice Sendak, Tomi Ungerer, Walt Disney, Bill Watterson, and Chuck Jones. His works have been recreated, referenced, and repurposed and many of today's graphic novelists and cartoonists consider McCay to be a forefather of the art form.

Winsor (a drawing at his drawing table):

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Giorgio De Chirico

(b. July 10, 1888)

The Metaphysical Painter, De Chirico was obsessed with self-portraiture. Dealing with themes of emptiness and space - his imagery was haunting and occasionally dream-like. This would explain why he so strongly influenced the Surrealists.

I always come back to his piece, Love Song from 1914.
It includes a prominently hung orange glove. I found the glove once, and i stole it:

I Stole De Chirico's Orange Glove, Ricky Katowicz, 2006 (Found orange glove, Found wood, Found nail, Found paper scrap, pencil, painter's tape)

Looking at this stupid piece every day in my studio always makes me smile.

And here, his stitched portrait - reminiscent:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Redman

(b. Apr. 17, 1970)

In every relationship there is a Method Man and a Redman. Which are you?

Below, I've stitched mine:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Bruce McCulloch

(b. May 12, 1961)

I can't pick a favorite Kid in the Hall, but Bruce as a lady always tickles me.

Here he is as her:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Leo Tolstoy

(b. Sep. 9, 1828)

Last year at this time I was confused when I read that it was Tolstoy's birthday. Just 12 days earlier, Wikipedia had told me that same fact (August 28).

I thought to myself - "No way there are TWO notable Leo Tolstoys!?!"
Which is true, there aren't.

So I learned that sometimes the internet is wrong.

But today, a Russian writer gets his stitched due.
Happy 185th, Leo.

Tolstoy (White Bearded):

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Tilda Swinton

(b. Nov. 5, 1960)

Known for her sharp performances brought to stage and screen, Swinton has caught attention this year for brave acts that are outside of traditional acting roles. Recently she held up a rainbow flag outside of the Kremlin. She also created a performance piece/installation for the MOMA where she would randomly show up and sleep in a glass box.

Here is a portrait of that:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Keith Moon

(b. Aug. 23, 1946)

Known as the crazy, English drummer from The Who, he was also the inspiration for Jim Henson's Muppet, Animal. He hit the drums hard and had a good time hitting everything else hard as well. He died too young but is forever remembered as one of the greatest drummers in the World.

(A side note: Recently, I sold the birthday portrait from August 23 [see: Letta Mbulu] and I've decided to replenish them so I always have a full year set. You will be seeing other new portraits in the weeks to come, refilling the catalog based on all the birthday portraits that have sold.)

Keith Moon (English TEETH):

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On Threads and Tangents

Next month I will be giving a presentation/performance in stitching at the RISD Museum. I'm very excited about this. And here is the poster I made this weekend to prove it:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stitched Stitchings: W&G Album Art (sneak peek)

Later this year, Wind & Ghosts (the experimental guitar duo that I am proud to be a part of) will release our first EP. And in addition to our weekly living room performances that melt my face, we have been focused on the album art for these last few months. It has been a collaboration between my daughter's paintings and my stitchings.

Because I'm so excited about it, I would like to share a small part of it with you now.

Back cover, track listing:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Maurice Sendak

(b. Jun. 10, 1928) A master of his craft. Last year, when he passed, I made this doll as tribute. And on his birthday, I stitched his portrait. He would be 85 this year. Happy birthday Maurice. Hope you're sitting with Jennie.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Me

In October of this year I will be giving a stitched demonstration in the RISD Museum. I never really thought I would be showing any of my work in any museum anytime soon...
So it was a welcome surprise when the opportunity arose.

The event will be publicized by the museum and they will need to show some type of image to represent what it is that I do. However, nothing I've made thus far represents the tenor of the discourse I would like to have. This led to a frantic Friday and Saturday of searching.
But I eventually decided that I needed a self-portrait to share...

...and I am forever split between cartoon-me and real me...
...You decide?

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Hello again!

Now that the stitched portrait project has been over for a few months I've had time to work on some other things and focus on ideas for the future. But I've missed the daily process of doing SOME ONE THING on a daily basis. It was difficult to keep up for a whole year, but the doing forced me to find things in a way that is similar to school but better - because it was self driven. I learned about some of the most interesting people ever and read a lot of books, watched many films, and generally made myself smarter by drawing one thing in this way, everyday. And then, once all of the little pieces came together in a visual and sequential way - I was blown away.

I've been hesitant to begin again, but stumbled across a new subject that has been interesting me - How do you draw wind? Over the next month I will attempt to answer this question day by day throughout May.

And May seemed perfect because of this:

Winds of May
Winds of May, that dance on the sea,
Dancing a ring-around in glee
From furrow to furrow, while overhead
The foam flies up to be garlanded,
In silvery arches spanning the air,
Saw you my true love anywhere?
Welladay! Welladay!
For the winds of May!
Love is unhappy when love is away!
- James Joyce

Thank you for listening.
Day one, 5/1/2013:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Alan Rickman

(b. Feb. 21, 1946) The first portrait I made in this collection was George Washington, on his birthday. That was Feb. 22, 2012. Alan Rickman marks the end of the project and he will play us out, reading from Shakespeare's sonnets, here:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

- SONNET 130, William Shakespeare

And to close, Alan Rickman (as Colonel Brandon):

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Art Spiegelman

(b. Feb. 15, 1948) There are some artists who take longer to get to in your life and Spiegelman is one of those for me. However, due to my love of the Garbage Pail Kids (and my Pee-Wee trading cards), I guess I've loved his work for a long time. Also, a few years ago I stumbled across his McSweeney's published Be A Nose! named after my favorite moment in Bucket of Blood. I caught glimpses of Raw Magazine and thought where was this all my life. And now, finally, I am smack dab in the middle of Maus and although everyone has already called it brilliant, I will too.

(I think it's also important to note that another comics genius was born on this Mid-February date as well - Matt Groening. Groening and Spiegelman... same day, weird.) 

Art Spiegelman Glamour Shot:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Jen Corace

(b. Feb. 19) Jen celebrated her birthday a week ago and I celebrated by stitching her portrait as part of the birthday collection. She is a brilliant illustrator and crafter, art director of the most colorful store in Providence, RI, and her works in Sweet Dreams are among my favorite children's book illustrations ever. I am also lucky to call her a personal friend. Check out her work here.

Jen Corace (halved):

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stitched Portraits: Mia Farrow

(b. Feb. 9, 1945) This is one of my favorite portraits. Plus, I really just love her. Stunning looks, brilliant delivery, humanitarian work, Rosemary's Baby, Radio Days, Be Kind Rewind... I like her all the way around. Watch this and fall too. Or this. Here she is with a teddy bear:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stitched Portraits: The last day

I started this project one year ago on February 22. I had originally planned to stitch one portrait for every day of Lent. By Easter Sunday, I would have 40 portraits. I had also intended to do only historical figures but that changed early in the process when it was Abe Vigoda's birthday and I couldn't justify choosing anyone else.

As the project continued and I enjoyed making them, and since I liked the results, I started showing them to friends and one mentioned - "Since you're doing birthday portraits you're going to do the whole year, right?" After that comment I felt that I needed to follow through.

Today is February 21 and it marks the last portrait (Alan Rickman, for the curious). I will continue to post some of my favorites throughout the end of this month, but as of March 1st, new projects will be on the horizon. And after a year of doing this everyday, I am definitely excited for the change.

Thank you to all who have checked this blog regularly and supported me throughout the process. I could not have gotten through it without the encouragement.

Ricky Katowicz

And here, from last week, the most ridiculous Valentine ever -
(b. Feb. 14, 1942) Andrew Robinson (as Scorpio from Dirty Harry):