This project, Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! (2016), sat in my sewing bag 95% complete for 6+ months. While 2017 was an incredibly productive year for me, it was also an incredibly difficult one. It taught me a lot about cycles of trauma, narcissism, and abuse – as well as the courage it takes to break out of them.
I first had the idea to stitch the album when “Redbone” dropped a few weeks after the 2016 election (aka, the kickoff to Traumafest 2017). Like most well-intentioned, but self-centered White people, I sank into a deep depression immediately afterwards. The song gave me a beacon of hope and the cross-stitching was a relaxing way to calm my scattered mind.
Bonus: After Traumafest 2017, when I found myself in a new living situation with only about 10 boxes worth of possessions to my name, I’d lay on my friend’s guest room bed, holding my cat Lola, and watching YouTube for hours at a time. For whatever reason, of all the videos I watched, she was incredibly fascinated by this one, which further demonstrates Donald Glover’s musical genius (song starts at 1:17).
In light of Chris Cornell’s recent, tragic passing, I stitched Soundgarden’s Superunknown (1994). I was 10 when this album came out and I quickly hopped on the grunge bandwagon (which – as a chubby, mid-western kid – was pretty unfortunate-looking, I’m sure). About four years later, I started playing the album on loop constantly. They say that 14 is a pretty formative year, pop-culture-wise. It seems fitting that I ended up in the city who’s music I idolized a child and teen.
Bonus: When I cross-stitch I often listen to KBCS, a local, awesome, eclectic radio station. Their funk program did an hour-long tribute to Chris Cornell (see playlist from 05/19/17). Initially, it seemed out of place, but I quickly realized just how much funkier and more soulful Cornell was compared to other grunge singers. The thing that cemented this view was hearing this cover of “Jesus Christ Pose” on the tribute program (original here).
Although I’ve been busy with the e-book, I’ve still been cranking out my LP Stitch projects. This one, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters (1973) will be up for auction at Jazz Night School’s “Swing Jazz to Life” fundraiser on May 6th. My reproduction of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue will also be available. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the even because I’m playing with SWOJO featuring Christine Jensen that same night (but am very excited about the concert!) For more information about my upcoming performances, see Calendar.
Today, I’d hoped to get back to my comics on the music of naughty aughties, but my e-book had other plans. In the meantime, enjoy Usher rendered in glorious, cross-stitch form.
I’ll keep this brief, but I did want to take a sec to deconstruct the video for “U Remind Me” – one of the hit singles off 8701:
The three best things about this video:
- The asymmetrical top that the love interest wears in the opening scene at the mall (starting at 0:11) – 16-year old me would’ve killed for a top like that…
- 2:54, in which Usher concludes an otherwise epic dance sequence with an awkward heel click into his Lamborghini. I think I’ve seen that clip rendered into GIF form.
- The pants that Usher wears in the final club scene – on full display at 3:16.
I’ve been on blogging hiatus for the past few weeks finishing my e-book, but have some time while I wait for my editor (i.e. my mom) to review the draft. For this project, I did Rihanna’s Loud (2010). Not only is the cover great for a smaller format (the closeup shot is easier to render), it made me nostalgic for the time in my life when the album was released.
Continue reading “LP Stitch: Loud”
Although I’ve already cross-stitched an iconic Miles Davis cover, I decided to pay tribute once again – this time to an album that introduced me to the wonderful world of jazz bass playing…
Almost 20 years ago, I started studying jazz bass after a few months of messing around with rock. One of the first things that my new teacher had me do was transcribe the melody and bassline to “So What,” off of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (with Paul Chambers on bass). The song is notable in that it is one of the few jazz standards with the bassist playing the melody.
Continue reading “LP Stitch: Kind of Blue”
After my last few projects, I’m back to making cross-stitch reproductions of album covers, but with a twist- they’re now a lot smaller… Instead of a 12″ x 12″ (almost) life-sized reproduction, I’m now going with a 6″ x 6″ canvas. Instead of taking 30 or more hours to finish, I can crank these bad boys out in about 4-5. Admittedly, you lose a lot of the detail that you get with the larger projects, but I’m willing to make that trade-off.
For my first Mini LP Stitch project, I choose the classic Outkast albums Stankonia (2000). I’m hoping to do another edition of “A Musical History of the Naughty Aughties” (Part 1, Part 2) about the duo’s impact on popular music in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Right now, I’m trying to strike a balance of recognizing the seriousness of the current political climate, while still trying to preserve my mental health and engage in activities that I find therapeutic and rewarding. Cross-stitching and comic-making help me to do both. While I’m also working on some holiday presents for family, I should be producing and posting about projects on a more frequent basis. As always, stay tuned!