Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Manual Autonomy: Mary Smull

My good friend and colleague Sarah Hulsey and I are curating and mounting an exhibition of the work of fiber artist Mary Smull! I am so excited to share with you the press release for this imminent exhibition.

Manual Autonomy, Mary Smull
Anderson Hall, 6th floor gallery
University of the Arts
333 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

EXHIBITION DATES: October 29 – November 16, 2012 ,
                                         Mon. – Fri. 8:30am – 4:00 pm and by appointment

OPENING RECEPTION: 5:30 – 7:30pm, Thursday, November 1, 2012

GALLERY TALK: Mary Smull, 6:00pm, Thursday, November 1, 2012

Philadelphia, PA – Anderson Hall, 6th floor gallery at the University of the Arts is pleased to
announce an exhibition by alumna Mary Smull.

Manual Autonomy presents two rule‐based needlepoint projects by Philadelphia artist Mary Smull. These works take needlepoint craft kits and deliberately subvert many of the original intensions of the kit, exploring the complicated relationship between hobbyist craft and fine art.
In the series Conceptual Needlepoint, Smull accepts the constraints of a needlepoint kit’s provided colors, but defies the kit’s intentions by formulating her own rules for the application of the colors, thus turning a prescribed pattern into an exploration of autonomy. In Finished Works Smull beings with abandoned, partially finished needlepoint projects, and then completes them — but using only white thread. These pieces preserve the structure of the original intension, but result in images full of hiatuses and encroaching blank fields.

Mary Smull holds a BFA from the University of the Arts in Fibers/Craft and an MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Smull’s work has been exhibited recently at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Public Fiction, Los Angeles, CA; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Her project SPUN: Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint was recently presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition Craft Spoken Here. She teaches in the Fiber Department at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD.

Curated by Sarah Hulsey and Erin Paulson, MFA Book Arts/Printmaking candidates 2013.

Contact: Erin Paulson email:

High resolution images are available upon request.

Generously funded by the University of the Arts Alumni Association.

Monday, October 22, 2012


This past Friday was the opening reception for our Works in Progress Exhibition at UArts. Thank you so much to everyone who made it out, it was wonderful to see all of you!

I will photograph the show and share the work by myself and my talented classmates at some point this week, so stay tuned.

Also, I wanted to share that my work will be included in two more exhibitions!

My pieces I was screaming and no one could hear. and what is otherwise lost will be included in the Modest in Scale exhibition at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado.
There will be a reception on November 15, from 6 - 8 pm, and the exhibition will run through December 15th.

My piece After the sun burned her eyes she found her way has been accepted to Craft Forms 2012 at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
There will be a preview party on Friday, November 30 from 6 - 10 pm, and the exhibition will run through January 26th.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lenore Tawney

Some of you may know that Lenore Tawney has been one of my favorite artists since I was first studying fiber art. Amazingly, this year, 5 years after her death, the Lenore Tawney foundation has donated much of the materials from her studio to students at UArts and MICA.
Us book arts grads were fortunate enough to share in this gift! We are meant to create work with Lenore's materials for an exhibition that will take place at the end of the year in conjunction with exhibitions of her work here at UArts and at MICA.

I have been quietly working away on some embroideries greatly inspired by Lenore's work to be housed in the following miniature boxes I received. Each is only 1 1/4" in diameter. These will be seen in our Work in Progress show, the opening for which is October 19th. More info on that later!

I also received this odd wooden piece, which after discussion with one of my advisors I now realize was a device to form cigars. There must have been an original adjoining female piece. I'm not sure what I will do with this yet, but I'm really transfixed by the landscape nature of the cracked line running across it.

This is a beautiful book on chemistry from (just a guess) the late 19th century. It has fantastic diagrams inside and that fabulous poetic language so often formerly employed to discuss science.

Look at that marbled edge!

There are several pages where someone, possibly Lenore, wrote the page number in ink, as well as making other notations.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Center for Contemporary Art

I am excited to share that my piece from them or you or the stars and their voices has been accepted to a juried show at the Center for Contemporary Art in New Jersey!

The show will be up from November 2 - December 15, with an opening reception on Friday, November 2nd from 6-8 pm. 

2020 Burnt Mills Rd., Bedminster, NJ 07921
(908) 234-2345
Email: info
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