Introducing "Artificial Heart": hand-embroidered, wearable works of art


Artificial Heart is a new, somewhat experimental clothing line and customization service, defined so far by classy secondhand clothes embellished with the hand-embroidered mechanical bits and pieces I so often use in my artwork. The goal: to create a sustainable, mobile, and highly enjoyable way to make a living while producing accessible art works that will be seen everywhere!

For me, the term "Artificial Heart" signifies both the mechanical and the life-giving. Its precision beats pump out vital fluids throughout the body, mixing blood and oxygen, as a carburetor feeds exact mixtures of air and fuel into the rapidly-firing pistons of an engine. Form and function are united...which is the spirit I hope to explore in these hand-sewn pieces.

I begin by saving gently used, well-constructed pieces of clothing from the landfill, selecting them based on their simplicity and uniqueness. Each piece is paired with an equally distinctive embroidery design - one that emphasizes or contrasts with the garment's special character. The design is then stitched to the piece by hand, a process that can take several hours... and the end result is worth the effort!

Take a look at Artificial Heart's web page. If you see something you like, or if you already have a special piece of clothing you'd like embroidered, get in touch - the holidays are upon us!


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in progress: t-shirt design for The Badger - Made in Trenton

badgerdrawing1For the last month or two, my boyfriend Drue Pennella, co-founder of a new media company called Pure Motion Pictures, has been working on a documentary called The Badger: Made in Trenton. This is the story of a man who has obsessively taken on the task of creating a speed demon out of a particular brand of motorcycle better known for its clunky, utilitarian character (and frankly, for its lack of reliability). Appropriately enough, this is a film without a budget, which Drue, his partner and a small number of devoted friends have been working on in between full-time jobs and various paying gigs - necessitating the need for a crowd funding campaign to raise the bare essentials…

…which is where these t-shirts come in. Artificial Heart is a name and concept I've had in my head for a good year now. It's a line of clothing and accessories I hope to gradually build into a brand that will meld art project ideas with accessible, affordable, wearable pieces. It's in its earliest developmental stages… and "The Badger" has provided me the opportunity to make my first limited edition collection, as a "perk" for those who contribute $100 or more to the campaign.

These are some early sketches and source materials… I expect to have the shirts designed and printed by mid-December, fingers crossed.



Meanwhile, for a little taste of the film, check out this teaser, and stay tuned…