Women’s Work Revisited

As a child, my grandmother insisted My sister and I learn how to sew. “These are important skills every young lady must know,” she would say. And even though I thought it was “old fashioned,” I learned to sew on an vintage Singer machine.

I vividly remember lying on the floor under the machine with my cheek resting on the cold metal stand while Grandma worked the pedals with her feet, letting out the hem on my pants to accommodate my growth spurt that summer. Whenever I see an old Singer machine this memory pops into my head, I can feel the cold metal on my face and smell a wiff of Grandmas perfume, Charlie.

My sister and I also learned needle point, crochet, beading, jewelry making from my Mom and friendship bracelets, macrame, basket weaving as Girl Scouts. My Mom was our troop leader. At the time, these were deemed important skills for young ladies to have… but somewhere along the way, after my Grandmother passed in 1988, I stopped doing “Women’s Work” and set aside craft in pursuit of “more important” things that would help me get ahead in the world, like scholastic aptitude.

My crafting skills lay buried deep in my subconscious for decades, until I rediscovered how restorative working with my hands can be. The repetition of knotting and wrapping has a meditative quality that silences the mind. My brain literally switches off and my hands just do their thing, fusing rope, yarn, ribbon and thread into something new. When I snap out of the trance, something miraculous rests in my hands. It never ceases to amaze me how insanely productive I can be when I stop thinking and just be. Counterintuitive, I know, but this how creativity manifests for me. 

I want to honor the women who instilled my love of art, by elevating craft to fine art and banishing the perception that “Women’s Work” is not as important as other art practices. All there is to do, is just be and let it happen.

To prepare for this journey, I am taking a couple workshops for fun and brush up on my skills at the Textile Arts Center in NYC this quarter.

  • Bead Embroidery workshop on 02/06/2020
  • Intro to Macrame + Knotting, a full day class on 02/16/2020
  • Advanced Pompom Techniques workshop on 03/03/2020

Check this space and my Instagram @MissTheda to see what I’m learning and how I’m incorporate these techniques into my art practice. I am excited to see what happens…

Another close up

14C Art Fair 2020

When I applied for the 14C Art Fair, I did not think my application would be accepted. You don’t get if you don’t try, so I applied anyway, to both the Juried Show and for my own room to exhibit and host a fiber workshop. And by some miracle, here I am with an acceptance to both.

My work will be on display in exhibition room 843 at the Hyatt Regency, Exchange Place in Jersey City NJ from February 21st – 23rd.

I will be hosting a Yarn Wrapping Workshop in my exhibition room through out the art fair. Watch this space for more detail on the times for the workshop and to sign up.

Looking Forward To…

Ive been invited to participate in an as yet unnamed group exhibit at BSB Gallery in Trenton NJ this May 2020. The exhibit was inspired by my conversation with the curator about the experiences women of color in the corporate world.  My work will be featured alongside several other black women’s that hold a commanding presence both in their artwork and in their daily lives. I am really looking forward to meeting the other artists.

If Wonder Woman Selfie tapestry has not found a new home by May, I think her largess will fit nicely at BSB Gallery, in their soaring double height space. I hope they think so also…

“Welcome to Fight Club” Digital Print On Metallic Photo Paper
Framed Size: 22 x 22 x 1 inches, 2017
Being a black woman in corporate America is like Fight Club. I must mold my personality to be palatable as a peach and keep my opinions to myself. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.  The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!  Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, or taps out, your career is over.

January 2020 Exhibitions

Finding Your Voice in America Today

Ill be participating in Finding Your Voice in America Today exhibition, a dialogue between disparate voices sharing a new perspective on today’s political climate at Kelwood Contemporary Art in Baton Rouge, LA. 

EXHIBITION DATES: January 10, 2020- March 8, 2020

LOCATION: Kelwood Contemporary Art, 8202 Kelwood Ave. Baton Rouge, LA 

“Never Hide” 20″x20″x1 Mixed Media Canvas Acrylic skin, painted cardboard, tissue paper, recycled envelops, glitter, beads, bottle caps 2017

Snow Ball Gala Auction

My Work “Don’t Blink” will be available for auction at Art House’s Snow Ball Gala in Jersey City on January 25th, 2020.  This annual creative black tie gala raises funds for an ambitious season of arts and educational programming at Art House. This year’s theme is The Wizard of Oz!! 

Art House’s Snow Ball Gala: January 25th, 2020.

LOCATION: Art House Productions, 262 17th St, Jersey City, NJ 07310

Tickets are still available. Be sure to say hello to McCarty, he will be representing for me at Snow Ball, ill be away for the Grammy’s in LA.

Don’t Blink is a digital rework of cut and paste collage printed on aluminum. #analog2digital

Monmouth Museum’s 41st Annual Juried Exhibition

I didn’t get in last year, but this year I have been accepted into Monmouth Museum’s 41st Annual Juried Exhibition with one of my recent mixed media fiber works.

“Camouflage Pink” a 100’x1/2″ wrapped cotton rope embellished with floral beaded garland be presented in the Main Gallery from January 18, 2020 – March, 14, 2020.

EXHIBITION DATES: January 18, 2020– March 14, 2020
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 5pm – 7pm

LOCATION: Monmouth Museum, 765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ 07738.

Theda Sandiford “Camouflage Pink” Mixed Media Fiber 100’x 1/2″ 2019

Art Goals for 2020

I love making art but I love finding my art new homes even more. With McCarty’s help, this will be the year we maximize Shopify’s marketing automation tools and revenue on ThedaSandifordArt.com. Yes, this means I’ll recommit to Instagram and post at least once a day.

Use this space to document my preparation and participation in Kenya Friends Art Residency this July 2020… Ive already started studying Kiswahili on Duolingo. And created a Pinterest Inspiration board so you can see where my head is at. More to come, as I to learn to cook ugali and map out my adventure.

Apply for and Win a grant to further develop, I Am My Hair Art Workshop. I want to take my workshop to Atlanta, Nashville and Austin. And create a catalog documenting the stories and people who participate in the workshop.

I live art-ed making a Vision Board at SXSW in 2007 (I think that was the year). I want to up the ante and run I Am My Hair workshop at SXSW in 2021. I need help capturing video of me working in studio and editing a clip I can submit as part of a multimedia application for SXSW Art Program 2021. Any volunteers? I can barter with art, a delicious meal and wine paring.

Two Weeks in Kenya

I won NOW•FRIENDS ; Artist Residency, Kenya 2020. 

I have reread the email congratulating me for winning “NOW•FRIENDS ; Artist Residency, Kenya” 100 times and it is just now starting to sink in.

I’m going to Kenya in July 2020! Returning to Kenya for the first time since my junior year abroad in 1990. Whoa!

“NOW•FRIENDS ; Artist Residency, Kenya  gives an artist the opportunity to immerse themselves in real communities and obtain authentic experiences. During the 2 week residency artists are encouraged to step out of what they would typically consider their “work”.

While in Residency, I plan to work with community members on a collaborative project weaving hair from local textiles and found materials. I also plan to visit other artists working in Kenya. Please send artist suggestions.

I look forward to meeting new friends and seeing how my work becomes influenced by my time in Kenya. I can’t wait to go textile and bead shopping.