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 a 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

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.

MoCADA’s Give Me Body! Conversation at Brooklyn Museum

On Saturday (3/2), I will be participating in a conversation about gender, woman, femme, and feminism today at the Brooklyn Museum.. Please join me.

Social norms have long dictated gender, from their public facing meanings to their private impact. Mother. Shorty. Wifey. Bitch. Woman. Trans. Feminist — and other various descriptors for the female sex gradient, also come diabolically attached to a long antiquated idea of femininity, whose trappings and boundaries suffocate rather than uplift. This is especially true for women of color, whether cis or non-binary, who most often face the corrosive extremes of these imposed values at either end of the spectrum.
Through MoCADA’s next exhibit, Give Me Body! Femme Re-divined, MoCADA seeks to unravel how far society has come in our understanding, recognition, and celebration of the femme form –mind, body, and soul– as a spiritual rite. Our greatest wish is to further unpack and expand this necessary conversation to deliver a new vision for the future. 


Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Time: 6:00-7:30pm

Location: Brooklyn Museum: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238


Sneak Peak of my Studio

Here’s a sneak peak of what is going on in my studio right now…

McCarty’s making frames and i’m starting some new small works

Installation of Infinite Possibilities

Im redoing the art in the lobby of A Condo in downtown Jersey City for the month of June. 

The opening reception will be Friday, June 8th, 7:00pm-9:00pm. Please come see…

LOCATION: 389 Washington St, Jersey City, NJ 07302

The show, Infinite Possibilities is the personification of my artist statement, for real for real.

WE all wear masks. Masks to pretend, to hide, to celebrate or just to put our best face forward in a selfie.

I construct masks for protection. What may start off as an ugly statement, in the end, becomes something beautiful.

I transform drawings, photographs, along with found and meticulously collected materials into self-portraits.

I photograph my process and then digitally manipulate these images to extend the narrative as part of my personal mythology.

Fragmented identity juxtaposed with the existence of infinite possibilities is a recurring theme in my work.

The show consists of four early mixed media works 24″x12″ , two large aluminum prints 40″x30″, Headache and ZYX, one 30″x30″ mixed media portrait, three underworld goddesses 20″x20″ and three Gossip girl masks 20″x20″. Im also draping two 20’x10′ fabric panels of my print “Tag 8” from the ceiling to floor in the seating area.  

Art Life Winning

I have had a see saw week. My dad has being ill and in the hospital with a blood infection. He’s now on the mend. On the other hand, It has been a great week in my art life.

Im planning an art party as part of my family reunion in Barbados this fall. This is one of the locations we are considering for my pop up art show . What do you think?

Its nice to have generous friends like, Matt Galle and Drew Kaklamanos. They introduced me to DB Burkeman, the curator of Paradigm Talent Agency. He has offered to give me a tour of their amazing space.  Here, take a peek.  I will Insta Story my visit so you can join me on the tour too. I’d love to see my art on the walls there.

I also had a studio visit with Mary Birmingham, curator of Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. She is doing a show in September 2018 with Kevin Sampson and a photographer of Outsider Art installations. She invited me to participate. There is a stairwell vestibule for me to transform with my very own installation. Ideas are already percolating.