Live Culture Episode 52: Digital Stitches

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This month join me as I discuss artmaking, embroidery and the influence of the internet with artist Michelle Beaulieu-Morgan. Michelle can be defined many ways, including being a queer Mainer who is now based in CT and who - through her embroidery- is a self-proclaimed “Purveyor of Excessiveness”. Additionally, she is an Activist/Doyenne of Social Media/Visual Artist /Radio DJ /Writer/Spouse and Parent. Michelle has a PhD. in American Studies from Yale University and currently works as a Digital Accessibility Specialist. Our discussion was recorded on a recent rainy afternoon, where we met to verbally unravel some of the complex interlacings formed by these various threads. Michelle - who began embroidering about 4 years ago- has had a meteoric rise through social media, and we talk about how Instagram has nourished her practice from its inception. This includes her first foray in digital needlework with her 1 year of stitches embroidery project, which used crowd-sourced content and went viral, giving a head-start to the over 24,000 followers she has today. We pick up with most recently, the story behind her commission by 4-time Grammy-Award winning artist Keb Mo, to make original art for his latest album cover. Oklahoma, which came out this month and features Michelle’s detailed custom embroidery, plus a variety of logoed items and memorabilia inspired by her images. We peruse the how’s, when’s and why’s of what she does, the materiality involved, as well as the therapeutic aspects of hand-work and discuss her first- ever, brick-and-mortar solo art exhibition, coming up, IRL, this fall at the Whitney Humanities Center in New Haven. Her story is an inspiring tale of traditional needlecrafts, hard work, internet communities and a genre-breaking vision that connects them all. More about Michelle here: https://www.instagram.com/mutuallyassureddeconstruction/?hl=en More about Michelle’s radio show can be found here: https://www.wpkn.org/shows/michelle-morgan/ More about Keb Mo’s Oklahoma here: https://kebmo.limitedrun.com/store More about the Whitney Humanities Center Art Gallery here: https://whc.yale.edu/gallery-whitney

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