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noellemason3.jpg

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This piece is called “Nothing Much Happened Today (for Eric and Dylan)” and is by artist Noelle Mason. It’s been lovingly carefully stitched by hand, and who knows how long it must have taken. My interpretation: those long hours pay homage to the community around the Columbine High School shooting. I’m sure each stitch was spent deeply considering the implications of the image. The piece measures 50 x 66 inches. Via Radical Cross Stitch.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


  • BG

    I’m tempted to say this is terrible, as that was my knee jerk reaction. But stuff like this (the shootings at high school) still happen — and not just in predominately white regions.
    I think the wording that Becky used such as “It’s been lovingly stitched by hand, and who knows how long it must have taken” definitely creates the wrong image. There was no love in this — if only a sick love that exists of a morbid celebrity and fan sensation.
    This artist probably wanted to call to attention of what this event symbolized and continues to symbolize, not immortalize them or glorify their cause. If there was any immortalization, inadvertant and it was most likely to the fact that violence in our youth culture is an emerging, disturbing trend.
    Don’t kill the messenger. Kill the messege.
    Also — don’t use the words “lovingly” in the same content as a school shooting. Now THAT’S bad taste.

  • Becky Stern

    When I spend hours and hours embroidering my MRI slides from my broken knee, I’m paying loving attention to something that’s really painful and hard to work through; that’s what I meant to imply. I’m sure not a stitch went by when Noelle didn’t mourn for all those struck by the tragedy of the events at Columbine, and that time spent is an homage. The message (that shouldn’t be killed) is to remember this event so we can work on preventing such tragedies in the future. To spend so much time dedicated to such a disturbing image is an artful, thoughtful, and honorable act which I wanted to share with you by posting this.

  • Colleen

    This is unsettling to say in the least. Why you’d want a stitched reminder of this is beyond me. Im going to have to agree that this is in quite poor taste.

  • Bailey

    As someone who lived very close to Columbine High school at the time of this atrocity I am sick that A. someone would actually take the time to make this when there are so many other beautiful subjects and B. that you would actually post about it. When I saw the photo in my reader my heart dropped and many images from that day came rushing back to me. It is offensive.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a wonderfully haunting rendering of the original image, but the compression used on the cross-stitch looks like it’s from 1999 as well. Some nicer dithering would make it look less like a posterize filter.

  • Amy

    I am alarmed that Craft would publish this. While it’s true that art can and sometimes should be controversial, that only rings true when it challenges the viewer in some way. This piece is not challenging; it is not beautiful, or cerebral, or spiritual. I visit this site and subscribe to Craft’s Twitter to soak up creativity, but the immortalization of two child killers does not fall into that category- no matter how many stitches were “lovingly” included.

  • Joy

    You seriously compared a knee surgery to the senseless killings at Columbine? You are as bad as the artist.

  • Becky Stern

    Nah, I compared the /pain/ of knee surgery and /recovery time/ to the /pain/ and /psychological trauma/ a third-party community non-member feels about the killings. Let me re-phrase: the time spent on the craft is spent deeply considering the implications of the image.

  • Anonymous

    I thought Craftzine was about truly creative craft people and the art they create. The squirrel feet earrings were funny if a little offputting but this is downright disrespectful to so many people. Not really in the Craftzine spirit!!:(

  • Shawn Connally

    The technique and shading are amazing! It’s really a very interesting and disturbing piece, and I appreciate you posting it. The title is reminiscent of the song, “I don’t like Mondays,” which I love, but it always creeps me out a little bit, given what it’s in reference to.

  • Anonymous

    It was YOUR knee and YOUR recovery…This is not her pain nor is it any type of recovery. Did she think of those killed, I think not. Her title alone implies that. No other words about it aside from this caption. It is disgusting.

  • Patti Schiendelman

    Really, the squirrel foot earrings were more of a crafty trifle, though they did provoke some really interesting debate. This piece is art, it’s moving and has depth. I think it’s a lot about witnessing, like Elie Wiesel’s book Night. Wiesel has said survivors have the responsibility to make sure events are not forgotten. Wiesel witnesses with words; Mason witnesses with yarn.

  • biphenyl

    I see this as more of a historical or journalistic piece. It’s simply recording an event that happened in an interesting medium and making no direct comment on it. It leaves any interpretation to the viewer. I don’t see it as condoning the shootings, or aggrandizing the shooters — it’s simply presenting the scene as it happened.
    It’s very well-executed. I remember seeing these clips on the news at the time and it’s emulated the original images almost perfectly — down to the grainy video and the timestamp on the bottom.

  • Sabrina

    I am quite impressed by the work. It looks just like the image that I’ve seen and it is very well done. Although, it seems, a lot of people seem offended by this I respect you for posting. It is, in a way, a work of art. There are pictures of many terrible things and no one complains about them. Look at it as what it truly is, some ones work.

  • Anonymous

    there are so many commenters clearly offended by this piece, as it isn’t the usual eye candy offered up by craft, it’s something with depth. it has started a conversation. i don’t know that many other pieces i’ve seen on this site have done that, and because of that, the artist is to be commended. i don’t think the fact that it makes people uncomfortable makes it “bad craft”, or worth taking down. it SHOULD make us uncomfortable. it’s showing the power of our instruments and materials. do i want to see pictures of these boys? not so much. am i drawn in by the intricate detail and sheer perfection of the piece? absolutely. am i unconsciouly taking a moment to meditate on the events of that day and feeling my heart swell? you betcha. if you ask me, mission accomplished.

  • Morgane

    I don’t see as how this is appalling. The title, to be sure, is whimsically creepy. But I think that adds to the sense of sadness. I’d find it really interesting to see a whole series like this, personally, little snapshots of footage from pivotal moments that, whether we like to admit it or not, changed our country. We never expect to see security camera footage, half the time we forget they’re there at all, so it’s an interesting image to see.

  • Melissa

    I’m very disappointed. Who are we to judge this person’s art? Would you say the same thing about an embroidery of 9/11? As a New Yorker, those images still make my heart drop, but there are still countless yellow ribbons and craft-related projects. If you visit the artist’s site, she takes several uncomfortable subjects and turns them into art. I refuse to judge what is in “bad taste.” Even those performance artists who use their own “fluids” in their art. I may think it’s distasteful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t art. It’s just not up to us to decide. And I applaud Craft: for not always playing it safe and for making us think.

  • Nicole

    The artist’s description is to call attention to how images shape us, the “subtle seductiveness of power facilitated by systems of visual control.” I like this piece because it is not just beautifully done, it is controversial. Artistic expression is often a way to shift perspectives — to see beauty in tragedy, to protest injustice, to expand our understanding of what it is to be human.

  • Dominique

    I’m glad people are offended and upset, you should be. But direct that to who deserves it, those boys. Art reflects life and if you would rather stick your head in a basket full of yarn or a box full of ribbon then take notice that injustice and inhumane acts happen all of the world at every moment then YOU should be ashamed of yourself. Bravo CRAFT for not censoring true works of art because the subject matter might offend those who choose to be easily offended.

  • Joy

    OK, IT’S BEEN COMPARED TO A KNEE AND NOW 911? I WOULD BE JUST AS HORRIFIED IF THE PERSON HAD STITCHED THE HIJACKERS GETTING ON THE PLANE. THIS DISGUSTING PIECE OF ‘ART’ IS SOOOOO DIFFERENT THAN A YELLOW RIBBON YOU MORON.

  • Phillip Torrone

    1. this is art, and art is dealing with pain, at least good art usually is.
    2. all the “tacky” “bad taste” comments are always drive by anonymous commenters, why is that? one reason – half the time they’re folks who just want to see a comment fight – they really don’t care about the post, i’m on “MAKEcation” but if i were becky i would just delete many of the comments here and encourage the commenter(s) to email me if they have a problem (no one ever has in the past when i’ve done that).
    3. there’s nothing wrong with the word lovingly, ever paint a picture for someone who died? it’s possible to put great care and love in something that’s tragic, shocking, morbid. this image was etched in all our brains, and it still is – sometimes you need to create art to get rid of images too….
    4. as far as the 9/11 comments go, c’mon — i live 2 blocks from the trade center – there is a lot of art in the nyc that deals with the pain, anger and new opportunities for a better future.
    becky, this was a good post – haters, i hope becky removes the drive-by comment-snarks…

  • Carrie

    I don’t normally comment on Craftzine posts, though I do subscribe to it via the LJ feed. There are a LOT of projects where I can see the time that went into a piece but wouldn’t call it “art” as much as it is crafty. There are other pieces where someone had a cool idea, spent 45 seconds on it (a plate and a cup glued together to make a cake plate? not a lot of skill involved) and called it done. Both of those things are ok. Whether or not I think it’s Art or I think it’s skillful doesn’t really matter. As far as I can tell Craftzine is about showcasing other people’s works and ideas and talents in the hopes of inspiring people at home to think “Hey, I could do that!”
    The Columbine embroidery is something you could do at home, with a pixelated image and a whole lot of time. If you don’t like the image, make something similar of an image you do think is appropriate. Be inspired to make something of your own, something unique! Don’t like it? Then don’t make it. There are plenty of things shown on this site that I would never make, and that’s ok.
    The problem comes when you decide that your “taste”, your viewpoint, your social or “moral” position is more important than the artists, or the other people who might appreciate it. Everyone has a right to express themselves through art, and if you want to consider yourself a decent person you have an obligation to be respectful of the effort even if you don’t like the subject.

  • Becky Stern

    Phil’s right. If the flamebaiters whose comments I’ve deleted want to talk more about it, or anybody else, feel free to email me at becky@craftzine.com.

  • Samantha M.

    I don’t blame CRAFT for posting this. In fact, in my reaction to the art, I didn’t even think for a second that CRAFT should be accountable. My issue is with the artist and the artist alone.
    Do I like this piece? NO. I’m really uncomfortable with it, actually. BUT it’s a good point brought up by other commenters that Art’s intention is to sometimes make you uncomfortable. Still doesn’t make me like the piece, but that’s my personal taste. As an English teacher (so I look at words very seriously and methodically), I have more of an issue with the title, to be honest, which seems sarcastic and flippant to ME. I can understand the piece on its own, the title is what gets to me. But I don’t think the poster has anything to apologize for.

  • Melissa

    Thanks, Joy!
    My point was that art isn’t neat and tidy and you can’t avoid art dealing with violence. Good for the artist to have the courage to make it and good for Make: for having the courage to post it.

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