Introducing betterArts Resident Joetta Maue

"As humans, we live in a state of dynamic, conflicting emotions. In moments of pain we experience joy and in moments of joy we have sorrow. In my work I celebrate the contradictions and dynamism of the joy and sadness of life. Just like the word “lovely,” which we may use to describe everything from a wedding ceremony to a funeral service, life is an indefinable experience. It fluctuates, never remaining in one moment or emotion for long. This dynamism creates the complexity of life, the beauty of life, and the path of life."—Joetta Maue
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based yoga instructor and artist Joetta Maue excels in textiles; using embroidery and applique to create gorgeous, lifelike images that are tactile, emotional, and vibrant. Her large-scale work explores familial and spousal relationships with stitched portraits of everyday moments of intimacy, and text-based work exploring complexities within relationships. The result—life-sized replications of images and narratives that are intimidatingly poignant—is simply awesome.

Case in point, this image she worked off of and the subsequent creation she made (that's her and her son):

Joetta's work has been shown internationally, featured in a number of books and publications, and showcased on countless blogs. In her application to betterArts' residency program, Joetta told us she's seeking a space apart from her daily routine, which she described to us as being "at times very hectic, busy, and stressful..." The urban environment of concrete jungles, loud noises, and crowds can wreak havoc on an artist's ability to step back. 

It's an interesting tension in particular for this artist, whose recent work has centered around a fast-paced Brooklyn woman's sanctuary: the bed. "The bed is a powerful locale in our daily life," she wrote to us. "We experience our most intimate moments of vulnerability, love, passion, sadness, and weakness here. Most of us begin and end our life in this place that is piled with soft sheets and pillows... 

"My current image-based work explores the liminal space of the sleeping figure, angelic and crucified in shape, peaceful and deathlike in character. My text-based works explores the complicated emotions that reside within intimacy and identity. My studio practices involve labor-intensive techniques that force me to work slowly, meticulously, and daily on my work. The finished work becomes a map of my daily life through the slow stitching of images and words." 

As of Sunday, this talented lady (toddler in tow) joins us for a two-week betterArts residency. Joetta  told us she's looking forward to "being with the land, honoring where my food comes from, smelling the fresh air, and having a focused time on my work." We'll have her out in the gardens with us, participating in family dinners, and we'll see to it she gets her peace and quiet with nice long sessions in the Art Barn. And, of course, we'll all be ooh-ing and aah-ing over these extremely special creations of hers.

Learn more about Joetta at her blog and website. All images of Joetta's work is copyrighted material. To learn more about the betterArts residency program and to apply, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.