In "Sleight of Hand," Will Schaff’s embroidery of St. Rita of Cascia portrays the saint in a nun’s habit, with bleeding stigmata across her forehead and a cross in her hands. Schaff’s embroideries often feature grotesque imagery warmed by intense handcraft. This is another obsessive tour de force, but the composition is awkward, so it doesn’t have his usual charge.

Richard Saja's Please Try to Understand transforms fabric printed with an 18th-century-style pattern of trees, horses, and strolling gentlemen by embroidering green threads over one of the men to turn him into a swamp thing. It’s a cheeky, crafty bit of graffiti.

Leisa Rich stitches together textile portraits of birds framed in machine-embroidered, 19th-century-style frames of vinyl. Michael Aaron McAllister makes brightly beaded, cartoony portraits of Alfred Kinsey, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Eugene O'Neill. Rich’s work is sleekly decorative and McAllister’s beading offers mildly amusing kitschy jokes. But they demonstrate one of the difficulties of exhibiting at Craftland: the store’s inventory of screenprinted baby T-shirts, stitched dolls, posters, and greeting cards is so dazzlingly witty and charismatically design-ed that it’s often hard for the gallery’s “fine” art to compete.  

Read Greg Cook’s blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article referred to Jen Raimondi’s exhibit as "New Growth." The name of the show was changed to "Cultivar" after the article was published; we have updated the story to reflect the name change.

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