So, in addition to drinking gallons of tea and reading so much my head might soon explode, I like to knit and sew, and I’ve recently gotten interested in learning to embroider. There are some great places to do so online (such as the Stitching Cow and Sublime Stitching), but I just came across a tutorial for shisha mirrorwork. The writer also suggest substituting tiny mirrored pieces with coins, shells, and what appear to be pieces of aluminum cans, which is totally cool and innovative!

Shisha seems to have originated in the subcontinent or Central Asia, and there are great illustrations of Pakistani and Indian embroidery at Quilter’s Muse. Of all the varieties, I’m most interested in phulkari (probably because my husband/extended family is Punjabi) — but for the life of me, I can’t find instructions or patterns for the craft. This is likely because it’s handed down through generations, a tradition woven into the life of the village, not something commodified and exported for indiscriminate consumption, and maybe it’s crass to think I could learn to do it without an apprenticeship of several years with a Punjabi granny. Nevertheless, it seems like the Internet could offer guidance toward online repositories of related info. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

(Instead of drinking my way through the Village …)

1. Gustav Klimt at the Neue Galerie — an old favorite; what’s not to like about Viennese art nouveau?


2. “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love,” Kara Walker, Whitney Museum of American Art — probably the best-reviewed show of the year; I don’t explore contemporary American art nearly enough as I probably should.


3. “This is War!”, Robert Capa, International Center for Photography — a retrospective of the Magnum vet’s war photojournalism, and a reminder that the images coming out of Iraq now lack a certain independent spirit of earlier eras.


4. “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery,” multiple artists, Museum of Art and Design — I stitch, I bitch, therefore I am?

5. “Arts of Kashmir,” Asia Society — a deeply divided region that nonetheless houses some of the most beautiful art in the known world.