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FINDING JOY: August First Friday Show with Shea Goitia

  • Smart + Becker 1154 McCalla Avenue Knoxville, TN, 37915 United States (map)

Finding Joy is a collection of abstract embroidery work by artist Shea Goitia. These pieces chronicle the experience with a medium that often has a connotation with spinsterdom, but has been reclaimed in the form of embracing singleness and the self-awareness it produces. 

Shea says...

You reach a time in your twenties where you're very aware of the fact that you're single. We can probably all think of signs that point to this, but at some point for everyone, you have one of those "look at your life, look at your choices" moments...or maybe more than one.

I've come to embrace this single girl persona, and have arrived at the understanding that whether it is temporary or permanent, it's a season of life that you can thrive in. Finding Joy is about seeking more for myself as an artist, exploring and experimenting, but it is also about contentment in what is.

Through the time I've put into this body of work, I've learned more about who I am as a person, and accepted those qualities. I tend to hyper focus on things, and while this can be harmful in certain areas of my life (like analyzing how witty my response was to someone I was chatting with on Coffee Meets Bagel),  it's an important part of the process for my embroidery.

Each piece is worked on, one at a time, from start to finish, so my full self can be dedicated to the journey of that piece. I focus on exactly what color, texture, and pattern will go into each section, relentlessly making sure it's the perfect fit. While the individual pieces don't have meaning behind the colors or patterns within them, each stitch chronicles the passage of time for whatever season of life I was experiencing as I worked on it. There have been sun-soaked days on the sofa, anxious Metro rides on the way to first dates, visits home to see my parents, whole series of television burned through on Netflix, and many moments of quiet solitude stitched into each hoop. There have been many Friday nights home doing embroidery. And that couldn't make my heart any happier.

Shea Goitia is a fiber artist hailing from the great state of Virginia. A majority of her time is spent with some of the most inspiring artists in the world- her elementary school students. When she's not making up rhymes about how much glue to use or helping her students draw unicorns, she's at home, stitching away on her abstract embroidery pieces. Her work celebrates color, texture, and pattern, and she believes that you should always find ways to turn something that's familiar into a challenge- which is what she seeks to do every time she starts a new piece. Coral reefs will always be her biggest inspiration, and if she could own ten wiener dogs, she would. 

And Shea was kind enough to share one of her favorite voicemails from a loving mother who has her best interest at heart but obviously has no idea how much fun embroidery can be!

"I hope you're out doing something fun on a Friday night and not just home doing embroidery...".  - voicemail message from my mother (who I love dearly)