Once upon a time... by Jaelah

map, gouache, used floss, tissue paper, marker, ink, light box

This piece is mounted on and illuminated by a light box that extends 3 inches from the wall. I’ve sewn stitches through the paper with used floss and the light not only gives the entire piece a luminous effect, but turns this pattern of sewn holes into a starry galaxy. It reminds me of a fairy tale, an adventure played out in the mind of a child before dreaming.

When I was two, before I had really learned to swim, I loved jupming off of the diving board. There was no hesitation, no fear, only excitement. Of course my mom was there to catch me, but I dove in with abandon! Curiosity, imagination, adventure, and play, are all the elements of my childhood that I savor and strive to hold on to as a mature adult. Stubbornness, timidity, worry, and impatience are the characteristics of my childhood that I would like to grow out of. This body of work is a collective expression of the transition from ignorance to knowledge, and from inexperience to understandingn that I went through at the end of my college career. I had to choose how to live the rest of my life and I decided not to sit at the edge of the pool and dip my toes, but to take a running start and dive straight in!

Contact me for purchase of the original.

​Originally from Wisconsin, Jaelah Kuehmichel has been working and creating in Austin, Texas since her return from Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso, West Africa in 2010. Her mixed media artwork celebrates play, whimsy, adventure, and beauty. Her work explores themes of identity, independence, sexuality, consumption, and risk. Working in the realm of design allows her to utilize her personal aesthetic and fine attention to detail to fulfill the functional and practical needs of her clients.

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  • catherine walker
    catherine walkerover 4 years ago

    This is beautiful..so much work and it’s wonderful to look at ..well done
    what a great map..a treasure map..!

  • Thanks Cat! Maybe one of these days I’ll get a good picture of it lit up, it really takes on a whole different life. =)

    – Jaelah

  • Shylie Edwards
    Shylie Edwardsover 4 years ago

    yes exciting work!!…love the stitches works so well with the map lines!!

  • pocketdelight
    pocketdelightover 4 years ago

    ‘used’ floss ewww

  • haha, you laugh but the point was to get myself flossing daily and it worked- often twice a day! Well, at least until the piece was completed… :)

    – Jaelah

  • doreen connors
    doreen connorsover 4 years ago

    love it totally…and with the light box! Super!!

  • Tiznar
    Tiznarover 4 years ago

    Oh, yes! It is fascinating here and the colors are lovely, but it must really rock with the light box. Good work!
    uh, keep flossing.

  • yes well, it seems i’ve been lagging on the daily flossing exercise… guess I’ll have to do a sister piece to get myself back in the habit! Thanks for the encouragement :)

    – Jaelah

  • Marlies Odehnal
    Marlies Odehnalover 4 years ago

    great, bright and poetic work

  • Richard Maier
    Richard Maierabout 3 years ago

    What a wonderfully mysterious map! Future generations will puzzle over it.

  • Elizabeth Bravo
    Elizabeth Bravoover 2 years ago

    Very cool…..love it!!

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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