28 September 2011

Embroidered Portraits

My mom used to work at a small embroidery shop in a large shopping center which included a miniature golf course and boasted the Canadian mainstays of yesteryear retailing. The Bay. Zellers. Sears. It seems laughable now to think of her little shop with a single stitching machine and non-fiction sweaters in monochromatic colour swatches rubbing elbows with the mega retailers and exorbitant rent that now fills those square feet. Forever-21 is spending millions in renovations just a retail block from that same spot. Right down the west promenade.

The work of American artist Cayce Zavaglia is on another plateau than the simple stitched letters and landscapes scenes with loons in the foreground that I remember as the specialty of my mother's shop. These are works of art. Zavaglia considers herself a painter yet has trouble considering her masterpieces paintings. They don't involve a drop of paint. They are a complex set of stitches using a strand of crewel embroidery wool that create a particular tone or colour. The further she delves into her technique the tighter and more precise her stitches become. A far cry from the personalized stitch crew necks that filled my bureau drawers as a child.

via designboom


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