The list of talents attached to Vancouver-based artist Hine Mizushima's name includes stop-motion puppet animator, illustrator, needle felter, toy designer, and sculptor. Her colorful hand-stitched squids, octopi, mushrooms, and medical specimens that might otherwise be described as creepy or crawly are instead infused with ample doses of fluffy and fuzzy. Mizushima exhibited most recently at FOE Gallery and many of her original felt pieces are available over on Etsy.
When scouring through the minute details of artist Cayce Zavaglia’s embroidered portraits (previously), it’s difficult imagine each work is scarcely larger than 8″ x 10″. Her process, which she refers to as both “thread painting” and “renegade embroidery,” begins with a photoshoot of each subject, namely friends, family, and fellow artists. Roughly 100-150 photos are winnowed down to a single selection which she then begins to embroider with one-ply embroidery thread on Belgian linen. She shares via her artist statement:
Over the years, I have developed a sewing technique that allows me to blend colors and establish tonalities that resemble the techniques used in classical oil painting. The direction in which the threads are sewn mimic the way brush marks are layered within a painting which, in turn, allows for the allusion of depth, volume, and form. My stitching methodology borders on the obsessive, but ultimately allows me to visually evoke painterly renditions of flesh, hair, and cloth.
Zavaglia is also interested with the backs of her portraits, a tangled mesh of thread and knots resembling a more abstract version of the exacting portrait on the reverse. In a return to her roots as a painter, she creates gouache and large format acrylic paintings of the backsides, effectively creating a painting of an emboirdery of a photograph. Included here are several works from the last two years including works that will be on view at Art Miami this December through Lyons Wier Gallery. (via Booooooom)
Freiburg, Kantons- und Universitätsbibliothek, MS L 34, 14th century
Another day, another collection of fascinating discoveries from medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel who previously introduced the internet to his observations on the history of doodles, color theory, and rare forms of bookbinding. Kwakkel has also been investigating how bookmakers found creative solutions around damaged parchment—thin membranes of cow and sheepskin used for printing books between the fifth and thirteenth centuries before the rise of paper. Parchment was extremely delicate and costly to manufacture well, so imperfections from animal hair follicles to small tears and texture anomalies were left for the poor scribes to contend with.
After witnessing their doodling artistry, it should come as no surprise that medieval scribes had a host of ideas to work around bad parchment, from webs of silk embroidery to cheeky illustrations, the blemishes were incorporated right into the physical texts. Although a different medium, the process is uncannily similar to the ancient Japanese process of repairing broken ceramics, Kintsugi, where fractures in pots or bowls are mended with precious metal, acknowledging the history of the imperfect object instead of discarding it.
Australian artist Meredith Woolnough creates elaborate embroideries that mimic delicate forms of nature like leaves and coral. “I have been collecting skeletonized leaves for as long as I can remember,” says the artist, whose “traceries” capture the beauty and fragility of nature. Woolnough uses a special embroidery technique that involves a domestic sewing machine and a base cloth that dissolves in water after the piece is complete leaving just the skeleton. In a way, her process also mimics the natural process of leaves dying and drying up which, in turn, become the subject of her work.
Athens-based Fabulous Cat Papers offers a wide range of hand-made notebooks with embroidered Japanese paper covers featuring anatomical, floral, and geometric designs, all stitched by hand. What you see here is just a peek, see much more here. (via Demilked, Lustik)
Embroidery artist and jeweler Sam P. Gibson creates a wide variety of hand-stitched illustrations from brains and skulls to lips and typography. Her most detailed works are these awesome stitched eyes, many more of which you can see over in this Flickr collection and in her online shop. (via Ghoul Next Door)
Starting with vintage photography and illustrations of models sporting fashions from the 1950s, Amsterdam-based artist Hinke Schreuders applies a rich layer of hand-stitched embroidery, beading, lace, and flourishes of ink to entirely new images that can be both unsettling and exuberant. The pieces seen here are part of an ongoing series called Works on Paper, started in 2008. With her work Schreuders says she seeks to “subtly confuse notions of feminine vulnerability and reinforce the position of embroidery as an artistic medium,” something I think we can all agree she has done masterfully.
Schreuders most recently exhibited as part of a group show at Robert Mann gallery titled the The Embroiderederd Image which brought together almost a dozen artists currently working at the interesection of photography and embroidery or textiles. She’ll have more work on view in Amsterdam next month at both We Like Art and Amsterdam Drawing 2014. You can follow more of her work on Facebook.