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Art

MIMOSA: An Optimistic Collection of Temporary Installations Take Over Philadelphia’s Navy Yard

September 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Justin Favela’s “Libertad (Freedom).” All images courtesy of Group X, shared with permission

An eclectic array of installations recently popped up at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, transforming the historic neighborhood into a temporary wonderland teeming with quirky characters, large-scale interventions, and optimism. A life-size piñata shaped like a 1984 Thunderbird is parked on 12th Street, cross-stitched roses trail across the brick facade of Building 99, and a typographic message casts shadows on a pavilion in a call for hope.

Officially titled Mystery Island and the Marvelous Occurrence of Spontaneous Art, or MIMOSA, the entirely outdoor exhibition includes work from seven artists DAKU (previously), Justin Favela (previously), Kid Hazo with South Fellini, Reed Bmore, Liesbet Bussche, and Raquel Rodrigo (previously). It’s a collaboration between the anonymous collective Group X and the Navy Yard, which was overrun in 2018 by a gargantuan sea monster. MIMOSA‘s six site-specific installations are spread across 1,200 acres.

 

DAKU’s “Ray of Hope”

Activated by sunlight, DAKU’s installation “Rays of Hope” casts shadows in 25 different languages on a brick terrace in Crescent Park. Throughout the day as the light shifts, so do the silhouettes on the ground. “The sun has always been associated as a symbol of energy and so is hope,” DAKU says. Rays of light metaphorically serve as “a symbol of positivity and optimism.”

By translating the word “hope” into dozens of languages, the anonymous Indian street artist puts forth a welcoming vision. “When we see a native language, we have a sense of belonging and familiarity with the space. Especially in a foreign land or a place, it makes it more relatable,” DAKU writes. “Languages have been a part of every culture and (have their) own visual aesthetic… Culture is common ground for any language or a form of visual art, and if one comes to think of it, language plays an essential role. It binds the culture in forming into a community.”

 

Justin Favela’s “Libertad (Freedom)”

A nod to his mother’s first purchase after immigrating from Guatemala to the United States in the 1980s, Favela’s paper-fringed car expands on the myth of “The American Dream.” “The promise that if you keep your head down, work really hard and save your money… you, too, can own a home with a two-car garage, get married, have kids, build an empire, and live an abundant and dignified life,” he says. Through his large-scale piñatas, Favela conveys stories like his mother’s, particularly in relation to her longing to return to Central America. “What about the immigrants that come here and realize that they moved to a country that does not want them here? Their stories are also important,” he says.

Questions about identity, including his own as a first-generation, queer, Latinx American, and the experiences of people who have immigrated to the U.S. face inform Favela’s artworks. He subverts common narratives by offering a revised way of thinking centered on joy:

What are we when we are not viewed as just a labor force? What if we stopped taking pride in suffering and the sacrifices that we had to make? What if we valued joy? Mental health? What if we could take a couple of days of…just because!? What would happen if could just be ourselves? When will we all be free?

See the latest from GroupX and follow the installations popping up next in The Navy Yard on Instagram. If you’re in Philadelphia, check out MIMOSA before it closes November 2.

 

DAKU’s “Ray of Hope”

Raquel Rodrigo’s “Florecer (Flourish)”

Reed Bmore’s “Bittersweetvine”

Liesbet Bussche’s “Rusty Love / Urban Jewelry”

Kid Hazo + South Fellini’s “Where the Wild Jawns Are”

 

 



Art

Industrial Metal Objects Cross-Stitched With Fragile Flowers and Butterfly Designs

June 16, 2019

Andrew LaSane

“Water Lillies”. Photos by Rytis Seskaitis, Aldas Kazlauskas

Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė (previously) continues her practice of employing the traditionally delicate process of cross-stitching to adorn hard metal objects with similarly delicate imagery. Her recent works include a rusty tanker decorated with water lilies and a series of found cans embellished with studies of colorful butterflies and insects. While playing on the irony of the juxtaposition, Severija is also able to tell a story about the objects and their respective histories.

Installed in the public space of Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, “Water Lilies” references motifs by Claude Monet and speaks to the history of the region, the power of water to sustain and destroy, and the changing utilitarian use of objects. Previously used to transport water from natural springs to reservoirs, gardens, baths, and streets, tankers are now more commonly used to transport waste; clean water has become the more rare and expensive substance. Severija’s “Tourist’s Delight” series uses flattened cans found discarded in the Caucasus Mountains as a commentary on the butterfly effect of disturbing natural environments. Though partially decayed, the objects will still outlast the creatures whose images have been stitched into them.

To see more Severija’s socially engaged embroidery, visit the artist’s website.

“Tourist’s Delight”. Photos by Modestas Ežerskis

 

 



Art Craft

Forgotten Household Objects Cloaked in Needlepoint by Ulla Stina-Wikander

April 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Sweden-based artist Ulla Stina-Wikander (previously) continues her signature needlepoint interventions on domestic objects. Items traditionally associated with women’s housekeeping, like electric mixers and sewing machines along with hammers, wrenches, and axes, are cloaked in tightly fitting decorative designs. Stina-Wikander sources the needlepoint samples from flea markets and vintage stores, and is attracted to their connection with the now-anonymous people who made them. “These embroideries have been made by women and are often seen as kitsch and regarded as pretty worthless,” she states on her website. In using them in her interventions, the artist gives the abandoned textile works a new life. Explore more of Stina-Wikander’s work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Domestic Objects Wrapped in Needlepoint Scenes by Ulla Stina Wikander

January 8, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Underneath each of artist Ulla Stina Wikander‘s needlepoint objects is a real, once-functioning appliance, accessory, or tool. Wikander (previously) tends to select objects with traditional associations to domestic life, like sewing machines, ironing boards, and hair dryers. The artist, who is based in Sweden, combines the retired objects with historical cross-stitch patterns, which she also collects. Each piece is finished with colorful rick-rack detailing to help define the edges and describe the original shape. Wikander recently updated her website with many new works, and you can also follow her on Instagram. (via Cross Connect)

 

 



Art Craft

Household Objects and Appliances Cross-Stitched by Ulla Stina Wikander

December 19, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Swedish designer Ulla Stina Wikander uses household appliances and cooking tools as the base to her cross-stitched sculptures, bestowing outdated objects with a new life. Most of the items come from the 70s, yet the patterns she covers their bodies in are much older. The cross-stitch designs come from the 59-year-old artist’s vast collection, allowing Wikander to give a new context to each blowdryer, rolling pin, and typewriter she covers. You can see more of her sculptures, as well as a variety of designed accessories, on her website and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

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Art Craft

Floral Cross-Stitch Street Installations by Raquel Rodrigo

September 19, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Set designer and artist Raquel Rodrigo brings the macro details of cross-stitch embroidery to building facades around Madrid. Her colorful installations are prepared beforehand with enlarged cross-stitch techniques utilizing thick string wrapped on wire mesh before each is unrolled and affixed to a surface. The decorative pieces create a fun, pixelated texture that looks completely different close up versus at a distance. You can see much more here. (via Lustik)

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