French knots, chain stitches, and straight lines become peaceful countrysides and abandoned shacks overrun by moss and vines in Katrin Vates’s embroideries. Using bleached canvas as a base, Vates works with thread in natural color palettes of greens or autumnal hues that she lays in variable lengths and thicknesses: she conveys a glistening ocean through flat, even stitches in blues and white, while tufts of neutral tones become cropped fields and dried bushes. Vates rarely sketches a preliminary design and never attaches a hoop, which allows more freedom to adjust both the image and the ways weather and sunlight impact the scenes.
The Rockville, Maryland-based artist plans to release some of her pieces on Etsy in the coming months, and you can follow that launch, in addition to her forays into three-dimensional embroideries, on Instagram. (via Kottke)
Share this story
Graphic designer Panna Eszenyi shifts her practice to a more tactile medium in a series that deftly merges embroidery and typography. Created as part of the 36 Days of Type challenge, the thread-based alphabet is Eszenyi’s foray into the craft and an exercise in utilizing a wide variety of stitches. The resulting series fluctuates in font, color, and style with both ornate cross-hatched letters, tufted flourishes, and more minimal, geometric interpretations.
Share this story
Preserved Grasses and Twigs Radiate Outward in Delicately Embroidered Sculptures by Artist Kazuhito Takadoi
Artist Kazuhito Takadoi (previously) tames the unruly grasses, leaves, and twigs grown in his garden by weaving the individual strands into exquisite radial sculptures. Stitched into paper or bound to wooden discs made of cedar of Lebanon, oak, elm, or walnut, the abstract forms hover between two and three dimensions and utilize traditional Japanese bookbinding techniques to secure the threads. Each artwork, whether an intricately overlapping mass or pair of circular sculptures, is an act of preservation and a study of inevitable transformation: although the materials won’t decompose entirely, subtle shifts in color and texture occur as they age. “As the light changes or the point of view is moved, so the shadows will create a new perspective,” the artist says.
Born in Nagoya, Japan, Takadoi is currently based in the U.K. His meticulously woven works will be on view from June 22 to 29 at Artefact in Chelsea Harbor, and you can find a larger collection of his pieces on Artsy and jaggedart.
Share this story
Scent, memory, and emotion are inextricably bound together in the human brain, making it possible that a single sniff evokes feelings of delight, comfort, and calm associated with an experience. Pallavi Padukone uses this inherent connection in Reminiscent, a series of 11 fiber-based works infused with naturally derived fragrances, all of which the textile artist and designer equates with her hometown of Bangalore, India.
Part aromatherapy and part nostalgic stimulus, the fiber pieces hang from the ceiling as delicate, sheer curtains that are accessible from all sides. Padukone weaves and embroiders using thread that’s covered in a wax-and-resin substance she developed through trial-and-error. “The testing phase for the coated yarn involved sampling weave structures and embroidery techniques that were best suited for the yarn. I kept a record of swatches as a test of their durability and how long the scent and color last when exposed to heat and light,” she says.
Infused with clove, vetiver, jasmine, citronella, sandalwood, or rose, the cotton yarns also are hand-dyed naturally, pulling out the golden color of turmeric and rusty tones from cutch and beets to pair with a corresponding aroma. “It’s ironic that I happened to choose scent during a time when wearing masks is the new normal,” Padukone tells Colossal. “While the beauty of olfactory art is that it has to be experienced in person, I use textiles, patterning, and color as a way to visually represent my depiction of the fragrance’s personality.” A yellow and green patchwork, for example, emits the grassy, lemon-like aroma of citronella, while sweet, musky sandalwood is paired with thick, abstract coils of yarn on sepia-toned silk.
Although the scents are embedded in many of the works, tiny accessible pockets cover the undyed organza in “Jasmine II,” ensuring Padukone can replace the flower buds. She’s currently exploring other methods that allow replenishment considering most fragrances last between one and three months. The transience of sent, though, is part of its appeal. She explains:
I find beauty in impermanence and how each textile’s color, structure, fragrance changes over time. In this collection, I have incorporated handspun recycled sari silk and cotton for my weaves and embroider on organza silk. I am drawn to the sheerness of the fabric, the way it interacts with light to visually evoke the ephemeral experience of fragrance.
Share this story
Whether a corded rotary phone or humble water pitcher, Sue Trevor’s household objects are all made from the same materials. The artist meticulously stitches ornamental sculptures that resemble common domestic items and vintage electronics. Covered in crisscrossed seams and textured rows, each piece is a product of combining embroidery, appliqué, and quilting techniques, and the resulting jewel-toned works are heavily adorned with flowers and other organic forms, shapes she derives directly from her garden in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
Prior to sewing the objects from hand-dyed Egyptian cottons and silks, Trevor studies the film camera or teacup and saucer she’s replicating and creates a pattern. She then “manipulates my heavily embroidered 2D pieces of fabric into sculptural 3D works of art, testing and trialing until I have the desired shape I want. I love the challenge of trying to dissect the structure of an object and translating it into one of my textile pieces.”
Peruse Trevor’s available sculptures on Etsy and Folksy, and see more of her work, which includes an array of functional and decorative pieces, on Instagram. You also might enjoy Ulla Stina-Wikander’s needlepoint tools and devices.
Share this story
The lengthy exposure times required by 19th Century photography were not conducive to newborns and fidgety toddlers, a problem many mothers tried to remedy by cloaking themselves in fabric and hiding behind furniture. As a result, those Victorian-era portraits, while capturing an endearing stage of life, are often spectral and slightly unnerving, shadowed by phantom limbs and textile silhouettes that closely resemble an inanimate backdrop despite their lively features.
This desire for disguise informs the multi-media works of Philadelphia-area artist Sarah Detweiler, whose ongoing series Hidden Mother is on view at Paradigm Gallery through May 22. Depicted without children, Detweiler’s portraits subvert the original photographs to instead draw attention to the figures otherwise purposely relegated to the background. Fabrics rendered with a combination of oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and embroidered elements further confront traditional notions of femininity and motherhood by literally cloaking the women in materials long associated with domesticity.
Because the artist has a personal relationship with each subject, the textiles, motifs, and colors all evoke specific aspects of their personalities and distinct experiences, resulting in idiosyncratic portraits tethered only by their shared identity. “In maintaining the anonymity,” a statement about the series says, Detweiler “preserves a universal relatability—the woman under the shroud could be you, your mother, your friend.”
If you’re not in Philadelphia, you can take a virtual tour of the sold-out exhibition, and watch this Q&A with Detweiler for a deeper dive into the series, which is available as a limited-edition print set on Paradigm’s site. Head to Instagram to see more of the artist’s process, including some of the original photographs that informed the portraits shown here.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: History
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.