Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

sweet tooth saturday

Embroidered Portraits by Cayce Zavaglia:  found this over at COVER.

I saw these and just marveled. The are the work of an American born painter, Cayce Zavaglia.  These are hand sewn, using crewel wool and acrylic paint on linen.  I would file them under photo-realism, wouldn't you? These textural images came about while she was pregnant with her daughter in an effort to avoid harmful substance that are associated with oil paint, substances such as turpentine and varnish.
Zavaglia dds: “I kept thinking back to a crewel embroidery piece that I had made as a child and wondered if it would be possible to sew a portrait…or perhaps use the material in a more modern way.”  

Cayce's website ishttp://www.caycezavaglia.com/

Further news of her work can be found:

An in-depth interview of Cayce's work was recently featured by New York artist Joetta Maue on the UK blog Mr. X Stitch.

Cayce's portraits will be featured in "PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art". (links to Amazon, $13.99) The book, curated by Jamie Chalmers, will profile the work of 30 artists from around the world who push the realms of traditional craft mediums in their work.

I am also copying her artist's statement because I think it is always wise and informing to understand, via the artist's word, more about their thoughts:

I still consider myself a painter and find it difficult not to refer to these embroidered portraits as “paintings”. Although the medium employed is crewel embroidery wool, the technique borrows more from the worlds of drawing and painting.
Initially, working with an established range of wool colors proved frustrating. Unlike painting, I was unable to mix the colors by hand. Progressively, I created a system of sewing the threads in a sequence that would ultimately give the allusion of a certain color or tone. The direction in which the threads were sewn had to mimic the way lines are layered in a drawing to give the allusion of depth, volume, and form. Over time the stitches have become tighter and more complex but ultimately more evocative of flesh, hair, and cloth.
My work unabashedly nods its head to the tradition of tapestry and my own love of craft. Using wool instead of oils has allowed me to broaden the dialogue between portrait and process as well as propose a new definition for the word “painting”.

I now  am going to supply you with some of those sweets for Saturday.  (most of the images range about 15x38 inches, on average) 


  1. wow... (i can't think of anything more articulate!!)

    i sure wish amazon had the 'look inside' feature on the 'push...' books


    hey! i'm smiling to see harriet in the sidebar!!


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