Cutting & Stitching Edge

The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stewart Easton on a couple of projects, and he’s a great guy. A fantastic illustrator – check out this mural he’s done in the bar at Cecil Sharp House as part of the Yan Tan Tethera project.

Stewart Easton Mural at Cecil Sharp House

Cecil Sharp House is home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, who are working with David Littler on Yan Tan Tethera, a project that I’ve been helping out with in some stitching lyrics of songs relating to textiles on chairs at locations in London. You can add your #textilefolk stitch to three chairs at these London locations:

Find out more about Yan Tan Tethera at the textilefolksong website.

When I first met Stewart, it was part of an event called Interviews with Boys Who Sew, at MAC, in Birmingham. The event was inspired by Stewart’s exhibition Four Tragic Tales and featured Stewart. David Littler and Twiggy and I. You can see my interview here, but I digress.

Stewart Easton - Four Tragic Tales

I subsequently interviewed Stewart for eMbroidery and now it’s my pleasure to share a great video about one of his pieces Burden of Bones, produced by R&A Collaborations. It’s a great video where Stewart exlains the story and you can really enjoy his work.

Beauty in a Sad Song from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.

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The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X StitchDiane Meyer is a mixed-media artist from California.

Diane Meyer - Mauer Park - cross stitch on photograph

 

“I am interested in the failures of photography in preserving experience and personal history as well as the means by which photographs transform history into nostalgic objects that obscure understandings of the past.

Diane Meyer - New Jersey II - cross stitch on photograph

“In the Berlin series, sections of the photographs have been obscured by cross-stitch embroidery sewn directly into the photograph. The embroidery deteriorates the original photograph and forms a pixelated version of the underlying image. Since large areas of the photographs concealed by the embroidery, small, seemingly trivial details emerge, while the larger picture and context become erased.

Diane Meyer - Former Guard Tower Off Puschkin Allee - cross stitch on photograph

“The images were taken in the city center as well as in the suburbs where I followed the former path of the Berlin wall through the outskirts of the city. I was particularly interested in photographing locations where no visible traces of the actual wall remain, but which there are subtle clues of its previous existence. These clues include incongruities in the architecture that occurred as new structures were built on newly opened land parcels, changes in street lights or newer vegetation. In addition to the physical aspects that point to the former division of the city, I am interested in the psychological weight of these sites. At times, the embroidered parts of the image run along the horizon line forming an unnatural separation which blocks the viewer from the vantage point of the image. This aspect of the sewing emphasizes the unnatural boundaries created by the wall itself. The sewing, which is soft and domestic provides a literal contrast to the concrete of the wall and a metaphorical contrast to its symbolism.

Diane Meyer - New Jersey I - cross stitch on photograph

“In the series based on family photographs, Time Spent that Might be Otherwise Forgotten, I am interested in the disjunct between lived experience and photographic representation. As the embroidery takes the form of digital pixilation, I am trying to make a connection between forgetting and digital file corruption. The tactile, hand-embroidered overlay not only relates to the digital aesthetic, but also hints at the growing trend of photos remaining primarily digital stored on cell phones and hard drives, but rarely printed out into a tangible object. The images are based on photographs taken at various points in my life and arranged by location.”

Diane Meyer - Erma Berger Strasse - cross stitch on photograph

Sitting somewhere between Wayne Lo’s Obscuration Series, Jessica Wohl’s embroidered photos and Shaun Kardinal’s embroidered landscapes, Diane’s work really pushes my buttons. Her modification of pictures through cross stitch forces you to pay attention to the detail of the scenes, while opening up new opportunities for narrative as well.

Diane Meyer - Bernauer Strasse - cross stitch on photograph

It’s a really simple idea, however Diane’s application of cross stitch is thoughtful and intriguing. It redefines the image, transforming characters and locations with intelligence and style. It brings out the beauty in locations that are somewhat bleak, and puts an air of mystery into otherwise wholesome family pictures.

Diane Meyer - New Jersey III - cross stitch on photograph

You can enjoy Diane’s work as part of The Embroidered Image exhibition, currently showing at the Robert Mann gallery. Visit Diane’s website to enjoy more of her work.

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The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

Lisa Kokin is a mixed media artist from California. She makes a wide range of amazing textile artforms, but we are going to focus on her button works.

Lisa Kokin - Leotard

“My father’s death in 2001 sparked a period of introspection and existential rumination. A primal tie was broken and I was left to ponder my identity as the only child of one remaining elderly parent. Whereas in the past my work often dealt with larger socio-political themes, at this time in my artistic life my work took a distinct turn towards the personal.

Lisa Kokin - Leotard (detail)

“Buttons had made cameo appearances in much of my previous work; never had they been the primary material until this series. My parents were upholsterers and my earliest memories are of playing in their shop with piles of vinyl and foam rubber. I have sewn since I was a child and the stitch plays a major role in my work, so it was natural to join the buttons together to form a reconstructed family portrait. What began as a memorial to my father soon expanded to the realm of family portraits, past and present, human and canine. The series culminated with a three-part public commission of button portraits of Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez and Fred Korematsu.

Lisa Kokin - Si-Se-Puede

“My work has always had an obsessive quality and this body of work is no exception. Every button is stitched to its neighbor to form a low-tech pixilated composition. Up close each piece is an abstract mélange of colors and shapes; the further back one stands the more decipherable the image becomes. This interplay between abstraction and representation is a source of interest to me. It is as though I am painting with buttons, building my palette as I go along. adding and subtracting until the interplay of colors and forms coalesces into a coherent image.”

 

Lisa Kokin - Proximity

 

This is another of those “whoa” moments, like when I first saw Cayce Zavaglia or Alicia Ross and I had a paradigm shift. I’ve not seen a heap of button work, but I’ve never seen anyone working in the same way as Lisa Kokin.

Lisa Kokin - Muse

The method is simple and yet Lisa has set a high standard for this method of making art from buttons. I’m pretty speechless, but I love it.

Lisa Kokin - Moment

I won’t even talk about Lisa’s costumes for chihuahuas, or her How The West Was Sewn series.

Lisa Kokin - Moment (detail)

I may have to come back to Lisa in another post once I’ve recovered! Go get yourself a cuppa and sit down for a good rummage through Lisa’s website. You will not regret it.

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The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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Mr X