The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Melanie Testa


Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Melanie Testa is a quilt and textile artist from Brooklyn.

Melanie Testa Quilt - Wandering

From a distance, these pieces remind me of the gorgeous art work of David Mack – they are amazing. The layers of imagery and the colour composition are really beautiful. The quilting is used to add depth and texture and has really opened my eyes to what is possible. This first piece is entitled “Wandering in the Garden” and is a pleasure to behold.

Melanie Testa Quilt - Wandering

Melanie explains her technique: “These are whole cloth quilts, painted in two layers on cotton broadcloth and silk organza. The sheer nature of the organza allows me to use it as the top layer and to collage between the two. In wandering, you will find silk flower petals lovingly gathered in local cemeteries. Everything and nothing is sacred.

When I think of my work and what interests me about it, I would have to say layering and depth are my goals. I like to equate working and creating art with my love of fat books. The fatter the book, the more I am apt to read it. To turn that in to making art, I would have to say, the more techniques and time it takes to make a piece, the happier I am. I like making art more than I like having it, so it makes sense.

Melanie Testa Quilts - Gentle

The piece below is called Gentle and is Melanie’s personal favourite. She explains:

Making Gentle was a lot of fun for me. He is the first and only male nude to date. When finding inspiration for this piece I surfed the web looking for simple, beautiful images of the male form. This is no easy feat! Men are often portrayed in the nude as extremely masculine, and seem to hide behind a mask of muscle by posing in the most ludicrous positions. While I can see the beauty in these poses, I wanted a simple image, a beautiful image, introspection and simplicity. I found it!

Melanie Testa Quilts - Gentle

I have to agree – there is a quiet peace to this particular work, which is refreshing in a piece with such obvious masculine references. I find Melanie’s work really absorbing and would love to spend time staring at the real articles – there are so many little pieces of interest and hidden gems to discover.

Not just content with creating these stunning works, Melanie also runs workshops on a range of textile subjects, and has also published a book called “Inspired to Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery“. It’s clear that she loves the subject and is extremely good at what she does. As I mentioned before, I don’t know much about quilting, but I know what I like. And I like Melanie Testa.

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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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