The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Melissa Zexter

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Melissa Zexter is a mixed-media artist from Brooklyn, New York. She combines embroidery and portrait photography to create stunning works.

Here’s what Melissa’s website says: “Melissa Zexter combines hand-stitched embroidery with both color and black and white photography. She uses an older art form, embroidery, refracted through a modern one, photography, to create structured objects that are embodiments of both fragmentation and focused concentration.

“The sewn patterns and intricate puzzles are colored textured drawings, which serve as webs and grids over the photographs, providing another dimension to the images. The sewing creates a filtered experience; much the way emotions and personal history alter everyday perception.

I asked Melissa to share her creative process:

With more detailed sewing, such as the “Schoolgirls” picture and with some of my map influenced images like “Brooklyn Bus Map” and “Rhode Island” I draw out the pattern first and sew into it. But with many others, like the ‘Embroidered Portraits I develop the pattern as I go along. With all of my “Edits” pictures [like Heath Ledger Found Naked, above] I have drawn out the text and pattern before hand and then sewn into it. And in case you didn’t know – I take ALL of the pictures. Most from these series are 20″ x 24″.

I really like Melissa’s work – her stitches add an ethereal quality to the pictures and remind me of vintage pictures of ghosts and spirits. The embroidery literally adds a new dimension to the work.

It’s always interesting to see different approaches to the same concept; whereas Michelle Hayworth‘s embroideries blend into the background of her pictures and Wayne Lo‘s work reinvents the characters in the pictures, Melissa’s stitching weaves magic into the images, changing the mood and feel of the pieces. I really enjoy these artworks.

You can find out more about Melissa on her website and connect with her via her blog.


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.