Steffie Dean, aka A Subtle Notion, is an embroidery artist from Longmont, Colorado.
“A Subtle Notion is just that, the small hint of an idea that grows and (hopefully) becomes something beautiful. As a girl my mom taught me to sew, and since college creating clothing has been my main hobby. Drafting patterns and creating outfits can be very time consuming so I started exploring slightly faster needle and thread crafts. In 2015 I started playing around with crochet and later cross-stitch, I finally settled on embroidery early 2017. I love the freedom of starting with a clean piece of fabric and turning ideas into tangible creations. My very first piece was a tiger moth, since I’ve always loved the colors and shapes of their wings. Eventually my work transitioned to the female form.
“Most of my pieces are based off of photos I find on Instagram, with a few self portraits thrown in for good measure. I love portraying women who look like they feel empowered and strong. Recently I found a quote from Lena Horne that really captures the struggle I try to work through with my pieces – “The naked female body is treated so weirdly in society. It’s like people are constantly begging to see it, but once they do, someone’s a hoe.”
“This idea that nudity is intrinsically sexual and intended for a viewer has never resonated with me. I believe women should be comfortable and empowered in their own bodies. Nudity should not only be about pleasing a viewer or enticing a lover, it should be about feeling good in your own skin and accepting flaws as part of your unique self. I am drawn to images that show ladies “feeling themselves”. The dichotomy of sexuality and modesty is something I like to play with as well. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive and I aim to find the balance between appearing modest but still feeling sexy.”
Steffie’s work captures those moments of intimacy in a manner not dissimilar to Meghan Willis, but it’s clear she’s finding her own way. Each new piece on her Instagram takes a step into a personal space; a vignette of privacy, created with an elegant simplicity that borders on voyeurism.
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