Yesterday I had some free time to have a look around the Wellcome Collection. Most interesting was the one mask/collage which included some sewing over the top of photography. Produced by Heidi Kerrison, her collage related to fears in relation to cloning and genetic modification.
Her work demonstrates that I could use both collage and embroidery to create the effects that I am looking for. I quite like the stitching around the edge of the face, it’s complex and detailed, but I don’t like the sewing around the eyes.
There were other masks which I found interesting, especially the scolds brindle. I could embroider a mask in this style, and add the tongue piece. It would work well to highlight the element of self punishment and restraint that I experienced as a result of my anorexia.
OCA student Kate Aston, very kindly sent me two of her photos, from a previous assignment, in which she embroidered over photography. Both of which are of a climbing wall.
- Long stitches
- Creates a shape which I can anthropomorpise
- Creates an anchor and relay
- Alters perspective
- Reduces appearance of size
- Small stitches
- Single colour
- Provide definition and detail
Although I’m limiting my focus to the stitching, as this is research for my assignment, I do wish to pass comment upon this second photo.
The depth of field is incredible, and this draws me right into the photo. The DoF is so narrow that I imagine that an extension tube was used on a 200mm- 300mm lens to create a macro lens. I’m also going to assume that the shot is made on the ground, shooting high up into a join between wall and ceiling, and that the plans have been shifted by rotating and cropping during the development process. I’m probably wrong. But this photo is so intriguing. It’s also very easing aesthetically.
Having seen this work I have decided to use the embroidery from Kate’s first photo to provide the relay between my face and the subject in Laura Letinsky’s photo. I hadn’t considered creating an installation prior to viewing Kate’s assignment. This is the advantage of connecting with fellow artists and photographers.
To see Kate Aston’s Context and Narrative studies click here, to view her on Instagram it’s kate513940
The stitching will be done in a manner that uses shape and colour to emphasise the emotional expression.
Maurizio Anzeri (1969)
Fig. 1. Bernard (left) and Georgio (right)
Some of the most complex embroidery on photography that I’ve seen, I can’t help but admire the attention to detail and complexity.
- Colour can be used to highlight character, as can shape
- Bernard has some smooth, peaceful joy to counter elements of mania, business and disjointed thought
- Georgio is serious, effeminate, passionate and positive
Fig. 2. Louise B
- Louise is complex
- Likes order
- Sees everything
- An active intelligent mind
- Outwardly feminine but internally rigid
Fig. 3. Nadia
I find this to be a deeply emotional and sad photo. There is pain etched upon her face through the burgundy’s that permeate the gentleness and light of the pinks and whites. Those downward looking eyes with the black embroidery which follows her gaze, suggests a deep sense of sadness and loss.
Fig. 4. Peter
Perhaps a person with no sense of identity who lives in a complex state of psychotic delusion. He has a brain which is set to combust and explode, with an overload of neural connections. But also an introvert and unable to express his ideas.
Embroidering on top of a portrait can add a depth of characterisation. This can be done by using colour and shape, and with the right level of technical expertise, an artist can bring out different aspects of an individuals personality.
Anzeri’s art is phenomenal and he is a technical expert. I’m going to have to rewatch the following you tube tutorial to gain some tips.
Figure 1 Anzeri, M; Bernard and Georgio [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 2 Anzeri, M; Louise B [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 3 Anzeri, M; Nadia [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 4 Anzeri, M; Peter [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
OK, so this is not the greatest idea of a sampler, but it’s been good practice to try out different stitch samples for my fifth assignment. The majority of the artists who stitch over photography tend to use a long stitch, rather than different styles of stitching. And hey, their work is fantastic, so maybe the idea is to keep it simple. However, I like chain stitch and diagonal tent stitch – and I can see how they can be used, and perhaps cross stitch would be good over eyes.
- Blue – herringbone stitch
- Yellow – running stitch
- Orange – Cross stitch
- Pink – Back stitch
- Red – Tent stitch
- Green – Diagonal tent stitch
- Brown – Chain stitch
I recieved the most wonderful and exciting news yesterday. Laura Letinsky responded to my email, giving me permission to use 6 of her photos as the basis of my fifth assignment.
This assignment is exploratory in many ways, and I will use it to develop my embroidery skills, embroidering on top of photography.
Letinsky, in her own words, “cannabalises” her own and others photography. In anorexia the body moves into the metabolic state of catabolism, in which the body eats its own proteins (muscles) in order to survive. One idea is to make use of photographs of my body parts from when I was really ill, justapose them with photos from Letinsky’s I’ll Form and Void Full, and use embroidery to distort the shape of my limbs, picking out cours of the foods from Letinsky’s art.
The other option is to photography my face, capturing different emotional states, embroider over them in the style of Maurizio Anzeri, and justapose these with relevant parts of Letinsky’s art.
I’m not sure how I am going to develop these ideas into a concrete plan as yet, so time for some meditation.
Coming to the end of Foundations In Photography with the Open College of the Arts, I find myself in a position in which I want to prepare myself to study for a BA in Photography. Assignment 4 can definitely be the basis for a further body of work, probably by using masks or embroidering on top of photographs to represent aspects of self, especially those hidden repressed aspects. Sewing over the top of my own face was successful, if painful for me to view.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Staged photography and still life, and found a means of being authentic with these genres.
I’m very keen to explore these themes further, and I believe that sewing on a photograph provides an additional means to enhance or hide emotion and mood. It also means that I can distort my images and create harmonious fine art photography or to create visual and emotional discord and discomfort.
I’m going to use assignment 5 as a stepping stone to develop a secondary skill, and so that I can use photos as the basis of mixed media art.
Jamie embroiders over the top of appropriated images and cigarette cards. He is a visual artist and is inspired by nature and rainbows (Rawlings; 2018)
Rawlings uses bright colour and a variety of patterns. He doesn’t make use of the variety of stitches that Puentes does, but his patterns can be very intricate.
Fig. 1. Sable Antelope (2018)
Cigarette cards are small, which adds to the admiration that I have for his creative expression. I struggle sewing onto a large photo, and found that the stitches often tore the paper. I could be wrong, but I believe that Rawlings makes use of a hole punch. If I decide to emulate Laura Letinsky, it would make sense to combine this emulation with that of Rawlings. The simple lines would be effective.
I recommend viewing Rawlings’ Wold Animal cigarette cards. I feel that the embroidery is complimentary, despite the bright coloured threads. You can view his art on Instagram here.
Rawlings, J; 2018; Sable Antelope [Cigarette Card and thread]; AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/shop-1?olsPage=products%2Fsable-antelope (accessed on 21/12/2018)
Rawlings, J; 2018; About Me; Online: AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/about-me (accessed on 21/12/2018)