By Roxy Lawrence
Cayce Zavaglia is an American born textile artist who began her career as a portrait painter. When pregnant with her daughter she was no longer able to be around the paint fumes and recalled to a piece of embroidery she had made as a child. She wondered if there was a possibility to sew a portrait.
Now, Zavaglia starts an embroidered portrait just like she would a painting working on one section at a time. Her decisions regarding color and direction of thread are similar to those in painting.
Over time, the stitches have become more dense. Her goal is to return to the looseness of her paintings and find a way to translate the fluidity of a brush stroke in wool. The intricate layered strokes cross each other in many directions to mimic paint strokes. This layering of colours is so close and tight that from afar it’s hard to believe it is made up of sewing threads. The fact that she is self-taught only makes it more incredible.
Chloe Giordano is an Oxford based, self taught embroiderer. She became interested in embroidery in the final year of her illustration degree, when she began looking at the work of textile artists. Through trial and error Giordano developed a unique personal style. Her main inspiration is nature and most of the animals she has embroidered are ones she has actually seen when out in the countryside near her home. She started by making soft sculptures before trying embroidery later.
The technique she uses most are a basic straight stitch, packing them together, and working from several sketches and reference to gain a likeness of what she’s embroidering.
Irish born, Inge Jacobson now lives in West Sussex and studied Photography at Kingston University in London. Her grandmother introduced her to embroidery but it wasn’t until her first year at University that she began to incorporate cross stitch into her work. University taught her that ideas were just as valuable as skill, and thread was the best way for her to explore her ideas. When Jacobson first began embroidering she mainly cross-stitched magazine covers.
However over the past two years she has collaborated more with photographers, artists and brands to create dynamic works. In the future Inge can still see herself continuing to ‘hijack’ found imagery and collaborating with others. She continues to use be known for cross-stitch but has moved on to use a back-stitching allowed her create a paint-like effect.
Emily Jo Gibbs started making fashion accessories in textiles and metal in the final term of her Wood Metal and Plastics degree at Wolverhampton University. She has been making things since she was a child and has always sewed with her mother.
Emily’s work is inspired by her family and community. Her latest project ‘Kids Today’ is a series of small portraits of children who play on her street, in South East London. Over her 20 year career Gibb’s work has moved from sculptural handbags, to flat portraits. Gibb’s enjoys the flat work she’s doing at the moment creating collages with layers and pieces of silk organza.
Donna Sharrett became interested in textiles at a young age. Her grandmother was passionate about needlework and one of her earliest memories is sitting on her lap as she taught her how to stitch. Sharrett is inspired by nature and the objects created based on geometries found in the natural world. After the death of her mother, she became very interested in public expressions of mourning. Her ongoing and evolving work conceptually reference keepsakes or memory triggers. She hopes to further explore this to include reference to a sense of place and time.