Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thread Lines 4 -- hand stitching extravaganza

If you love hand stitching you'd be really pleased with this work at Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Imagine a very long wall with a very long meandering outline drawing (probably a phototransfer from an original ink drawing) of assorted fruits and vegetables, maybe two feet tall at its edges.

Every now and then a small wooden embroidery hoop is mounted over the wall drawing, and that part of the picture leaps into color with intricate hand embroidery over a phototransfer.  So you see three levels of detail: first the simple black-and-white sketch on the wall, then the not-very-brightly-colored photo on the cotton in the hoop, and then the brilliant sections embroidered in tiny, precise stitches.

Mónica Bengoa, One Hundred and Sixty Three Shades of Yellow, Green, Orange, Red, Purple, Brown, Grey and Blue (so far)

Apparently Bengoa began this work a dozen years ago, exhibiting it first in Australia, and has been adding to it ever since, hence the "(so far)" in the title.  The stitching is so perfect it's almost mechanical, but you can see and admire the artist's hand.

I'll let you drool over a bunch of detail shots.  Notice how carefully the colors shade in hue and value, one row of stitches at a time.

I'll have one more post about this show, coming later in the week.  It's up at KMAC through August 6.


  1. Thank you for this posting, fascinating and you have captured it so well for your blog readers

  2. thanks for sharing the work you see in exhibitions. It's a lot of work and we appreciate it. xo

  3. Thanks for sharing all the exhibition pictures, some wonderful work.

  4. This is so awesome! I'm glad there were a few good things at this show. The embroidery is fabulous- I love the multiple layers to looking at the piece, I feel like that's something to strive for in my work. Does the artist re-draw the part on the wall every time it's re-exhibited?

    1. we talked about that while we were looking and couldn't figure out how that bottom layer of drawing was put on. The sign said only "wall drawing". Seemed to be too uniform to be done in pencil -- maybe paint through a stencil? or printed onto adhesive film? I don't know.

  5. This is pretty amazing! Brilliant idea.

  6. I like this very much; what wonderful imagination and execution. I like the idea that it's still a work in progress, too. Thank you for sharing snippets from this exhibition.

  7. This is a wonderful installation - I too love the macro to micro aspect. Thank you for posting.

  8. I wonder if they project the image onto the wall and trace that? However they do it, very cool. I love the attention to not only colors, but how the stitches were used, especially on the peach. I'd wager 99% of us would have simply followed the outline of the slice. I know I would have.