LOVE & THREADS
These two amazing textile artists use a needle and a thread to tell their own unique story.
Using vintage postcards and photography images, they transform these pictures into colorful pieces of art.
LB: Your art is unique and fun. How do you decide which part of the person or image do you decorate? Are you telling a story or are you driven purely by the visual esthetic of the work?
VV: In my artworks I like to choose people that represent something I believe in or want to speak about. Most of the time there’s a specific meaning or purpose behind the pieces I create.
LB: Did you start from traditional needle painting or was the photograph its primary element?
VV: My style emerged from experimentation, I wasn’t interested in embroidery at first. When I started creating these portraits it was a hobby, I was working in fashion at the time. I started making collages, I experimented with different materials, finally, I came to my technique of stitching over the photos. This heavy style comes from my Mexican back- ground, I guess. However, what I do now is a result of curiosity and experimenting with new ideas and materials.
LB: It is unique that you aim to create a new atmosphere through the embroidery, rather than cover your object and change its meaning. How do you come up with stories for your art projects?
VV: The stories come from things that interest me: a book I read, a documentary I watch, a pattern that I see on a street, a color combination I find on someone’s clothing. I think the stories are expressions of everything that surrounds me.
LB: You art is vary in texture and shapes. How do you choose which style of embroi- dery you will use on each image? Did you experiment with the different threads before choosing the best one for you? You must be very good with colours to select the right combinations. Are you constantly looking for new colours or work with your all time favourites colours?
FC: I don’t do much experimentation I have to say: I have a background in both textile design and literature, and that helps me to get a sense of what I’m going to do straight away. Ditto for the colours, type of threads, patterns and overall decision process.
There is a sort of cultural and artistic dia- logue going on with these images from the past, bringing them back to the present, lift- ing a layer of dust and letting the colour and aesthetics through. It comes to me quite im- mediately, without much to and fro; I believe it’s something that most artists experience.
LB: Is there any cultural and perhaps anthropological message in your art? You add details to people’s photographs that change them forever in your art.
FC: As mentioned, my first background is in literature and women’s history, and that provides me with a sense of narrative.
I like to imagine a story, a life behind those old images and portraits. Something that may or may not have happened, a situation in which the characters in the image (people, animals, places, objects) went through, a circumstance that evolved in an unexpected way, and so on. It’s a journey.
LB: You have a strong sense of mixing shapes and adding textures in your art. It is impressive how you manage to mix vintage and modern in one image. What are your inspirations for your work?
FC: I’m a visual person, very much. The inspiration is there all the time, and it’s more about an ongoing process of looking, absorb- ing, selecting, imagining – and ‘imaging’ in a certain sense. There is a perhaps surprising parallel with the work of new media artists and editors, as well as visual artists; the way
I ‘process’ constantly the world around me, and filter everything through an aesthetic level of consciousness, for instance. And the way I create a narrative by ‘connecting dots’ backwards, starting not from a blank canvas but from a given story (images) and cultural expression (the text which I find on the back of the postcards or old photographs), re-im- aging them now, projecting them into the future. Mine is a ‘project’ in the etymological sense of the term: launching something with a sense of direction, but without being certain about where it will land. That is the collector’s leg of the journey.
Interviewed by Contributing Editor Olya Titova