("Apartment in NYC", 2005, embroidery floss on linen,
16 inches by 10 inches)
*click to enlarge*
I embroidered this piece in 2005, shortly after we moved back to Los Angeles. It took 3-4 months to complete and is based on a photograph of our apartment on the Upper West Side. I enlarged the photo on a xerox machine until it reached the dimensions I desired. I then taped the enlargement to a sunny windowpane and placed my piece of fabric directly over it. (Yes, I'm sure there are more high-tech ways to do it, but I'm unapologetically old-school.) Using a black micro Sharpie, I was then able to trace a basic outline directly onto the linen. I didn't draw in too many details as I prefer to create them spontaneously with my needle and thread. Once I had my rough design, I attached it to a portable loom to give myself a nice, tight surface and prevent the linen from stretching.
I am a DMC embroidery floss girl. For a piece like this, I used either one or two strands, depending on the intricacy involved. For the piece entitled "Mitch" that I posted last week, I used three strands as the dimensions were bigger and I wanted a bit more texture in the piece.
I wanted this piece to reflect my life in NYC, but I also wanted it to provide a sociological glimpse into interior decoration in the late 20th century. To that end, I specifically wanted to embroider certain talismans of design that had become ubiquitous to that time. Can you spot them?
The Jonathan Adler pillows, the Arco lamp, the Dosa ottomans, the Paul Frankl coffee table, even the Arne Jacobsen Oxford dining chairs in the background -- all reflect the organic/midcentury/modern mania that was popular at the time and to which I completely succumbed. Although I have now moved on to a different style, I like to think that in 100 years, someone will look at it and get a sense of the way we all lived then.