Saturday, January 31, 2009

Embroidery: Apartment in NYC

("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.


Ms. Katee/e-polishblog said...

Gorgeous work! That looks like an apartment that I would love to live in :) I love anything mid-century modern!

Bart Boehlert said...

So cool how you turned your interior into an embroidery! Hope you enjoy my post about India-

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

Really lovely designs, they look like paintings, not needlepoint - very cool. PS your jam post was great!

AMK said...

Your embroidery is so cool. I loved the interior stitched. How did you come to making embroideries? Do you do these embroideries strictly for yourself? As a kind of art? Do you frame them? Have you had an exnibition? I also love your process. I thought it was genius!

pve design said...

Do you floss daily DMC floss lady?

Mr. Peacock said...

I'm overwhelmed by the flawless details captured by your soulful needle and thread...from the crown mouldings, the Adler pillows, to the yellow tulips in a vase (Alvar Aalto?)'s breathtaking!

And the perspective is very interesting too, with the glimpse into the other rooms.

I am absolutely swooning over this amazing piece of art and your creative talent...Bravo!

LINDA from Each Little World said...

I am with Mr. Peacock. The perspective adds so much by letting us peek into the related spaces. I studied with Renie Adams (do you know her work?) but have not done much needlework in recent years. So I am really enjoying seeing your pieces. They are inspiring me to consider picking up a needle and tread again. I am so glad you are willing to share them with us here!

AlwaysMe said...

Thank you so much! Not just sharing your artwork but also a little bit about how you did it. I am always curious about how art is made - the details that make it come together. I also admire your patience and the dilligence it took - from inspiration to completion.

mb said...

Sister, you rock. Really. I am blown away by your work. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Ann Marie: I used to do the embroideries for myself, although now I get quite a few commissions. I haven't had an exhibition yet, but the internet is proving to be a wonderful way to get them seen.
Mr. Peacock: You're freaking me out. It IS an Aalvar Aalto vase!!
Ms. Wis: I don't know Renie Adams, but you can be sure I will Google her asap.

Everyone else: Thank you for your generous and kind words!!

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -


Although when I think about some of my past decorating tastes..I don't know if I would want it captured for future generations to see.

frilly country is no longer me

So Lovely said...

So gorgeous. I have yet to move on from my addiction to Mid Century - so this is like a drug for me.

Style Court said...

I'm with Mr. Peacock, Ms. Wis and Marybeth. Your work is magical in itself, but the concept behind it, what you are doing with centuries-old "ladies drawing room arts," wow.

It's like you are honoring the past but at the same time turning it on its side -- especially with the samplers. I hope the editors of Selvedge read your blog.

hampers said...

Very nice piece of work. Such detail. Its something I plan to try one day.

Martin said...

Thanks for the post It's a great painting though I prefer Quinquela Martin's apartment in buenos aires


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