Similar Threads

Similar Threads is the name of a very small showcase exhibition in a shop foyer which I came across recently whilst on holiday in North Wales. Held at the wonderfully stylish Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, it’s on until the 1st September, so catch it if you’re anywhere near. What really caught my attention was this striking image of a car door, adorned with embroidered flowers – so utterly beguiling that it took my breath away. As a OCA textile tutor, I talk about contrast within work all the time and here is probably one of the very best examples you could see.

Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene is a Lithuanian textile artist who embroiders typical Lithuanian folk type flowers onto unlikely found objects, which would otherwise be discarded. She had to learn to drill clean and precise holes through the metal first – which is real dedication to her art. The traditional flower motifs transform the door into something new and valued as well as imparting a feminine counterbalance to the work. I love the way the softness of the quite chunky wool yarns contrasts against the hard metallic, male starkness of the abandoned car door – imparting a new softness, a sense of intimacy even.

This got me thinking further about contrast and why it’s so important in our work. Visually the eye likes to register patterns, it looks for similarities, either of colour or other formal qualities and then needs opposing elements as well, whether these are provided by a strong change in materials or just an open space for the eye to rest, or preferably both. Have a look at this work by one of my students Linda Beadle, who has not long completed Textiles 1. This child size dress was made as a final piece on the theme of her garden for the last assignment. It shares similarities with the work above in being a non-functional art piece.

The materials in Linda’s work are all soft and malleable fabrics in this instance. The contrast is between the busy areas and the large open white spaces. As textile artists we can be intimidated by a quietness and well, just nothingness, and feel we need to fill every space – but looks how the eye rests in those glorious areas of fresh white, they are the restfulness of beautifully starched white sheets. Notice too how the curved shapes of the free form appliquéd flowers contrast against the grid formations on the bodice, (which suggest wooden trellis). This was a wonderfully controlled piece of work, which imparted the excited feel of being in Linda’ s garden, but also a great sense of its stillness as well.

5 Comments

  1. Tanya 15 July 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Wonderful! The car door questions our acceptance of our environment as fixed, it reminded me of Crystal Gregory’s work in New York. She took something authoritarian and repressive and turned it into something inviting and beautiful, completely changing our reaction to the space we encounter. It also struck me as being a very delicate form of Yarn Bombing!
    http://crystalgregory.org/artwork_invcroch04.html
    http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2077071,00.html

    Reply
  2. SueG 22 July 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I love these links Tanya, thanks for sharing them. I might go and get my knitting needles out!!!

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  3. Janet McNamee 27 July 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Yes the contrast between skilled, time-consuming hand work and more industrial materials is interesting. Also the enlarged scale of the hand sewing in the car door piece is what makes it unusual too – reminded me of this lace fence I saw on-line :

    http://www.dezeen.com/2007/01/30/lace-fence-goes-into-production/

    Reply
  4. Ija Broka 6 August 2011 at 12:17 am

    This is a very interesting and inspiring post. To admire someone’s work, I feel one can discover so much about oneself. Every person observes the same picture, image, craft with different eyes. The work might anger one person, and comfort another. I feel the door is like a window into another world, an entrance of such into something natural and vague; yet itself it remains concrete and unnatural, almost unreal. The sense of reality is muddled … the door that is real to our world seems out of place and unreal within the piece of art, while the unreal flowers are the basis of the image. I like the work. I feel in a way it reflects our emotions to the world. Being individual, out of place, yet forced to standards and rules of society, highlighting the fragility, yet strength of human nature.

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  5. Diana 6 September 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I made the effort to go and see the embroidered car door at the Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno. I was visiting my 83 year old mother in Anglesey last month, and she and I went to the Mostyn together. She has recently completed her BA in Fine Arts and is planning her MA to begin soon. And the exhibition by Romuald Hazoumé was also taking place there, so we had plenty to see and talk about.

    Contrasts: we agreed after some deliberation that after colour and shape, placement and isolation may be as important features in this composition. This artists contrasts were exhilarating.

    Placement: We explored where the focal point should be in a composition? Central, overlapping, on outside edges, touching? Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene managed a dramatic placement.

    Isolation: The embroidery (from the domestic female realm) seems to stand apart from its surroundings of a rusting car door (male province) and therefore was hugely noticeable as a result.

    Now we have learned how, can we achieve that in our own works!! Thanks for sharing.

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