Custom Anatomical Embroideries
I use thread and fabric to translate scientific illustrations into embroidered paintings.
Like many others, I’ve always been fascinated by how the human body functions; what we know and what is still a mystery. Today we take illustrations of our anatomy for granted as part of our education, but it wasn’t always easy or safe to pursue this knowledge.
The time-intensive and detail-oriented nature of embroidery lends itself well to the study of anatomy. Present in both pursuits are an emphasis in precision, legibility, and focus. Not necessarily but often as a result, both pursuits also produce striking works of art.
What interests me about scientific and anatomical illustrations is the presumption of truth. As my relationship to scientific inquiry developed over time to greater complexity, it became evident to me that even the stamp of SCIENCE™ could not guarantee truth or correctness. Scientists are fallible, objectivity is mythic, and we determine what we see by the tools we use to see them. Anatomical illustrations, while created by skilled artists and scientists working to present the most “truthful” and “complete” representations of their subjects, are always translations of reality and not reality itself.
Just as a scientific illustrator translates a subject into a rendered image, I use thread to translate the image again. While I also try to stay as true to my subject as possible my materials, style, and methods dictate how much or little gets "lost in translation." I think this is where the art happens - the space between one form and the other where decisions are made and reality gets ever-so-slightly reimagined.
Q: I’m interested in a commissioning a piece. What exactly will I receive?
A: You, the Collector, will receive an unframed, embroidered art piece. I lace all finished works around a thick board for shipping. I highly recommend getting it framed to keep it clean and to help it last for years.
Q: What is your pricing?
A: Pricing starts at USD$700 for a piece measuring 10cm x 12cm (this is the embroidered area). From there, every additional cm² will cost USD$3.50. Eg: a piece measuring 12cm x 12cm will cost USD$784 and a piece measuring 15cm x 15cm will cost USD$1,067.50.
Payment is made in 2 installments. The first installment of 50% of the cost of the piece is due upon signing the Commission Agreement, before work commences. The second 50% is due after the piece is shipped. The Collector will also be responsible for the shipping costs which will be included in the second installment amount.
Q: How long does it take to complete?
A: I begin work as soon as I confirm the first payment installment has been received. If the piece measures 10cm x 12cm, I will need 4 weeks to complete and ship your piece. If the piece is bigger, I will need more time.
Q: I'm interested in a commission but don’t like anatomy, can I still reach out?
A: Absolutely! If you have a non-anatomy idea for a piece, please do get in touch.
Q: What is your process like?
A: If the Collector doesn’t have an image already in mind, we will discuss subject matter and I will suggest options of anatomical illustrations to use as our subject. After we decide on a subject, I get to work sizing the image, and deciding what materials and techniques I will use. I approach this as a translation - what textures, colors, and dimensions will best accentuate the details in this particular piece?
As I study the image and make those decisions, I prepare the ground fabric. Since I use linen as the ground, the fabric needs to be pre-treated before I can transfer the image and start stitching. As linen can be translucent, I use an additional backing fabric to make sure no work from the back shows through.
When the fabric is prepared, the image is transferred, and when I’m ready to start embroidering I will stretch the fabric drum tight, get comfortable in my studio, turn on my magnifying light and get going!
Q: How can I participate in the process?
A: I would love to hear any ideas and considerations you might have while we’re discussing the work at the beginning. For example, if you’re particularly excited about a certain color scheme, or want the piece to work with a specific space. I like to hear what your ideal is and work from there - this way I’m clear on your expectations and I can make a piece as close to that ideal as possible. I’m open to requests for how you’d like the piece to look, as well as what materials you’d like me to use.
If you have a question that is not covered in the FAQs, please contact me!