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It is hard to believe when first looking at the work of Cayce Zavaglia that it isn’t infact photography or photo realistic paintings but embroidered portraits mostly of family, friends and other artists.
Cayce originated as a painter until 12 years ago. When becoming a mother she wanted to use less toxic materials round her children so she decided to experiment with thread to create similar brush marks that are used in classical oil painting.
The main focus of the portraits were to create a photorealistic look and, by mimicking the way the colour tones are layered with in the painting helped her achieve this.
At an unbelievable average of 8” x10” all her work is hand sewn using cotton and silk thread or crewel embroidery wool. She layers various shades of thread similar to oil painting which also allows for the illusion of depth volume and form within her portraits. Cayce claims that her stitching methodology ‘borders on the obsessive’ but ultimately it lets her achieve the best quality of flesh hair and cloth.
A few years ago Cayce turned over one of her portraits and discovered a new path of work that was less precise than her other works but still clearly translated to another style of painting. By highlighting the reverse of her embroideries which historically and traditionally had been hidden from the viewer started conversation about the difference between our inner and outer selves. This inspired Cayce to display her work in galleries so both sides of the portrait can be seen.
If you would like to see more of Cayce Zavaglia’s work don’t hesitate to check out her website (http://www.caycezavaglia.com) or check out this great video of the artist at work (https://vimeo.com/51107397)
Brought to England in the 19th Century, Broderie Anglaise is an ancient technique which is believed to have originated in Czech Republic.
Very popular at it’s time in 1840-80, Broderie Anglaise is created using open worked spaces in varying shapes and sizes. Although it did not originate in England, it continues to be associated with English Heritage due to it’s popularity in England during the 19th Century.
The technique works by tracing a design out onto a piece of fabric, which is firstly worked with a basic running stitch. The insides of the shapes are then cut, and finished with either an overcast stitch, or a buttonhole stitch.
This exquisite technique, known for it’s traditional white on white finish is extremely time consuming, and was often used to create Victorian underwear, nightwear, trimmings, and for babies’ clothes and linen. These were very fancy, luxurious items.
In the 21st Century, Broderie Anglaise is interpreted less as a luxury fashion item, and more suited to daytime and casual wear during the summer seasons. They are also often machine embroidered rather than hand stitched now.
If you would like to learn this beautiful traditional hand technique, London Embroidery school offer an evening class which teaches you the basics of Broderie Anglaise. Book your place , or join our lace series course to learn all three traditional lace techniques, including Lace Appliqué, Broderie Anglaise and Limerick Lace!
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