Embroidery adds textured narratives to the subjects of Flore Gardner’s stitched photographs

Art Craft History Photography

#embroidery #found photos #thread

April 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Flore Gardner, shared with permission

With a background in medicine, artist based in Edinburgh Flora Gardner promotes a creative practice that explores the body and its untapped potential. She works in an array of mediums from printmaking and ink-based illustrations to multimedia installations and fiber, pushing the boundaries of human anatomy into the realm of the absurd or the subversive. Regardless of the material, each work centers on a primary interest in drawing and uses the same techniques and principles that fill the pages of his notebooks.

One of Gardner’s series, titled (His) stories, overlays vintage black-and-white photographs sourced largely from flea markets with vibrant dots. As the name suggests, the collection focuses primarily on women, and embroidered elements mask faces with dense patches, add dimension to a subject’s body, or highlight their figures by creating contrast with the bottom.

Revitalized with color and texture, the portraits and posed group photos take on a new narrative with the artist’s over drawings and “alter the ‘reality’ of the photos, revealing things hidden beneath (e.g., naked bodies invisible under wedding clothes, invisible halos, hidden thoughts) or on the contrary by hiding certain details (threads wrap the inevitably dead or “ghost” characters).

The needle is an instrument to wound and to heal – a photograph (or human skin) can be damaged by its treatment and simultaneously repaired/re-created. This needle makes hundreds of small holes in each photograph, once a precious object, and these, together with the threads, transform the flat, smooth and untouchable photographic support into a surface in relief, which can be touched and even, somehow read like Braille.

Gardner is currently working on a publishing project funded by creative scotland and a collaborative performance that will be presented at Edinburgh cravings this August.

#embroidery #found photos #thread

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