There is more than one way to paint. Self-taught embroiderer Laura McGarity uses a needle, colored thread and many stitches to create compositions that look like impressionist works of art. His menagerie of subjects – from tigers to anteaters to squids – feature layers of different colors, making them appear vibrant and full of dimension.
Based in Bothell, Washington, McGarrity dabbled in various forms of fiber art before shifting her focus to embroidery three years ago. Although at first she found it difficult, through practice she discovered the many creative possibilities of this age-old art form. In particular, she enjoys merging her love of color with animal portraiture. “Animals are a very traditional subject, so I like to add my own ‘flavor’ to a room by reinterpreting them with different palettes,” she tells My Modern Met. “I always feel like I’m learning the craft, so I love creating things using a variety of stitches and techniques.”
From a distance, McGarrity’s art resembles painting rather than embroidery – an effect, she says, is completely intentional. “I think there’s a very natural connection between embroidery and painting,” says McGarrity. “Just as you create an image with paint – stroke by stroke, one color at a time – you embroider the same way, slowly building an image stitch by stitch with one thread color at a time.”
Depending on the complexity of the subject, she sometimes spends several days adding stitches to the fabric. “I usually start with shadows or lowlights, then sew medium and lighter colors on top,” she adds. “But often it takes multiple passes of this layering technique.” When she’s done, however, the expressive color palette makes her subjects all the more dazzling.
Follow McGarrity on instagram to keep up to date with his latest sewn projects.
Washington-based artist Laura McGarrity creates exquisite embroidery art of animals that resemble impressionist paintings.
Laura McGarity: instagram
My Modern Met has granted permission to feature photos of Laura McGarrity.
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