cultural influences and inspiration

I’m not going to call any of this “cultural appropriation”. I don’t think it is–i’m not about to swathe myself in tribal embroideries, pretend i’m actually an Uzbeki “princess” and swish downtown to pose………..

AHEM. I’m going to stall myself if i’m not careful: I could spend WEEKS looking online at ethnic embroideries, and have in fact, spent probably at least 28 hours doing just that. Calgary not being a hotbed for embroidery of any sort means most of my research has to be online–even the public library has little to offer–i have requested the two books available on the subject!

Yesterday it was this far along:

I took the centre motif from this Swati work:

adapting freely, extrapolating and morphing as i went. Upside down, broken, halved, why not?

The heavy cochineal and iron modified cotton thread was a pain to get through the seamed areas, so this morning i switched to a cochineal and iron post modified space dyed silk. I like the way it changes colour haphazardly, as if it is fading (it’s not!) or more worn. It’s my thought that this should not be an obviously brand spanking new looking piece, hence the loose stitches along seamlines and the mended hole near the bottom, where i actually tore it when stitching together…..

I’m constantly distracted with this one, thinking of things i can do/add to it. It’s easy to either go overboard, or add things that don’t fit or work.

This morning too was spent looking at other types of tribal embroideries, resulting in a focus on Suzani work……so that is what this is going to be-ish. Though there are also a few tiny elements of Rajasthan in there with the tiny yellow dots….

Hell, it’s a mish mash, but whatever, it’s working for me 🙂 Let’s just say it’s the Everything of these, not one specific thing.

A large, hand-embroidered textile panel; the word comes from the Persian (Farsi language) word suzan, which means needle.  Suzani are more organic than the Swati embroideries, fewer formal repeats though definitely pictorial, and have more colour used. The originals are done with only 4 stitches, a chain (sometimes done with a tambour hook), ilmok (double buttonhole stitch), basma (a form of couching over lines or satin stitch, also known as Bokhara couching) and kanda khayol, a slanted couching stitch like Romanian couching, although i’ve found too many “definitions” of what these are to be sure! Best explanation/source for that was this site.

I already know this will be mounted, but i’m not sure yet what gets added next, letting it go where it wants as the vasty brain trips wires and causes small explosions.

Edit: I’ll be adding this to my side bar as well, as Textile Techniques. https://trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/techniques/embroidery/embroidery-stitches

2 responses to “cultural influences and inspiration

  1. Being inspired by a particular style or technique, or even an artist is one thing, appropriation is quite another. If the work is uniquely yours then it’s inspired.
    A while back I made a book with some Japanese text on it and was questioned about it. I’d recently spent a year living in Tokyo and used part of a ledger to represent the ordered way of life while the rest was an unstructured contrast . . . I’m more comfortable with the latter. My experience, my statement, my art, not cultural appropriation.

    Liked by 1 person

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