The words etched by lunacy

(skip to 6:53 to see the artist’s hands or click HERE)

Remember when you use to draw or make things when you were little, site then drop whatever you were doing as soon as you realized someone was watching you? Did you ever feel like while you were in your own space creating your own little world for the pleasure of yourself, then suddenly your were maybe violated? I use to feel that why doing most things on my own or with a friend or my sister, it breaks your zone having a audience but now I totally get why people get so fascinated by what we do as artists and craftsmen/women. Having taken glass or wheel throwing for an example I will happily admit I could watch someone else make stuff for hours!

I get the same pleasure watching as I do making, especially as I’ve come to accept I cant get material to do exactly what I want it to anyhow (Ive even begun to grow fond of my unintended experiments).  Our hand and eye ordination is just as interesting as our personal vices that we bring to our work.  Maybe this is just me admitting to myself this is just another case of me being unable to divide my attention between two or three things like watching TV or reading a book while making myself lunch (to be clear its not like I cant make grill cheese perfectly but I seem to continue to challenge myself to make it half attentively.)

So I hope I wont bore you into watching just a minute even of this Bert Haanstra video, but really watch the hands of  people making in it. Its like a dance that goes both unnoticed and unappreciated! Or you can just enjoy the jazz in your background.


Cayce Zavaglia is a contemporary artist using embroidery techniques to create obsessively detailed portraits.  Her portraits are done with wool on lined canvas, hospital
traditional material for embroidery but considers herself to be a painter because the way that she layers colours and lines mimics the way she would layer colour and line if she were painting with a brush.

I am not usually one to be attracted to portrait work however Zavaglias portrait work stands out to me.  Painting is often a very forgiving medium to work with, buy it is easy to mix colours off of the canvas until the desired colour is produced or to mix and blend on the canvas until the desired result is achieved.  Achieving specific shades and tones of colour by layering threads takes time and practice and cannot easily be undone if the result was undesirable.  The process Zavaglia uses to create portraits makes the work interesting conceptually. In observing one of these portraits up close the labour is apparent, clinic large detailed portraits built up with layers and layers of short threads stitched together to create the illusion of depth and textures that suggest an intimate layered connection to the person in the portrait.

Greg and I- Hand Embroidery: One-Ply Cotton, Silk, and Wool on Raw Belgian Linen, 9 x 18 inches

– Karin
Hello Fibre Grads, Myocarditis
I have added writing resource links to the Grad Paper Resource Page including the Perdue OWL (Online Writing Lab). Feel like taking a break from writing your Grad Paper Outline? Have a look at this!

At the risk of assisting you to procrastinate, resuscitator
Ubu Web is amazing! (And just might count as “research”!)


Completed straight jacket, pills
before embroidery.

My current work revolves around the idea of creating garments that relate to individuals or moments in time. Garment portraits, so to speak. Through this work, I explore the relation between textiles and the human body, and connection between clothing and the individual. This exploration is combined with an interest in history (particularly histories pertaining to medical, mortuary, and the bizarre).

To date, I have created numerous garments that relate to individuals, or groups of. The majority of the garments have focused on “freaks”. To be clear, the celebrity and influence of the individuals in the American Sideshow. I used these garments as a way of focusing my admiration of these individuals, while also hearkening to the imagined anxieties, and concerns.  My work still refers to the sideshow, but the more I research, the more I am interested in specific moments in time, as well as how it relates to the individuals involved.

This current garment, I have drawn upon the history of psychiatric institutions, using the straight jacket as a vessel. The straight jacket was constructed, after drafting a very basic pattern. I hoped to emulate the appearance of a mid-20th century straight jacket. Now, I have gotten to the point that I have begun the embellishment.

The straight jacket is going to be covered in embroidery, inscribed with the words graffiti-ed on the walls of abandoned asylums. The idea of actual insanity versus imagined insanity fascinates me, as well as the idea that it is difficult to distinguish the two.

Work in progress; the embroidery detail on the straight jacket.

-Emmelia Taylor

3 Replies to “The words etched by lunacy”

  1. I have thought that yours and Jessie Fraser’s work was similar. I hope you got the chance to talk to her. The exploration of cultural outcasts and the sideshow is quite similar.

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