If you think embroidery is restricted purely to the elderly and the sewing lessons of a 1960s secondary education, then you’ve got some catching up to do. Embroidery has moved on from the corners of your handkerchief (you know the ones, with your initial stitched onto it) and now weaves itself into pages of pop culture publications. Inge Jacobsen is one of the artists changing the world of stitching. Jacobsen attacks the pages of fashion magazines with her needle, leaving behind a layer of colourful threads rather than puncture marks. Her work varies in its subtlety, in some pieces the stitching stands proud against the rest of the image, contrasting in texture and colour; in others the embroidery seamlessly becomes the image.
There is something intriguing about the contrast of textures in Jacobsen’s work; the stitching and the paper can never become one in the way paint and paper can, but it creates a tension which gives the work excitement. There is a flexibility with the embroidery which isn’t found in traditional collage; stitch lengths can be varied (see the Beyoncé Dazed and Confused cover) to create different effects and threads can be left long and hanging. The two images from the Consumed series feature strands spilling from the women’s eyes and mouths; I find these quite disturbing as the embroidery gives a realistic aspect – those threads really are there, it’s just the woman who is only an image.
But I think the most striking aspect of Jacobsen’s work is the contrast between the old and new. The embroidery cuts through the glossy pages; combining traditional craft techniques with the latest pop culture images and creating a slightly conflicting but nevertheless successful partnership.
All images from: http://www.ingejacobsen.com/