Over the past 16 years, Cayce has created portraits of her family, friends and fellow artists, but while her passion for the expressions of the human face has remained constant, paint has slowly been replaced with a less toxic material – thread. She remembers her initial works were painted so thickly they looked a lot like cake frosting; she moved on to works on panel that required only medium-laden oil paint and eventually only used paint for the background of her amazing embroidered portraits. They still look like paintings from afar, but a closer look reveals their true nature and the amount of work that went into creating them.
Cayce Zavaglia made the decision to make her studio non-toxic on her daughter’s 9th birthday, and as she was removing varnish, turpentine and oil paint from her work place she found herself experimenting with mediums with which she had very little experience. Remembering a crewel embroidery piece she did as a child growing up in Australia, she was inspired to use wool for her new series of portraits. “Working with an established range of wool colors proved frustrating at first because I was unable to mix the colors by hand. Consequently, I created a system of sewing the threads in a sequence that would ultimately give the allusion of a certain color or tone.” Cayce says about her early experiences with wool. She realized the direction in which lines we sewn had to mimic the way they are layered in a drawing to give the illusion of depth, volume and form.
“It is my hope that each work would initiate a journey – one that causes the viewer to advance and retreat as they are introduced to a family portrait and a re-interpretation of traditional embroidery.” the artist says about her portraits, and the truth is they are so beautifully detailed I could spend hours just looking at one.
via This Is Colossal