“The Spider Weaver” an Embroidered Children’s Book
The needle and thread is a familiar yet foreign art medium to me. I first learned how to use a needle and thread in fourth grade for a school project. I still remember the excitement of stitching for the first time and making something with my own hands. For a period of time, during high school, I carried a mini sewing kit with me every day. Since then, I seize every chance to work with a needle and thread, from making small ornaments to costumes.
For a long time, needle and thread was just a daily tool to me. Yet, it wasn’t until several years ago that I realized that I could create illustrations with them just as I could with pencil and paint.
This happened when I came across embroidered drawings on Instagram and Etsy in 2017. I was immediately drawn to them, excited by how stitches were used as the mark maker. Experimenting with the idea of needle and thread as my art medium, I began embroidering my drawings. I enjoy the embroidery process, as it evokes a sense of warmth, nostalgia, serenity, and excitement. There is a great sense of satisfaction in pulling thread through fabric repeatedly to form an image. At times, the act of embroidery can feel calm and peaceful, but it can also feel strong and forceful. Thus, showing the hand and emotion of the creator.
My visual thesis, The Spider Weaver is my first attempt at creating a series of illustrations with this medium. I have challenged myself to use the needle and thread as my visual storytelling medium, creating a series of embroidered illustrations for the first time. The Spider Weaver is a children’s book based on a delightful folktale from Japan explaining why cloud and spider share the same name in Japanese. Illustrating with needle and thread, allows me to bring a different visual experience to young readers. The texture created with the medium is unique. The fabric and embroidery thread gives a sense of touch and warmth, inviting the readers to engage closely with the medium. With each stitch, one can trace the creative process of the image.
Illustrating The Spider Weaver in needle and thread has been a challenging and fulfilling learning process. Through experimenting both with the medium and storytelling I found a stronger voice in myself.