Digging: MoBro

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What on earth is MoBro, you ask? It’s what I’ve decided to call a quasi recent crop of embroidery (particularly hand) that’s been popping up and giving the old-school craft a new sort of life. You know, Modern Embroidery. Some of it is not your grandmother’s embroidery (as in used in new and interesting ways, designs) and some is really not your grandmother’s embroidery (as in some naughty words and nudity).

It started when I saw the work from Andrea Dezsö‘s 2007 show “Lessons from My Mother”… somewhere, and cataloged it off in my brain as Really Pretty Rad. Ms. Dezsö is an ethnic Hungarian born and raised in Transylvania, Romania and for this project, she embroidered some of the witticisms bestowed upon her by her mother

And then, not terribly later, I saw Tim Moore‘s work in Monster Children magazine. He started embroidering on a flight back in 2001 (pre-September 11) with and in-flight sewing kit after he realized that he’d forgotten his sketchbook and pens. He got really into it, and even received some tutoring from his girlfriend’s Sicilian mother. Of course, he then “bastardized it”. (since you can’t read the Monster Children interview online, you can read a fairly similar one ((from what I can tell)) here.

After Tim, I came across the work of Porterness. Jennifer, the designer/artist, creates all sorts of goodies, but her embroidery work really stands out. Taught to embroider at age 10 by her grandmother, she describes her work as being heavily “influenced by Carl Jung’s work on the personal shadow, the embroidery functions as what Jung calls ‘spiritual talisman’ for inner growth.” She explores this theme in a number of pieces through two characters she created- Priscilla and John – and their ongoing tale of love and loss.


Some pieces are available at her etsy shop, Porterness.

And then this morning (!) I stumbled in my Tumblr stream upon Caroline Hwang‘s lovely work. Influenced by years of watching her grandmother knit and crochet, Caroline has managed to incorporate those older crafts like quilting and embroidery into paintings and drawings; “All my pieces begin as fabric, which I paint on, and then collage other fabric on top of, then embroider over with my sewing machine, and then add some final drawing and painting. They end up very layered.” (from Swindle). The following work is from her illustration page, which I saw first and is already linked to. For more awesome work (I got overwhelmed attempting to decide what to use, so I stuck with what I saw first) visit her other site here.

It’s all quite lovely, yes? It’s nice that in such an increasingly technologically advanced society, some still take time to learn the crafts of our grandparents and great-grandparents and reinterpret them into something that honors that past while making it modern. Creating each piece is so time consuming that I imagine it’s hard to not become very emotionally involved in the process, each individual stitch allowing a moment of reflection. It is interesting considering this fact how most all of these artists seek to explore love and the nature of relationships in their work.

Regardless, I would be tickled to see some quirky off-beat embroidery incorporated into the, err, various fabrics in my life. Yesiree, I would.

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