A woman paints with thread, creates art through embroidery

LAFAYET, Louisiana (AP) – Marie Palmer’s desk is covered in a carousel of colors – turquoise sewing machine, boxes full of threads, and acrylic landscape paintings in various degrees of completion.

She is sitting in her pink chair, a “wall of inspiration” with photos of famous artists and their works behind her. She pulls a needle and embroidery thread through a linen shirt, a large flower forming over the spot.

This is her way of putting on worn-out objects.

The blue linen dress she wears has been redesigned in the same way, with designs strung at the top.


Palmer loves to sew on usable items such as clothes, pins or cards, all of which can be found around her desk.

“That’s what embroidery is good for – surface decoration,” she said. “That’s how it’s been designed over the years.”

Palmer, 39, uses her needles and threads to sew these surface decorations with intricate and expressive images. The small details that mark her bees, Louisiana herons and women’s flowing dresses look like brush strokes, which leads her to describe this art of embroidery as “thread painting”.

She even recreates famous paintings in threads on small surfaces, such as a pin from Van Gogh’s Starry Night fabric.

All this work is being done in a converted barracks outside her home in Lafayette. A mother of three, Palmer realized she needed a room for all her belongings, but also for silence.

“I’m an introvert,” she said. “I need time to think and be alone, to bring out ideas and improve as I walk. It takes a little quiet energy to get it out of my brain. “

Palmer remembers that she always painted and painted as a child, and then her godmother taught her to embroider around the age of seven. She returned to art later in life, learning more through videos and finding models online.

Then she started making her own designs. She especially likes to work on lingerie and usually uses DMC embroidery threads. Sometimes she will use silk threads.

Her designs vary, reflecting nature, mythology and simple scenes from everyday life. One of her favorite pieces – and perhaps the biggest – is one of her grandparents washing dishes together in her kitchen.

Similar to the concept, the colors are simple, mostly different shades of brown. But her stitches create the look of wood beads and the flow of fabric on their shirts as her grandmother turns to serve him a blue dish.

That piece took more than 100 hours, she said. She appreciates it not only for her personal relationship with her family, but also for covering the traditionally feminine history of embroidery.

“Embroidery in general has been a woman’s work for centuries,” Palmer said. “Being a mother is the most important thing in my life, so being able to portray home scenes is important to me.”

She is often inspired by her children and family. She recently completed a small portrait of her father, which took about 20 hours.

Palmer is able to carve small moments to sew most days. Most projects are small and light, making them easy for her children to take music lessons or work in her husband’s electrical business.

“I take these stolen moments to do it,” she said.

And of course, she finds time to work alone in the shed.

“For me, this is my best way to develop emotions, relationships with other people,” Palmer said. “This is my therapy and meditation in one.”

Palmer also sells her work through her Etsy online store, Artemis Unravelled, named after her love of mythology and art. There, shoppers can find very detailed, hand-embroidered earrings with butterfly wings, as well as art to hang on your wall.

Although her embroidery is a favorite, she still works with paint and other media to create her landscapes, as well as a deck of oracle cards. Some are sewn and others are mixed. She then scanned them and sold the printed maps, sending tests to Japan and France.

“I never do the same,” she said. “It takes a long time to improve.”

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