By Julie Jackson
One day while I was lurking around on Pinterest, I came across these amazing photos of large-scale cross stitch in public spaces. So you just know I had to find out more and tell you about it! The artist, who is in Germany, goes by the name Miss Cross Stitch. She has a blog, misscrossstitch.wordpress.com, with updated photos and stories (you’ll have to use Google translator) about the public pieces she’s stitched on public structures like benches and fences from Berlin to Zurich.
Miss Cross Stitch was a student of fashion and jewelry design who has embroidered, stitched and knitted since childhood. “But,” she said, “through the years it was interesting for me to take these techniques and give them a modern context, to show that craft can be more than grandma’s crocheted tablecloth. And … what would be better than to do this than in public spaces?”
I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions, and here’s what she said.
Julie: What do you call the work that you do? I wondered if there was a name for it, like what yarnbombing is to knitting.
Miss Cross Stitch: I call the work I do “Street Embroidery,” a mixture between street art and embroidery. Since I haven’t perceived an official name for it, most of the time people just call it yarnbombing.
JJ: Tell us about the moment you thought of embroidering public spaces.
MCS: At that time I was working in the industrie and we designed a modern product line with DIY bags, pillows … on the way [to work] driving in my car, I looked at a park bench (with a metal grid) and thought, “That looks like a textile made for embroidering, why not embroider in a public space?”
JJ: Is this a movement or are you the first to do this?
MCS: I don’t think it’s really a movement — before I did it, I didn’t know anyone else who was doing this. But two years [after I started], I got an email from a girl from Barcelona (Alicia), who had also embroidered bins and a fence.
JJ: Great! Did she send you photos? Were you excited to see you were not alone?
MCS: Yes, she wrote me an email with photos and I was really excited about how she interpreted the theme of embroidering in public spaces. May be the beginning of something bigger …
JJ: How do you choose a good site to stitch — what works well and what doesn’t?
MCS: My criteria for choosing a place is that it should be a place were many people could see it, but it also a place where I can work without being disturbed by the police. [When I did] the roses in Berlin I needed six hours to embroider them. Also it should be a nice place, so people [enjoy sitting] there afterwards.
JJ: What is most odd location you’ve stitched? What is your favorite?
MCS: Once I tried to embroider a park bench in the pedestrian area of Stuttgart, and when we finished half [of it] a policeman came and began [talking to] me; in the end I had to remove the thread. My favorite place was the park in Berlin, because many people [saw] me and asked if I was an artist; they were really surprised [with the work].
JJ: What materials do you use?
MCS: In the beginning I used self-dyed cotton rope, now I use polypropylene rope because it’s much more resistant against water and sun.
JJ: What do you enjoy most about it?
MCS: The thing I enjoy most is seeing the smiles on the faces of the people passing by.
JJ: What’s next? What other tricks do you have up your sleeve?
MCS: I’d like to embroider a bench completely, but it’s a little bit tricky to find such a grid bench [in a place] where I’m allowed to work. This summer I was in Sweden, but what a pity — they don’t have the grid benches I need there!
JJ: Well, I’ll be watching your blog to see what you think of next! Thanks so much for talking to us and best of luck on your next project!
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