Redwork, the technique of thickly embroidering a design's outline in bright red thread, begins its long history way way back in the 1860s. Simple, effective, and affordable, redwork caught on quickly in both Europe and America. Additionally, the color-fastness of the Turkey Red color thread made redwork a more practical embroidery than other styles: the dyes in these Turkey Red threads wouldn't run when subjected to the necessarily harsh washing process of the times. Patterns were made widely available, as well as pre-printed panels to be made into common household items.
In her embroidered portrait above, Olisa has modernized the subject matter of redwork while retaining its traditional look. Thickly outlined in a bright red with simple stitches, Olisa's portrait shows her own mother, as she was during Olisa's childhood, looking off into the distance out of frame. The combination of modern and traditional gives this portrait a pop art feel, but is full of the emotion of family.
Read more about the history of redwork at Nordic Needle, and more about Olisa's piece on her blog.
What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!