The Beauty and Elegance of Cross-Stitch PortraitsWritten by Caryl B. Grecia
Wall hangings are what make most homes decorative and attractive. And most of time, wall hangings we see are portraits of most memorable moments of our lives.
Family pictures, graduation pictures and baby's first birthday pictures hang on most prominent wall of home to remind us of momentous events of our lives. Other times, cutest pet, my "bestest" friend, and prettiest dream house occupy bare wall in bedroom. There are also times, as a tribute to favorite painter, his oil painting occupy biggest space on wall. The latest favorite celebrity idol has a place on wall too, somewhere in house. No matter what hangs on it, wall looks good for visitors to see.
The most common types of wall hangings nowadays are photography and oil paintings. There are times when charcoal or watercolor paintings replace oil. There are also embroidery and cross-stitch wall hangings. The motifs of most cross-stitch wall decorations are of flowers, birds, animals and houses. It is very rare that a photo is presented in a cross-stitch. But, it is just possible.
Did you know that in history of cross-stitch, pictures of Benjamin Franklin and George Bush were featured in almost all covers, cushions and other accessories in cross-stitch? It was at height of cross-stitch portraitures trend that their stitched pictures became so in-demand. Cross-stitch is actually not a new craft. In fact, in history, this art is one outstanding needlecraft used by prominent people. Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1 were just two of brilliant needlewomen in history. Catherine of Aragon, wife of king Henry VII popularized a stitch called Holbein stitch or double-running stitch. Even Elizabeth of York was into fad when she bought a "lynnyn" cloth, one of primary materials of needlecraft.
It is said in history that needlecraft was most used by religious and royals. Needlecraft, then, was a symbol of social status. The churches' accessories and ecclesiastical clothing of pious were adorned with beautiful embroidery. The homes of royals and elites were filled with embroidered covers for everything from cushions to coverlets, handkerchiefs and runners.
Stitching Memories Written by Caryl B. Grecia
Sometimes, usual photographs look so common and boring. Converting your pictures into charcoal or oil painting is a welcome change but then, a lot of people have been into these crafts already that there are times when these portraits too, look clichéd. There could also be a time that a charcoal or oil painting of your photo does not look exactly same as your original photograph. I have been a witness to several charcoal portraiture failure. Have you ever had your portrait done in charcoal in which result didn't actually look like your image?
There's a new option to dilemmas of boring photographs and failed charcoal and oil (even water-color) paintings and that is cross-stitch portrait. It is converting a favorite photograph into an elegant and artistic needlecraft. However high-tech snapshot is, it will be captured exactly, even tiniest detail, in a cross-stitch portrait.
A picture is scanned and then converted into a cross-stitch pattern. A pattern looks like a chart of tiny squares on a paper. Each square symbolizes a stitch. And stitches are details of pictures. It is amazing to see a picture being converted into a pattern for cross-stitch. A snapshot, especially a colored one is faithful replica of a person, a pet or of a significant event. In it, image, especially skin of a person appears to be plain flesh-colored (dark, fair, brown, yellow, etc.). But in a cross-stitch pattern, skin alone could have three or more shades of whatever skin tone person in image has. Even an all-black hair could have shades of gray, dark gray and light gray for more emphasis.
This is due to light reflections upon taking picture. It could be from flash or shadow of sun when picture was shot outdoors. However, in a snapshot, it does not really matter because focus would be just on image. But in a cross-stitch portrait, every tone of skin, every shade of hair (whether plain colored or highlighted) is considered. And in end, portrait is not only a faithful replica but is almost exactly original image of person, pet or significant memory.
The cotton threads used in cross-stitch give picture its almost-real image. Basically, fabric used as a background is a woven linen depending of count, which gives finished portraits unique, handmade look.