“I’m motivated to make my work as a way of mapping myself and mapping my space,” says Lindsey Gradolph, who works as Lindzeanne. An ex-pat for nearly 20 years who is currently based in Tokyo, the artist finds solace in her freehand embroidery practice that produces dense, expressive planes of texture and color. “Sometimes there can be an uncanny feeling of being completely untethered, so I’m creating my own, familiar-to-me topography,” she tells Colossal. “I like to think of each of my pieces as its own little universe, whether that be internal or external. Someplace unfamiliar but perhaps closer than we think.”
Lindzeanne began stitching in order to upcycle clothing, a practical hobby that quickly became more of a drawing practice. Embroidery floss isn’t common in Japan, so the artist instead picked up basic hand-sewing and traditional sashiko threads that she stitches into second fabrics—she references mottainai, the Japanese term that translates to “waste nothing.” “Both those types of thread aren’t particularly useful for creating figurative illustrations or images, so that led me to experiment with different ways of filling a space or creating a design,” she says.
The resulting works are rife with patterns. Circular forms buttress dots in varying sizes, and stripes bisect planes of simple back stitches. Many of the motifs evoke the celestial and organic, whether galactic forms, the flow of bodies of water, or small bubbles drifting upward, the latter of which she tends to render in white. “To me, colors have a personality to them, and shapes have a weight and character to them, so when I’m thinking of a piece in my mind, or sitting down to cut fabric, I’m always imagining the push and pull, or the gravity that certain shapes and colors have with one another,” she says.
As for how long each piece requires, “it takes the time it takes,” she replies, noting that she’s uninterested in quantifying the hours of stitching. “I don’t think about the time when I’m working,” she says. “I like the tactile nature of textiles, and the repetitive nature speaks to me.”
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