For a guy growing up in the masculine and male-dominated mid-east, I was blessed with a tender and crafty mother.
My Ukrainian mother Galina indulged in all types of crafts and hobbies, not the least of them was the traditional form of embroidery cross-stitching. Watching my Mom sit for hours, eyes peeled and focused on the circular wooden piece holding the stretched cotton sheet, poking the needle for hours, peeked my interest in this colorful craft. On a lazy day, I grabbed my Mom’s discarded set of threads and needles, stitched a couple of crosses, and I was hooked!
Shapes and images formed with every cross, with every line, with every block. It was like Tetris with single crossed blocks, building up a wall of colors, racing with every repetitive needle poke to finish a line, only to start over with a new one on top of the finished line. It was a demanding, time consuming, detail-oriented work and I loved it, proudly creating several impressive pieces within a year.
One of the most complicated and dense creations, was Our Lady of Kazan, a famous Orthodox icon, which Mom finished after several months of detailed work. We didn’t have a preset template, so I used an existing image, pixelated it in Adobe Photoshop, added cross lines, color printed -and voila! A functional block template, ready to be punctured and mangled into a masterpiece.
The attached image shows the process and the amazing final result. Plus, I’ve included one of my early cross-stitch ventures: a simple Egyptian mural.
Plus, here’s a selection of my Mom’s soft creations below:
Tools used: Colored strings, Canvas, Photoshop.