The Folklore Company Logo
Which embroidery suits you?
Take the quiz

Upcycle an old painting into a unique artwork

I hope you had a happy new year all of you creative crafters. A new year with a new start and we’ll celebrate that by giving new life to an old artwork.

I got the idea when I saw and got inspired by two textile artists who works with embroidery on photographs.

Maurizio Anzeri is an Italian artist living in London. He’s work gives new life and dimension to (mainly) black and white photos by adding geometrically shaped embroidery. Beautiful? I’ll leave that for you to figure out. Interesting? Definitely.

Left: Maurizio Anzeri , Right: Victoria Villasana

Another textile artist working with portraits and print is mexican Victoria Villasana. Unlike Anzeri she works with a lot of color and maybe it’s the strong colors mixed with her unique techniques that gives her art both a feminine and folkloristic look.

I decided to use a regular, framed canvas (you can find these in various art shops) that I painted with acrylic paint. The painting that I’ll be using as a base is something I painted about one year ago and it has, since then, been collecting dust at home.

If you don’t have any spare paintings at home waiting for a make over you’re more or less guaranteed to find one at a second hand shop. Paint something on it yourself first or use the original artwork.

Since we’re all fond of words here at the Folklore Company I decided to embroider a quote. I simply drew the letters I wanted on the canvas and then I started to embroider. To outline the letters I used stem stitch and then filled them with a plain satin stitch.

Additionally, to add some color to the painting I used cross stitch to create some flowers.

There’s a few things to keep in mind if you would like to try something like this. Avoid embroidering on a large canvas. (My painting is about the size of a A4 paper). The larger the painting, the more complicated it will become since you won’t have the flexibility of a fabric and therefore have to turn the painting over for every stitch. Also, make sure not to draw your motif too close to the canvas frame since it’ll be rather hard to do stitches in those areas.

With those final tips I wish you all the best with your future crafting! Here's my final result:

- Elisa