Portfolio > Ano Kato, Unside Down

embroidered cloth and drawings on mulberry paper with images of flowers, horses, mermaids, birds and people
Oasis Siwa/Koridalos collaborative
Cloth, sequins, embroidery floss, red carbon, mulberry paper
12 " x 12" each section in grid
2016

Oasis Siwa/Koridalos collaborative was inspired by the stylized botanical motifs of 17th century Cretan embroidery from the Benaki Museum collection, I tracking down the actual plant sources of the embroidery motifs and made realistic prints of the plants on fabric. I sent these prints to women in Oasis Siwa in the Great Sand Sea of western Egypt, inviting them to embroider their own original designs over my prints. The young woman worked together on this collaborative project as they work on their traditional bridal vails. In their homes, not far from the temple where Alexander the Great was crowned Sun King, they embelished my simple prints with imaginative botanical motifs. Using sequins, beads and embrodery thread they brought the motifs of our collaboration back to the more stylized botanicals of the Cretan embroidery. I then transposed these two layes of imagery into drawings and then into prints on fabric. I sent the prints to women inmates of Koridalos Prison who added a third layer of their own over the previous work. Using appliqué and embroidery to depict, stylized birds, animals and people, they brought the collaborative project back full circle to the imagery and spirit of the original Cretan embroidery. These works, wrought by numerous hands in a global exchange, merge past and present in a shared language of fabric and ornamentation.