Embroidered mandalas from kaleidoscope photography of snippets of stiches

Yellow embroidered mandala
Embroidered mandalas photographed with a kaleidoscope filter. Click on the image for a larger file.
Embroidered mandalas detail
Closeup of the original embroidered mandala. Click on the image to view in greater detail.

In the studio last week we photographed embroidered mandalas with a kaleidoscope filter for a completely new arrangement of stitches. The intention of the embroidered mandala project is to allow patterns to develop from the bottom up. The process of bounces between the constraints of the physical craft and the immediacy of the digital photography.

The embroidery itself is very slow and requires a lot of patient concentration. The patterns shown here were developed directly while embroidering, following a few simple rules of connection between stitches, gradation of color, and a sense of overall movement in the mandala.

The photography using the kaleidoscope filter is fast and exciting as the stitches mirror and fold into new patterns on the screen.

Digitally Embroidered Mandalas

All the embroidery is by hand, to be sure, but the composition of elements in the photos below is digital using snippets of the actual embroidery. All the images below were generated by selective photography of the mandala shown above.

Closeup of a koleidoscope filtered photo of the mandala.
Closeup of a kaleidoscope filtered photo of the mandala.

Selecting just a small portion of the colorful original mandala created completely new color palettes. Below, blue and red mandalas reflect the small snippets of manual stitches that are repeated to create new patterns.

Purple embroidered mandalas
A blue snowflake pattern appeared from a small portion of the center of the original mandala.
Koleidoscope filtered photo of a small part of the embroidered mandala.
Kaleidoscope filtered photo of a small part of the embroidered mandala.
Red embroidered mandala
A focus on just the warm hued stitches and a very thin pie slice of stitches created a subtle and powerful effect.

In the next stage, the patterns that were generated with this kaleidoscope photography will be in turn embroidered by hand. The pattern will be printed on paper, pinned to the linen, and “copied” by hand. This hand embroidery of the pattern is the final artifact.

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