For a recent series of embroideries we created for Mosaic Science we wanted to experiment with fabrication and 3 dimensional techniques. The article was on Ovarian cancer and the surgical treatments that susceptible patients can choose between for early prevention and treatment. We wanted to explore cut aways and layering fabric to try to illustrate the surgical choices, women who are susceptible to ovarian cancer face. Whether to remove the ovary completely or remove the fallopian tubes as an alternative and therefore delay early menopause.
We started the process with sketches and cutting into paper to see how these layers could work, but came across some hurdles which were unexpected. The layering of fabric caused moiré effects when we photographed the embroidery. For print this would normally not be an issue, but the article would only appear online. So we changed our approach and instead focused on using unravelled loose threads and negative spaces in the stitching to communicate these options of surgical intervention.
Some early technique tests and working up the final embroideries:
The stitch work was built up with seed stitches and we used a more painterly approach to do the fill areas and shading, and a palette of rich red threads contrasted against a creamy white fabric. We also tried a new technique for us, the appliqué of fabric pieces to add more depth and dimension to the second illustration. This was a subtle effect that still allowed the negative space of the ovary to be the prominent feature. It's a technique we'd like to explore further. It would be interesting to see how the effect would work with lettering.
The article can be found here. Thank you to our agents Handsome Frank and Peta Bell for the great project.