Detailed Embroidered Portraits Look Exactly Like Acrylic Paintings

Normally the term embroidery recalls memories of those flouncy pillows at grandma’s house you were never allowed to touch. But Missouri-based artist Cayce Zavaglia is changing the image associated with embroidered art.

Initially trained as a painter, Cayce switched mediums 12 years ago in an attempt to create a non-toxic studio. Over the last decade, she’s created countless hyperrealistic portraits of friends and family—using thread instead of paint.Her history as a painter gave her the necessary training to use cotton, silk, and wool to create depth and volume.

“From a distance I want the person to still think it’s a painting, and then as they get closer I want them to be surprised that it’s actually sewn,” she says in a self-produced video describing her process.

Portraits begin with a photo shoot in Cayce’s studio, which is conveniently located inside of her house. Those images are then recreated in incredible detail.

“I feel like we all have this side that we present everyday, and we might have moles and scars and we do our best to pretty it up and present it to the world. But there’s always this side to us that perhaps no one sees.”

Utilizing both sides of the art emphasizes the importance of inner beauty, as well as projected beauty.

embroidered little girl

embroidered man

reverse of man

woman portrait

Reverse side of embroidery

Check out more of her impressive body of work on her website.

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