Needlepoint has long been associated with grandmothers’ passing time at the nursing home. However, crafting has become trendy in recent years, and for some profitable, with the help from websites like Etsy and craft fairs like Blim. One woman who has managed to turn the craft into a proper art form is Australian Cathy Tipping. She will be showcasing her needlepoint portraiture work at Antisocial Gallery this Friday, and it will run until the end of the month. Inside Vancouver recently caught up with her to talk about how she got started with such a unique medium.
I have been needlepointing for eight years now.
How did you get started ?
It began as a hobby, I made a resolution to teach my self an instrument or a craft and throw out the TV.
How did you start doing portraits?
When I took up this craft, I went to a thrift store to pick some old 70s needlepoint kits but didn’t like the pictures which were all Australiana landscapes. This spurred on an idea to design my own templates and match the closest colour of knitting wool I had lying around at home. I only had photos of friends on my computer at the time and no Internet so I used a photo of my beautiful friend Courtney who had a wild haircut and thought it would be a nice gift. I never gave it to her because her eyes looked a bit cross-eyed. It’s on my studio wall. I like to think I have come far. Although this show is of portraits I have moved from portraiture to larger scaled works.
How long does it take you to do a portrait?
Depends on the hairdo! A few days, a couple of weeks. I have tried to work with other more complicated stitches and also weaving but I have found the simple long stitch method is most effective for how I want images to be translated. It is also the quickest technique.
Did you see this turning into an art show?
No I didn’t but I became obsessed right away. There is something very therapeutic about it for me, perhaps channeling OCD tendencies in a good way! I think the nature of this craft and its meticulous process slows me down in this fast paced world.
What was your connection to Vancouver?
I lived in Vancouver six years ago. A lot of Australians in their early twenties lived in either England or Canada. I chose Vancouver because close friends had lived here and it changed it their life in a really positive way. This city is unique because it offers the urban qualities city folk love plus so many outdoor activities . You can go hiking or snowboarding 20 minutes away, take off on a bike ride through Stanley park via the sea wall, hang at the beach and then have a good night out on the town and see some amazing music, drink some fine beer and see some incredible art.
The show opens Friday January 11th at 7-10 p.m. at Antisocial Gallery, 2337 Main Street and runs through out the month of January.