Artist Catherine Tipping‘s embroidery series Filter is not your average Etsy collection. The literally and figuratively multilayered work explores the “history of adornment in image making” by mimicking digital art practices through antiquated and analog textile processes.
With stitches standing in for pixels, her textile portraits include glitchy stylizations and other digital tropes in an effort to “create a tension between the labor-intensive character of stitching wool and the complexities of digital image making.” Accordingly, the work could look like a pixilated portrait or a meticulously-crafted tapestry based on how far away you’re looking at the images.
On a simply aesthetic level, the intricate, realistic portraits are stunning. But the series is more complex than just some crafty needlework. In her project description, Tipping elaborates that both embroidery and digital images are symbolic signs, as they are “something that stand for something” different. Digital images “mimic reality, they have photographic credibility although never filmed.” Embroidery, too, uses physical processes and many parts where “the stitches [serve] as the symbol where the interpretant pulls all the stitches/pixels together.” Both ultimately use a mapped grid of dots to comprise a whole image.
Filter juxtaposes seemingly contradictory imaging processes, but ultimately reveals their semiotic similarities. As a follow-up, we’d love to see the artist craft digital images that look like unmistakable physical tapestries. Until then, we can check out Tipping’s other awesome, thought-provoking work on her website.