Cross Stitch : Stitching Memories: Cross Stitch Portraits
Stitching Memories: Cross Stitch Portraits
By Caryl Grecia
Sometimes, usual photographs look so common and boring. Converting your pictures into charcoal or oil painting is a welcome change but then, a lot of people have been into these crafts already that there are times when these portraits too, look clichéd. There could also be a time that a charcoal or oil painting of your photo does not look exactly the same as your original photograph. I have been a witness to several charcoal portraiture failure. Have you ever had your portrait done in charcoal in which the result didn't actually look like your image?
There's a new option to the dilemmas of boring photographs and failed charcoal and oil (even water-color) paintings and that is the cross-stitch portrait. It is converting a favorite photograph into an elegant and artistic needlecraft. However high-tech the snapshot is, it will be captured exactly, even the tiniest detail, in a cross-stitch portrait.
A picture is scanned and then converted into a cross-stitch pattern. A pattern looks like a chart of tiny squares on a paper. Each square symbolizes a stitch. And stitches are the details of the pictures. It is amazing to see a picture being converted into a pattern for cross-stitch. A snapshot, especially a colored one is the faithful replica of a person, a pet or of a significant event. In it, the image, especially the skin of a person appears to be plain flesh-colored (dark, fair, brown, yellow, etc.). But in a cross-stitch pattern, the skin alone could have three or more shades of whatever skin tone the person in the image has. Even an all-black hair could have shades of gray, dark gray and light gray for more emphasis.
This is due to the light reflections upon taking the picture. It could be from the flash or the shadow of the sun when the picture was shot outdoors. However, in a snapshot, it does not really matter because the focus would be just on the image. But in a cross-stitch portrait, every tone of the skin, every shade of the hair (whether plain colored or highlighted) is considered. And in the end, the portrait is not only a faithful replica but is almost exactly the original image of the person, pet or the significant memory.
The cotton threads used in cross-stitch give the picture its almost-real image. Basically, the fabric used as a background is a woven linen depending of the count, which gives the finished portraits the unique, handmade look.
Snapshots are the mementos of a very special figure or event in a person's life. Take for example a wedding. Loads of films are used (or if digital camera is used, the memory is all occupied). There are unfortunate times when pictures get ruined because a) liquid was spilled on them; b) kids tore them up; c) they get browned being stored in the attic and more. However, a cross-stitch portrait, if ever spilled with liquid could be sent to dry-cleaning (or laundered even); it could not be torn-up easily; and should it get browned, again, the dry-cleaners can see that it gets back to its original colors (unless the fabric used for background is a black woven linen). But, there would be a slim chance (to none) that these misfortunes could happen because once a cross-stitch portrait is finished, it is put in a frame and then placed on a wall for everybody to see and admire.
Cross-stitch is one of the best ways to preserve the most memorable moment of a person's life. It is because cross-stitch can survive time. Proofs of this are the unearthed remnants from the year 500 AD. This could mean that when a portrait today is saved in a cross-stitch, it could live up to 500 years more!
Cross-stitch was a fad only for the religious, royals and the elites in the early age. That is because cross-stitch was a symbol for status in the society. Cross-stitch was considered an elegant, classic and artistic needlecraft that even the famous figures in history such as Queen Elizabeth 1 and Mary Queen of Scots (who, even in captivity) did cross-stitch. It would be magnificent to put back elegance and class in today's technologically advanced homes and derive pleasures only the religious, the royals and the elites enjoyed way back in time through hanging cross-stitch on walls.
When a portrait is saved in a cross-stitch it is like stitching the memories and the feelings back to life along with the image. Every detail considered is every minute of the memory treasured and labored with. And it is 100% guaranteed that the outcome of the portrait is the exact image of the memorabilia because of the accurate conversion of the photo to the cross-stitch pattern. •
© 2004 Caryl B. Grecia. All rights reserved.
Caryl B. Grecia works for Sphinx Cyberworld Ventures whose website features custom-made cross-stitch portraits.