Alexis R.
Embroidery of Autonomy

May 29 2021

A few hours ago I found this woman sitting on the floor near the marketplace of a small town in Southern France. She was working on a piece of embroidery and next to her was a finished piece on display. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was the most intricate and hypnotizing artwork I’ve experienced in a long time. It felt so precious and fragile. The amount of dedication and skill was so out of this fast-paced world.

When I asked her how many works of this kind she had done in her life she said “a couple, but you know they’re not so long-lasting, they decompose easily.” At first, I didn’t understand what she meant, but later when I realized she’s living on the street and carries her pieces in her rucksack it made sense. Rolling or folding the canvas repeatedly plus the factor of humidity takes a toll on the material.

Realizing the impermanence of her work intensified the aura of reverence I felt. I hope to meet her again to see how the piece she was working on is unfolding. The finished piece took her six years.

I’m not publishing her name as I’m not sure she would want that. Also, her work is not for sale. She’s doing it for the whole world.

Click on the images to view them in better quality.
At the end of the post there’s also a little video I took.