Ornamenting a Narrative: an Embroidered Portrait
My research aim was to create a portrait following a sequential practice-based process. A female face was analyzed and informed by a mug shot photograph. Lesage embroidery and beading techniques define the facial features and surroundings of the subject matter. The final representation culminates my total experience while researching this woman’s image in a practical and theoretical way. This encompasses the physical procedure of sketching, painting, and embroidering her likeness with a preoccupation and self-awareness to understand the theories engaged during these processes. With this, I looked to Michael Podro’s Depiction and the concept of “subjectification” in creating a portrait. In my studies of the mug shot I sourced Roland Barthes’s theories of “essence” of a person and his concept of “punctum”—the personal and unexplained emotional response caused by a photographic image. Also, I willingly addressed the issues of agency in the subject, viewer, and image-maker relationship.