“Embroid-Me” Stitches Community Collaboration Into Interactive Art Piece

Westchester County is being stitched together at WCC’s Center for the Arts with the community project “Embroid-Me.” Hosted by mixed media artist, museum educator, and adjunct professor Rukhshan Haque, the project invites Westchester residents and WCC students to create a embroidery piece together.

Opened to the public on Saturday Feb. 24 the project and Haque’s solo exhibition, “Interstice – Inter-stitch: The Space Between,” will remain open to the public until March 30.

Participants were circled around a large black cloth with the words “Embroid-Me” stitched in, enticing participants to add to the embroidery, regardless of sewing experience. Lacing together words and designs, guests created multiple art pieces upon a single canvas. At the end of each  20-minute session, they would move clockwise, letting go of their unfinished embroidery, and continuing the previous guest’s work.

“Traditional textile work is often collaborative in nature,” said Haque. “Particularly [in] large-scale works, where the laborers identities can get “lost” in the work.”

Throughout Haque’s work, there is word play, challenging scale sizes, and use of transparency in the embroidery. Glazed mirrors, the words “see me” stitched into projects, and mixed textile pieces holding multiple viewpoints and scales allow viewers to explore the concept of transparency.

Haque’s passion for embroidery can be traced back to her childhood, where she learned a rare stitch called the Sindhi Tanka, a form of embroidery from Sindh, Pakistan. This needle-lace stitch is comprised of two layers, a base layer stitch and a second stitch weaving on top.

“It was the first stitch that I felt challenged by,” said Haque. “Most stitches for me are easy but this is a complex needle-lace.”

Today, many of Haque’s mixed media pieces include the Sindhi Tanka stitch, from photographs printed on textiles to dioramas that showcase the wide range of stitches that can be used to create art.

Haque’s art practice is exploratory and experimental in many regards, channeling growth and connection from her life experiences and the surrounding world around her. Haque expressed that she hopes to do more events similar to “Embroid-Me,” which the Westchester community can interact with.

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