Swedish artist Ulla-Stina Wikander transforms ordinary household items from the ’70s into works of wonder, by covering them up with cross stitch embroidery. Born in 1957 and raised in Gothenburg, Wikander has been working as an artist since 1986. “I started to collect cross stitches […] but I didn’t know what to do with them,” she shared with HAHAMAG. “I found them beautiful, and I admired the work behind.”
Then in 2012, she began to cover objects with her collected embroideries. “I decided to try to cover things from the ’70s, a sewing machine, a typewriter for example, and it went well,” she says. “It was like you saw the objects for the first time, and you weren’t sure of what you were looking at”. Over the years, her embroidery collection grew to over 100 different designs. She admits to having mixed feelings for these embroideries which are often seen as kitsch and regarded as worthless.
“I am very meticulous when I cover the objects,” says Wikander. “If these women made perfect embroidery, I would like to make the ideal covering, and I make that by sewing and gluing. It is my way of showing respect to these women whose embroideries I cut apart (that hurts, every time).”
Her favorite embroidery motives and colors include typical Swedish small red cottages in the countryside with blue sky and birches, as well as wild animals, like elk, deer, and birds, often seen in woodlands. Each of her “dressed-up” pieces can include anything from a day or two to weeks to complete, depending on their size.