SWATCHHUB ON CAYCE ZAVAGLIA:
I first came across her work while browsing through 1st Dibs and saw this incredible piece of art, I thought the painting was unlike anything I had seen! I then saw the back of it and was completely floored. ITS EMBROIDERY, not a painting! I continued on to search for more of her work, became a huge fan and decided Id make it a life goal to one day purchase one of her pieces. When I decided to launch a community page she was my dream first post. I took a shot in the dark and sent her a message, little did I know she would be the one to make my day. Her heart warming responses/incredible views on her art is inspiring and made me want to pick up my needle and thread.
Whats your story? How did you start your art?
I was trained as a painter...but switched to embroidery 18 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter and had to establish a non-toxic studio. I always loved crafts as a kid and have been on a quest for years to integrate craft into my work so that the process is equally as important as the portrait.
What is your favorite part of your craft?
I love elevating the ordinary and surprising the viewer as they get closer to a piece....that what they think is a painting is actually an embroidery and what looks like an embroidery is actually a painting. I loved "craft" as a kid but "craft" has always been a dirty word in the art world. Fiber has notoriously been the "F" word of the art world! I like playing with those ideas and I've been successful in incorporating craft into the "craft" of what I do.
When you hit a wall where do you look for inspiration to get you going again?
I look for failures! A big fat failure in the studio is the closest link to creativity than a success in the studio. One of my past "failed" embroideries that I had turned around in my studio so no one could see it...allowed me to appreciate the reverse of the embroidery and was the impetus for my current "verso" series....which are painted versions of the reverse side of my embroideries. This verso side speaks to the other side we each possess...that is knotted and messy and tangled and yet it is the source of strength for the front. I would have never discovered this other side had it not been for a failure in the studio.
What has been your biggest obstacle as an artist?
I can't think of a specific obstacle... because as an artist you are a hurdle jumper and determined to make your work no matter what obstacles you see coming your way. You have to hustle and promote your work if you are jealous that others are getting more recognition than you, you have to be happy with less studio time if you are a parent, you have to get scrappy if you don't have money for the materials you want, you have to continue making work if no one is buying your work, you have to find a way to let your boring day job inspire your studio work if you aren't a full-time artist, and if you don't live in New York or LA and you read the Whitney Biennial list and see the midwest and south and northern states not represented you have to believe that being on the coasts doesn't make you a great artist....making great work makes you a great artist.
What is your dream project?
An ultimate dream project would be a collaboration and a stitch session with Tracey Emin over chats and a pot of hot tea or showing my embroidered portraits back in Sydney, Australia where I spent my childhoo