Ice Embroidery Experiments

Contemporary Embroidery on an Ice Cube

Ice Embroidery Experiments

For the last couple of months I have been considering ways in which I might take my embroidery into new realms – specifically I have been trying to figure out how I might embroider on ice rather than fabric.

Clearly the properties of ice are very very different to fabric! This meant that I had to give careful consideration to the way in which I prepare the ice for embroidery.

In a continuation of my recent work I’ve settled on using cross stitch to embroider the ice. In a bid to keep my initial explorations simple I started off by figuring out how to embroider one cube of ice with a single cross stitch.

This video shows my very first attempt at embroidering an ice cube.

The cube is embroidered with black electrical wire which more or less held it’s shape even once the ice had melted.

Having figured out how to embroider ice with a cross stitch I started to work on some composite creations:

Trying to create larger pieces proved much more challenging. Fusing the ice cubes together was relatively straight forward, however, threading several stitched through the ice at once caused difficulty as the ice of course began to melt in my hands.

Unfortunately due to the thread gathering water from the ice it froze when I tried to place the piece back in the freezer between stitches. Ultimately it took considerable patience and perseverance in order to embroider a larger piece of ice.

One of the other problems I came across was in the documentation of the embroideries. Ice is not a permanent material and so the documentation of the work is becoming even more important than usual.

As you can see in the first two videos above, the video is quite rough and shaky. A small investment in a camera remote has helped to combat this as you can see in the videos below.

Contemporary Embroidery with Ice

Embroidering ice has thrown up some exciting possibilities. Ice as a material presents a multitude of variations and the temporal nature of the materials also offers lots of options in terms of the presentation of the work and the ideas that could be communicated.

I’ve only just scratched the surface with this project so you can expect lots more updates over the coming months.

If you’ve got and questions or suggestions please do feel free to comment.