A photograph has the intense power to evoke a moment of long-gone by, a visceral connection to the past, and yet while we might not feel a personal connection to the person or people, we still have visual access to a story.
l discovered the thought-provoking work of calligrapher & fibre artist Han Cao via the eclectic and visually abundant social media platform Instagram, a scrolling moment led to a “Wow, now that is a unique and creative approach to embroidery”…wishing to see more l eagerly clicked ´Follow´.
Combining the handicraft and intricacy of embroidery and the papery fibres of antique photographs, long forgotten memories are given a breath of new life – with wit and soulful meaning.
The swirls of a steam train captured from a canyon scene become enchantingly surreal, as they move out and upwards above the edge of the fragile frays of a vintage postcard.
A gentleman’s suit is re-imagined, from black & white – blossoming into full bloom, while a May queen radiants in all her magnificent flowery splendour – inspired by the song ´Wildflowers´
Which nicely leads me to the pieces that l find most thought-provoking – the portraits…where faces have been exquisitely replaced by embroidery – and in some cases an explosion of colour. l felt compelled to dig deeper…Han Cao goes onto beautifully describe…
“My ´flower wife´ series which celebrates the life and beauty of women, who often appear secondary in photographs from the early 1900s. The flowers represent natural beauty, but also strength, as flowers return season after season in full bloom.“
As a creative who believes in the magic of story-telling, and the inner-connections that life weaves, l am truly captivated by the work of Han Cao.
l have high hopes you’ll be captivated just as much as l am…
Photo credit: Han Cao website / The flower wife seated (´flower wife´series)