Snuggled up on her couch, Brooklyn’s own thimbelina embroiders dreams into existence. Her fingers fly and worlds of wonder are stitched together with dizzying color and imagination.
From Drake to Henry Darger, Molly Stern embroiders across themes and genres - her painstaking and tenacious works reinventing the art. The color is explosive and magnificent, often even more brilliant than the original works themselves. Her rendition of Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls or Realms of the Unreal is perhaps one of her most stunning pieces. The delicate details unfurl in the petals of the poppies and in both the subtle and drastic changes of tones. Even with just a quick glance, the depth of patience and passion is visible in exquisite glory. But while Darger practiced with a muted and softened color-scheme, Stern throws caution to the wind and pours the vibrancy of life into the piece. And while the chroma concocts a sort of celebration, it is the more uncouth pieces that she revitalizes that provide daring dynamism and intrigue into her work.
The disjuncture of subject and medium in Stern’s version of Edward Gorey’s A Dull Afternoon appeals in its essence of juxtaposition. Traditional hand embroidery tends to evoke more innocent images of flora and fauna or simple decorative motifs, but the appropriation of understood preconceived notions and its use for the macabre or semi-grotesque augments the versatility and allure, enlivening the form and opening up a new world of perception. Stern continues to push and pull with her handiwork through the creation of her own personal pieces, which range from pop figures to personalized commissions. Drake serves as a prominent figure for both patches and shirts, a nod to the ability of an ancient craft to expand itself into contemporary culture. Stern also works on commission pieces with couple portraits being a Valentine’s Day gift favorite. Her ability to recreate facial likenesses is an applaudable skill itself, but in a medium of more rigid lines it’s almost magic.
As a literary editor in New York City, Stern’s embroidery is a labor of love and a hobby, which she proudly exhibits through Etsy and her personal Instagram - butter_pups. Admiring her masterful skill, one is motivated to pick up their own personal passions – creativity is not for the passive. Utilizing both traditional motifs and the more offbeat and obscure, Stern’s embroidery is idiosyncratic, scintillating with warmth, fascination and charm. The young artist calls our attention to the craft, tempting our eyes and imagination with each and every stitch. Through re-imaginations of classics or in her own esoteric creations, we follow each small line of cotton and find our selves mesmerized by the vivid whole.