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Megan Canning's Embroidered Anatomy

Megan Canning is a mixed media artist in New York City. She came to embroidery late after studying painting, ceramics and art education professionally. It was the physical experience of working with fabric that drew her in:

I love the materials, the colors and the texture of thread, of fabric and of paint. I love that when I am doing the embroidery, I am touching the work as I make it, it feels almost like I am in it. It surprises me, the patience I have with the embroidery because I am not what you would consider a very patient person. I don’t know what it is about doing hand-embroidery, but it is so mesmerizing and satisfying, that the slowness of it is not a source of frustration, but instead, a source of pleasure.

Canning developed an interest in the human body, particularly the physical experience of memory and emotion. She explains:

My interest in the body grew out of an interest in memory and how we are profoundly influenced by our interactions with others, carrying those experiences with us, like smells, sounds, touches, etc. It wasn't until years later when a friend recommended a book to me that would actually confirm the idea of "body memory," called "Faith, Madness, and Spontaneous Human Combustion" by Gerald Callahan. He says:

"Most of us don't associate immune systems with hopes and fears, or emotions and recollections. But immune systems do remember things, intricate things that the rest of the body has forgotten. And the memories stored inside our immune systems can come back at unexpected moments, with sometimes startling consequences."

The result of Canning's explorations are embroidered works that explore the intersection of anatomy and emotion. You can view them all here.

-via It's Okay to Be Smart


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