Increasing numbers of women are making a name for themselves in the street art scene in recent years. Instead of using smelly spray paint, they are distinguishing themselves by adapting techniques that are traditionally seen as 'women's work' into the urban fabric of public streets and buildings. So far, we've seen massive urban displays of lace-making, crochet and folded paper origami making their appearance. Now, Spanish artist and set designer Raquel Rodrigo is bringing old-fashioned cross-stitching out into the open with her large-scale installations that weave a bit of colour into the city.
Cross-stitching is the oldest form of embroidery known that's found all over the globe, where many different coloured X-shaped stitches are used to create a visual representation of something. Rodrigo creates these works by using wire mesh and thick, coloured ropes, which she arranges in various patterns. She prepares the piece indoors ahead of time, and when it's completed, it's rolled up, transported and attached to the wall.
Thanks to her background in set design, Rodrigo also creates geometric, meshed frames that are also embroidered with this cross-stitch technique, which can be used for "guerrilla marketing" initiatives, like this one for her own company, Arquicostura. Her aim is to combine these traditional techniques with a street art presence to maximize the impact of these works, whatever their message.
Our cities are often hard-edged and drab places that can't always have the benefit of green spaces to soften them up. Obviously, the next best thing would be to have a bit of art up to soothe the eyes and spirit, and having these traditionally 'feminine' crafts translated for the urban space may be one way to do it, while also honouring the dignity of handicraft. More over at Arquicostura and Facebook.