Friday, December 2, 2011

Big Yes! Runaway by Aubrey Longley-Cook

I adore series that explore a theme, subject or medium. In embroidered art, I've never seen one quite like this crazily innovative series by Atlanta artist Aubrey Longley-Cook. We're talking about combining the beautifully slow, methodical process of stitching with computer animation. No, I'm not kidding.

Runaway 7, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

Meet Gus, who Longley-Cook informs us on his edgy blog spool spectrum, is a stray found wandering the streets of Atlanta who was rescued by his room mate.

I adore this piece alone for the way he stitched the fur, in pooled shades of color, and the lovely sense of movement he captured. His stitching has an ecstatic, hugely energetic quality in this single embroidery. This is a masterful rendering of a running dog in a textile art piece.

Runaway 4, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

But Longley-Cook, who often works in series, doesn't stop with this one image. Consider this next embroidery of gus. Look at the change in his body position, the horizontal line of his back, the curve of his tail, the ear position, three paws, and closed mouth. Look at the giraffe-like spotting of his coat, again stitched in sectioned clumps.

Runaway 1, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

Keep going. The tail position changes. The snout rises. The mouth opens. The coat spots move. The stitching remains fluid and clustered, somehow, at the same time.

Runaway 10, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

How about this piece and the movement it conveys.

Runaway 13, by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2011

And the leaping energy of this one. Consider the way the line of the piece changes with the diagonal positioning of his body. The loop of his tail is reflected in the curl of his front paws. You can feel Gus running. His mouth is opened. His ears flap.

Runaway 14, by Aubrey Longley-Cook,  2011

And then the final piece in which Gus is almost a stitched blur. Look at the way Longley-Cook has changed the shading of his coat, with the heavy, deeper tan on the dog's belly in long stitches.

Now scroll back and look at the pieces as a series of work. On spool spectrum, the artist features 14 embroideries from this series.  Each image is a beautiful, fully-realized capture of the energy, movement and expression of the dog. Taken all together, I am struck by how these pieces are a study of movement, frame-by-frame, rendered in thread.

Now, please go to Longely-Cooks blog HERE and prepare yourself for an unexpected experience in embroidery.

This animated artwork is not merely a novel trick, and it's more than a stitched version of magic flip cards. The way he captures movement through his stitching is incredibly inspiring and eye-opening to me. Actually, that is an understatement.

(And because I'm nothing but a huge nerd, check out this animated clip of the back of his work! It's like looking behind a curtain. It feels so bad!)

Spend some time with Longley-Cooks other series. The man breaks it down. He is badass and hugely talented.

Big, huge, freaking YES!

"Big Yes!" is a new feature on my blog where I will, with their permission, share a piece of textile art that has opened my eyes to the possibility of what we can create.  When faced with things that are truly beautiful or moving or that fill me with awe, I try to say yes. More than that, Big Yes.


  1. This piece is really quite delightful and well made.

  2. All of Aubrey's series are so wonderful and whimsical. I adore his work.

  3. I saw this dog awhile ago, but have never seen the back side. It's amazing!