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Handmade Pillows Embroidered with Silhouettes of People Sleeping

Maryam Ashkanian textile artist

Iranian fiber artist Maryam Ashkanian is wowing us with her creative series of embroidered sculptures. Her ongoing series Sleep sees her embroidering sleeping people onto the surface of handmade pillows. The effect is both surreal and magical, as she captures the surprisingly large range of ways in which people rest their heads.

From calm and serene to fitful and restless, each piece portrays the emotions of people at rest. The series is a way to look at dreams in order to enter into a broader universe. “Images of us in dreams are revealed in the right truest evidence; an original icon which introduces us to the peripheral world wildly,” shares the artist.

With an academic background in painting, Ashkanian brings a painterly touch to the work. With the embroidery thread acting as brushstrokes, there is a frenetic energy to each piece. Her works begin with preparatory sketches, which act as a base for her to layer upon. By using textiles, she's able to give the art a dynamic, sculptural form she was not able to achieve through the oil painting she worked with initially.

This contemporary fiber artist uses embroidery thread to depict people sleeping on homemade pillows.

Maryam Ashkanian fiber artistMaryam Ashkanian fiber artistMaryam Ashkanian fiber artMaryam Ashkanian fiber artMaryam Ashkanian textile artistMaryam Ashkanian: Website | Instagram
h/t: [Colossal, this isn't happiness]

All images via Maryam Ashkanian.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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