At first glance, this dramatic scene of a kingfisher bird diving into the water could be mistaken for a photograph. But, look again. It's all created using thread. The incredible image is the work of the embroiderers at XQ Vietnam, a group of stitchers who create amazingly realistic works with just a needle and floss.
Using the thread painting embroidery technique, XQ Vietnam creates layers of stitches in a variety of colors to build tone and volume. This is exemplified on the body of the kingfisher, particularly on the back of its head and its neck. Blues, grays, and deep browns come together to create the delicate barbs of the feathers. Additionally, the direction of the thread makes a difference; the way in which the thread lays furthers the illusion that this bird is really diving underwater to grab a fish.
Creating this piece was a demanding task, but it's one consistent with the craft. “The most challenging part of embroidery is details and patience,” XQ Vietnam tells My Modern Met. “I have to use the right color for each of the details and be patient with it. Not every time the embroidery goes as what I want so I have to cut it out to restitch that part.”
If you’re thinking of trying embroidery, don’t let the slow process dissuade you. “Some artworks can take years but as long as you enjoy it,” XQ Vietnam says, “everything will be possible.”