Embroidery tattoos: needle work of needlework
February 17, 2020 5:09 PM   Subscribe

People Are Getting Colorful Tattoos That Look Like Embroidery on Skin (My Modern Met): "From thread painting to freestyle, stitchers have a lot of choices when it comes to making images with thread. Embroidery tattoos feature two predominant methods that are inspired by the ancient practice: cross stitch and crewel. The cross stitch tattoo, first made popular by Eva Karabudak, has designs formed by tiny "X" marks, while the crewel approach mimics the satin stitch on the skin." Brazil's Duda Lozano is the the master of the patch tattoo.

More: Embroidery Tattoos Are Taking Over, And They're Too Elaborate For Words (Revelist).
Unless specified all links are to the artist's Instagram.
posted by not_the_water (22 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of those are incredible!

I very much wonder how they will age, though. A bunch of stuff you can do with tattoos looks great a month after you get it put on and like garbage in 10 years.
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

The embroidery is crazy. Srsly.
posted by Glinn at 5:38 PM on February 17, 2020

Yes, these are gorgeous, but I also wonder how well they'll age. Even the tattoos that are high quality and taken care of tend to blur a little bit and it's my understanding that some colorwork blurs more without a black outline (although I could be wrong there).

I know most tattoos can be touched up but fine lines are the first to go.

(I am a big cross stitch fan, though, and I'd love to see more modern applications of cross stitch so I love the look.)
posted by darksong at 5:49 PM on February 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

The 3d effects are incredible and believable.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:15 PM on February 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

These are crazy beautiful!!
posted by kimberussell at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2020

Some of these are really good! I also wonder how some will age, but that's also true of all tattoos, especially when people are trying new techniques. I have a couple that are now ~30 years old, and I am liking how they show signs of age, just like I do. Crisp and sharp new tattoos are beautiful, but I also like seeing old and sometimes really blurry tattoos on people; it's a visual history of a life.

I have seen a few cross-stitch tattoos in the last year; I have also been seeing more and more fiber-arts inspired tattoos in general. It's a trend I like, whether or not it ends up lasting.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

I want to love the patch tattoos, but I can't let go of knowing that that's not how embroidery is done - you fill in large solid-coloured areas with a combination of alternating long and short stitches to give a smooth blended look, you don't do parallel rows of same-colour stitching with an obvious ditch between them. The patch tattoos are somebody's idea of how embroidery is done. Does that sound nit-picky? well, yeah I guess... but if you're going to imitate another art form, my personal opinion is that you should have some sort of passing familiarity with how that art form is made. Otherwise you risk having embroiderers cringe a little inside when they see your tattoo, and then we have to fake admiration.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:02 PM on February 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

I think those patch tattoos are more made to look like commercially stitched patches you might buy from a street vender or wherever. They look entirely like those sorts of programmable machine quick-made patches to me which are not done even as well as Boy Scout patches which are much more the sort of stitching you're talking about.

It seems to be a deliberate choice, and even if it isn't true to how actual embroidered patches are done, it is so evocative (and allows for the black outlining which is needed to give the tattoo depth and a trompe l'oeil effect.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on February 17, 2020 [14 favorites]

Mostly I can read it as a sort of bargello stitch, but there’s one in which the putative long floats curve within the design. Needs to have a snag fool-the-eyed in.
posted by clew at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2020

Oh wow, a lot of these are absolutely gorgeous. I am taking NOTES toward future tattoos.
posted by Stacey at 5:06 AM on February 18, 2020

you risk having embroiderers cringe a little inside when they see your tattoo

No Rugrets
posted by flabdablet at 5:33 AM on February 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

These are incredible! I was not expecting them to look so realistic.
posted by stripesandplaid at 6:10 AM on February 18, 2020

Those are the first tattoos I have ever seen, that I can imagine wanting to wear on my body.
posted by elizilla at 6:42 AM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's a reason for the saying "bold will hold." Someone who does custom tattooing is a combination of artist and artisan -- an artist in the conception and design of the tattoo and an artisan in both conceiving and executing a tattoo that takes into account the effect of things such as aging, skin type, location, etc. over time. These tattoos seem like good art but perhaps not very good artistry. I don't see them aging well at all. They don't even look like tattoos that could be sharpened up every so often.
posted by slkinsey at 7:23 AM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

These are amazing! Thanks for making this post
posted by Mchelly at 10:17 AM on February 18, 2020

there are also a lot of really cool knitting/crochet and other fiber arts tattoos. yay tattoos!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:37 AM on February 18, 2020

I very much wonder how they will age, though. A bunch of stuff you can do with tattoos looks great a month after you get it put on and like garbage in 10 years.

They will eventually get caught on something and get pulls. Then you've got to get a special needle to twist the threads around and pull them back through the skin.
posted by srboisvert at 7:38 PM on February 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Is anybody out there wearing actual embroidery, like a piercing/tatts mashup?
posted by flabdablet at 9:56 PM on February 18, 2020

I've seen corset piercings but it's temporary.

Tattooing via skin sewing is also interesting.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:09 PM on February 18, 2020

Should have searched before posting. The answer is, of course, yes.
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 PM on February 18, 2020

I'm with Mary Ellen Carter. You'd never have rows of satin stitch going through a face like that. I love the idea but not the execution.
posted by bink at 9:52 AM on February 21, 2020

These are beautiful, but such a tease for me. I have 2 large tattoos that have aged well except my skin in the 12 years ive had them seems to have sucked up and digested any pink and pale blie and green tones. The bolder colors and outlines are still there though which keeps things tidy.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:16 AM on February 23, 2020

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