Embroidery that will have you in stitches


“Burning for you, too” by Richard Saja

New York Designer Richard Saja has developped a following for his handiwork with a needle. Armed with brightly colored thread and a quirky sense of humor, Saja takes traditional toile (fabric printed with pastoral scenes, often featuring people) and superimposes his own story line. He calls his brand of pillows and toile furniture “Historically Inaccurate Decorative Arts.”


“Mr. Birdman” by Richard Saja

Under Saja’s hand, noble ladies and gents are transformed into clowns, monsters, and strange animal hybrids. Cupid angels sprout long locks of Van Halen-esque hair, Abraham Lincoln comes a-courtin’, and luscious bouquets are disrupted by menacing beetles.


In a recent interview on Supernaturale, Saja explains his fascination with toile:

I knew that toile prints were a perfect canvas for hand embroidery: the black line of the print begging to be made more alive through the vibrancy of color, texture and technique afforded by hand embroidery. By wedding traditional toile prints to embroidery I found I had developed something easily accessible to modern tastes: tattoos are now accompanied by rabbit ears on children, cigars in dog’s mouths, nipples, gold chains and mohawks on monkeys.

Of late Saja has been working with glow-in-the-dark thread, which allows a completely new scene to appear on your pillow once the lights are turned off.

(FYI – A Facebook friend posted a link to this artist’s work, and I just couldn’t resist sharing. Thanks for the tip!)

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