An artist from Devon, UK is putting the landscape around her on canvas using not paint, but needles and thread. Victoria Richards’ Instagram title chromato_mania gives you a hint about the nature of her work before you even see it: on the page, where she showcases her finished pieces as well as progress shots of her embroidery frames, you can find small landscapes in beautifully rich and contrasting colors, using neat, long stitches to create fields, and fluffy knots for trees and brush. Her landscapes are inspired by the pastoral views where she lives, looking out over hills or down long roads.
Out of all of her works, however, it seems that the ones getting the most attention are her aerial landscapes. The pieces show the geometric patchwork of farmland covering the English countryside as seen from an airplane or satellite image, but lovingly hand-stitched in rich colors, and it’s a fresh take on landscape scenes.
Scroll down to see her fun-sized nature scenes, and read what she told Bored Panda about her work in an interview!
Embroidery had a notable resurgence in the 2010s, largely driven by artists sharing their works on Instagram. Since then, we’ve seen people using its multimedia nature to make touchably three-dimensional pieces and take thread to unexpected objects.
Richards says she discovered embroidery at just the right time: "I'm someone who is prone to depressive moods, and realised at university last year that a key trigger for this is boredom. I've always had a thing for art, and decided to do some to fill my empty spaces between studying—I'd already tried many types through my life and never really found an art medium I could fall in love with. Then I saw some gorgeous embroidery landscapes from others artists online by chance, and realised I'd never tried that before! I picked some nice blues and greens out my grandmother's old embroidery tin in October 2018 and had my first go, and I haven't been bored since!"
The name that she chose for her art pages, chromatomania (chromato- is a Latin prefix meaning color,) reflects the emphasis on saturated colors in her embroidery.
"I do see colour as a key focal point in my embroidery—colours in particular can invoke such a variety of emotions! I think I emphasize my colours for a couple reasons, one being as it makes things more optimistic—actually, I tend to think of my art style as 'optimistic'! I like to make even rainy days and dark nights seem bright and exciting!" she says proudly of her work.
"But I think my Asperger's syndrome also plays a part. I have sensory sensitivity due to my autism and the world is high definition around me—small noises are too loud, colours are too bright, small touches are overwhelming and stressful. To me, everything around me is emphasised, so I guess it makes sense that I perhaps emphasize things like colour in my art too, as it seems natural to me."
As for her signature aerial landscape pieces, when asked whether you could find them on a map, she says it's more of a creative process.
"My aerial pieces aren't true to life or replications of real places—I tried one of those recently and didn't enjoy it at all, it removes the imagination element and I just want to be able to do whatever I want!"
"I do occasionally use Google Earth to get inspiration, though, for shapes," she explains the process. "I don't plan my pieces as such—I just make a rough sketch on felt for the trees and work from there!"