Selfies in Stitch

Self Portrait of Melly Testa

We currently live in the era of the ‘selfie’. Participating in social media is almost akin to sharing a life in photographs. ‘Selfies’, photos taken of the self, by the self, are the go to method of getting images out there.

As a young artist going through school to obtain a degree in textile design, I was encouraged to make artwork based on self portraiture. We were shown images of artists who had simply painted themselves as if looking into a mirror, we talked about artists who painted themselves into the periphery of the painting- as say, a member of a crowd, and we discussed depicting ourselves well outside the identifiable, as perhaps a rabbit or a monster, relying on emotion and myth rather than depicting a realistic clearly identifyable image. 

At first, it felt egotistical to use the self as inspiration for artwork. Do you hang the piece in your home? Sell it? Would anyone want to purchase an image of your mug? Do you make self portraits and store them for posterity? How do self portraits fit into the context of the artists overall portfolio of work? Does any of this matter?

Over time, I have come to see the value and the sheer possibility of connection or communion with self when working with imagery that is just so known-to me. It is almost as if I am journaling, digging deeply and using words to explore ideas. But because I am a visual person, I instead get to slow down, take a single stitch and use that time to explore a moment in my personal, visual herstory. 


10 thoughts on “Selfies in Stitch

  1. I haven’t really explored self portraiture and I’m not sure why. You got me thinking. Thanks for the inspiration.


    1. Thank you. Barbara, on Facebook you asked if I was a member of #AQS. This year, I am not. no. I removed the posted on because of this.


  2. Beautiful you. I have never explored self portraiture. I know why. I dislike having my photo taken. I have a mental image of who I am that has no basis in reality and a photo destroys that. LOL! I am a gypsy with long black flowing hair that roams the pastures, caves, ruins, and lakes. I speak to animals and they respond. That is my LaLa Land. I don’t want a photo to show me that I am actually a middle aged dishwater blond with too many cats hanging off my legs (literally!) and I live in a modest house with dust bunnies that have names.


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