Artist Laura Bundesen uses a fascinating and unusual technique in her work. We talked about her portfolio and her business.
ABI: What is your background and how did you develop embroidered painting?
LB: I started embroidering in college in the 70’s and was “that” kid – the one who embroidered all her friends’ jean jackets just for fun. That embroidery style (lots of mandalas and flowers) evolved into using thread to tell a story.
At the same time, I had also started exploring paint and portraiture. One day in the 90’s, I was working on an embroidered figurative piece and became frustrated at the detail and shading that I was able to achieve with the thread. So, I left the face open and went back in with a paintbrush and that is how it all began.
For the past twenty years, I’ve been immersed in experimentation, loving the variance and nuance of combining thread and paint. These experiments have formed the foundation of my technique — using embroidery to capture and highlight portions of a painted piece. I embroider first on raw canvas, then stretch the canvas and paint around it.
It is a painstaking process and very time consuming but also meditative. I especially love the unique texture of each finished piece. I’ve never seen another artist utilize these materials in quite the same way. Most recently, I’ve started including fabric collage and bead embroidery, introducing new elements of print, color and texture.
ABI: What is your current direction?
LB: I’m currently working on expanding my Neuro series and plan to work in a larger format with the brain imagery. I am absolutely fascinated by how our brains work and how magical they really are. In studying the brain, as I map my imagery to what we know about how the brain functions, I’ve been amazed at how much is still a mystery.
I’m intrigued by the difference between the brain and the mind, and our ability to shift our perspective and attention intentionally. I also want to explore more deeply issues around illness in the brain, whether physical or mental. Most importantly, I love it when my customers, some of whom have survived traumatic brain injury and cancer, let me know that my Neuro art inspires them. This perfectly aligns with my goal to bring joy and wonder into the world.
ABI: How do you sell your work?
LB: I do several fine art fairs each year where I have the opportunity to introduce my art to a new audience. This year I traveled from Morristown, New Jersey to Rhinebeck, New York and Wickford, Rhode Island. When people walk into my booth and see my embroidered paintings for the first time they are really struck by how different they are, which spurs a lot of interesting conversation. I also sell online through my website, which I promote through my subscriber list and social media. This year, I started producing limited edition giclee reproductions to introduce my work to art lovers at a lower price point. I love to have my work in as many hands as possible!