Inside the Studio

Michael on stitch-resist

Michael Milano gives us a step-by-step behind the scenes look at how he combines traditional stitch-resist techniques and cyanotype to create his works for the Seattle Art Fair in August 2019.

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“My most recent body of work is a selection of cyanotypes on fabric. Drawing formally on cross-stitch samplers and ancient textiles, these works combine an early photographic process with even older resist dyeing techniques: shibori, batik, and stitch resist—processes that historically employ indigo dyes.”

— Michael Milano

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“In these works, cloth is prepared by stitching, binding, and applying wax to resist the photographic chemicals in precisely the same way one would prepare an indigo-dyed cloth. After exposure to the sun and removal of the embroidered threads, the photographic process produces an index—a literal trace of the time and labor of stitching.”

— Michael Milano

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“On a technical level, the works are motivated by the fact that indigo dyeing requires controlled exposure to air, while cyanotypes require controlled exposure to light; however, both processes achieve their characteristic blue hue through a process of oxidation, reacting with oxygen molecules in water and air.”

— Michael Milano

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“By wedding traditional stitch resist techniques with modern cyanotype printing, the pieces reveal a latent correlation between the two distinct processes.”

— Michael Milano

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