For needle artist Elisabetta Sforza, of San Bonifacio, Italy, childhood strolls through the ancient byways of Assisi led to creative expression. Women sat outdoors then, she recalls, embellishing linens with mythological figures rendered in powder blue or rusty brown. Captivated by this style of cross-stitch, the 7-year-old was also taken with the camaraderie among the villagers as they worked.
Custom monograms–whether depicted with traditional padded letters or with modern floral interpretations–are a mainstay of the artist’s commissioned designs. For her garden-inspired initials, trailing vines bloom with a profusion of bullion roses and other exquisitely conceived blossoms.
Intricate botanical reproductions draw the eye with their realism. Technically, the pattern develop from a series of long and short stitches laid in sequential rows, like brushstrokes–a method referred to in Italian as punto pittura (stitch painting). The secret of such nuanced replicas, Elisabetta explains, is choosing the right palette. Graduating from pastel, sun-kissed colors to darker hues, she blends embroidery floss to form softly shaded petals that appear true to life.
For more on Elisabetta Sforza’s needlework, see “Harmony Among the Stitches,” in the July/August 2015 issue of Victoria magazine.