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Ukrainian Artist Makes Striking Embroideries With Cutouts

Diana likes to display her needlepoint creations in scorched trees…

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Diana Yevtukh, an artist from Ukraine, makes stunning embroideries that she then places in scorched trees or other hollowed-out structures. Her vibrant embroidery makes even inanimate objects like rocks and trees come to life.

Despite their bleak surroundings, the bright embroideries seem to offer a glimmer of optimism. “An empty space on the tree finds me first — I start to feel like something that belongs to a place was left out, and then I take measurements and start making the embroidery,” the artist told DeMilked.

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It’s been almost four years since Diana first started making these embroideries. She said, “I try to walk at least 7 kilometres every day, but preferably more; this is a very special, reflective part of my day.” This past winter, as I walked around, I noticed the bare branches of trees by the sidewalks and began to wonder about them.

I perceived them not only as wounds, but as a void waiting to be filled by an argument. “Obviously, my embroidery thoughts have run into these ideas that have been hitchhiking around in my head for months,” she continued.

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I painted in watercolour and oil, created works of art with fluid acrylics, and have been embroidering for what will soon be its fifth year. I prefer to use organic materials, such as cotton fibres and threads, she said.

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Diana continued, “I also totally love the process of making embroidery: even though it is long and very tedious, one work can take from two to six months of everyday work, but the hours spent with threads and the needle are especially warm, pleasant, and calming.”

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“Of all the artistic mediums I’ve dabbled in, embroidery is the most welcoming. In the past four years, I’ve gone without needlework for as long as a few weeks at a time at most. The artist concluded, “In my heart, embroidery will always win the competition against other art mediums.”

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The artist described the first four months of this year as “especially excruciating” due to the effects of the Russian invasion. It’s hard to put into words how terrifying it was, how painful it was, and how hopeless I felt. Day after day, rockets fired from Russia rained down across the country, with many of them falling in Lviv, the city where I live and work. Every other day, air raid sirens ripped through the quiet of the city streets. Embroidery was the only thing that helped me cope with this bizarre, end-of-the-world-like stress. With the recent successes of the Ukrainian counteroffensive painstakingly pushing invaders out of the country, the western part of the country is experiencing a relative lull in the fighting.

I still feel the pain of my fellow Ukrainians in occupied and frontline cities; the suffering and terror the Russians have inflicted on our land is unfathomable. She went on to say that “the war forced me to seek the meaning of civilian life in a warzone setting, so I remade.”

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