Han Cao is a self-taught fiber artist who embellishes with hand embroidery on found paper (usually old, abandoned photographs). She currently lives in Dallas, TX and her work brings a textured layer of embroidered story: often funny, whimsical, and sometimes heart-wrenching, to long-forgotten images of people and places.
“My artwork aims to create modern narratives for found photos – connecting the people of the past with those of the present. I love the unexpected texture created from needle and thread, how it makes people become more intimate with the work…. This sudden intimacy invites viewers to create their own dialogue with these distant strangers, as they engage the artwork up close. The varied stories captured in my work reflect personal views on gender, relationships, and societal roles, explorations in connection [and] disconnection, and also my sense
of humor.” –Han Cao
Links for Further Exploration
- Artist website
- Artist Instagram
- Colossal spotlight: Embroidered Patches Redefine Vintage Postcards and Photographs
- Colossal spotlight: Hand-Stitched Flowers and Landscapes Revitalize Found Photographs by Artist Han Cao
- Philadelphia Gallery exhibit
- Article: Han Cao’s Whimsical Embroidery
- Contemporary Art Curator: Spotlight on Han Cao
Invitation to Creativity
Find some photographs (old or new) that you have copies of, or don’t mind permanently altering. Images could be of people in your family, or of strangers. Play around with your oil pastels or with embroidery or collage and alter the images to bring a layer of story and/or emotion that you see (or want to embody and make others see) in the image.
You could also find a picture of yourself and manifest your Creative Self by altering the photo with various mixed media. Who is the Creative You that alters, transforms, and Makes?