If the word “embroidery” brings to mind staid, delicate flowers, prepare to be delightfully surprised by Alaina Varrone’s work. The New Haven–based artist creates spectacularly intricate works of embroidery that run the gamut from the intimately familiar to darkly supernatural.
Many of Varrone’s pieces depict groups of female friends hanging out, which she draws upon from her own experiences. “My friends have always been really funny, ridiculous women with strong personalities,” she tells the Cut. “They take up a lot of space either with their bodies or with their spirit.”
Her more mystical embroidery features eerie renderings of swamp monsters, witches, or the demon-goat Krampus, but throughout most of her work runs a common thread of cheeky eroticism. “A lot of it has to do with how much fun it is to stitch naked people,” she admits. “Also, I feel like sex should be fun. There are a lot of young people who follow me and I’m like, you need to expand your ideas of sensuality and stuff. Have some fun and get weird with it.”