Ulla-Stina Wikander, born in 1957, originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, lives and works in Kullavik where for almost 10 years she has been making upcycling works with the cross stitch technique.
Since 2012, the artist has sought and collected embroidery, almost all made by women, coming to have a collection of over 100 different designs. With these cross-stitch works, she began to cover ordinary 70s-style household items – from the vacuum cleaner to the electric blender – giving them a new life. Under the hands of Ulla-Stina the most disparate things are transformed and have a second chance, the obsolete, the things we no longer want, old and forgotten become artifacts of a lost age, masked, camouflaged and dressed in new life.
About his creative process Wikander tells us: “I am often disturbed by a bad conscience about my artistry, because I don’t embroider myself. Instead, I collect the used and embroideries of others and by cutting them in a way I destroy another person’s work and passion.
They are usually lost pieces or donated to flea markets and vintage shops, they are something that no person would save, they are often very kitschy items“.
Ulla-Stina defines her recycling and approach to work as feminist. “I started my research about 10 years ago, combining the most banal embroideries and household items that daily surround women; I found myself in my hands a really large collection of cross stitch embroideries, about 100 pieces with very different decorations . The first time I tried to coat a vacuum cleaner from the 70s and I was surprised to feel really enthusiastic about giving it a new life. While I was working on it, I immediately experienced a fun that I would define “gentle” and above all I rediscovered in that object a new beauty that I had not foreseen. For me it is important to reuse garments with care and respect, in order to pay homage to the work of those who made them.“.
Today, Ulla-Stina Wikander decorates both small objects such as telephones, irons, electric mixers, shoes, bags, for which she takes two days of work; but also larger pieces including armchairs, sports equipment and installations that often take weeks to complete. His work is divided between art, the bag company Manussweden (founded in 2013 together with a friend) and a lot of research for his beloved cross-stitched upcycling items.