We all have a part of ourselves that we try to keep hidden from the world. We believe it’s too ugly, too complicated, too messy for everyone to see, so instead, we show the polished side.

That version of ourselves that smooths over all of our hardships; that version that is more comfortable for other people to interact with. But artist Cayce Zavaglia is embracing and expressing both of these sides in her portraits by using a material familiar to us all: yarn.

Image: Front side of one of Cayce Zavaglia's embroidered portaits

Source: Permissions from Cayce Zavaglia

From afar, Zavaglia’s pieces look like your typical painted portrait, but as you get closer and closer the delicate details rendered in the stitching are breathtaking.

As stunning as these details are, the wonderfully symbolic nature of her work is revealed on the back of the canvas…

Image: The messy back piece from Cayce Zvaglias series, Versos, of a woman.

Source: Permissions from Cayce Zavaglia

In the amazing series, Making Art, Jesse Brass highlights artists and the motivations behind their work. Every film is full of nuggets of inspiration and leaves you with a new appreciation for the artists and their creations.

The Making Art feature on Cayce Zavaglia’s process, Verso, looks closely at how she decides whose portrait she creates and why exactly yarn is her chosen medium.  (You can see more fascinating work like this on Jesse Brass’s Vimeo channel.)

Interesting, right?

It makes me wonder; if each of us is actually made up of these bits and pieces that don’t uniformly flow together, what would happen if we revealed these “messy” sides of ourselves to people who we assume don’t automatically align with our lifestyles?

Or, what if, instead of trying our best to appear as if we have it all together, we showed a little more vulnerability? Could an action so simple (okay, it’s a little scary) have the ability to change the trajectory of our lives?

In one of the latest episodes of Hidden Brain, (and EWC team favorite when it comes to remarkable podcasts) they explore how bottling our feelings up in order to appear a certain way effects how we’re able to make and maintain friendships. Could this all boil down to the inability to see that our “messy” sides can be beautiful? If you have the time today, give this podcast a listen and see what you think.

Via: NPR 2

Jesse Brass also created a video for another talented artist, Melanie Norris, who showcases the beautiful “flaws” in our human characters through her paintings.

We’ve actually featured it here before. Take a look:

7 minutes

An Artist’s Rendering of Beauty

There’s beauty in all of us, but sadly, it’s often overlooked.  Today we’re appreciating an artist who creates gorgeous portraits by focusing on who her subjects actually are, instead of what they reveal on just the surface! Join us!

Read More

So, as you go about your day, just keep this in mind: it doesn’t necessarily matter how well put together a person appears, there’s almost always a guarantee that there’s something tangled tucked away behind the surface–and that’s an opportunity to connect.

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it” – Albert Einstein

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  1. “Verso.” Vimeo. Jesse Brass, 11 Feb. 2018. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/255317467>.
  2. Cohen, Rhaina, Shankar Vedantam, and Tara Boyle. “Guys, We Have A Problem: How American Masculinity Creates Lonely Men.” NPR. NPR, 19 Mar. 2018. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <https://www.npr.org/2018/03/19/594719471/guys-we-have-a-problem-how-american-masculinity-creates-lonely-men>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.