I want to reach out and touch Ali Lander-Shindler’s stitched meat series. The Chicago-based freelance artist contrasts the delicate craft of needlepoint with crass, fleshy innuendos and humorously marries them with familiar type. The embroidery has a delectable texture that would make it difficult to refrain from running my fingers along it.
Each piece takes her anywhere between six and 18 hours to complete. She accents the letters with different stitching techniques and beautiful color gradients. The type and color choices are subjective but depending on the innuendo and the weight of its words, Lander-Shindler chooses her typefaces carefully. She traces the lettering onto her canvas or occasionally uses carbon paper transfers. For phrases like “Skirt Steak” she chose a thick, bold typeface as the representative. The gentler phrase “Tender Veal” gets thin, curvy serifs. The “Tender Veal” piece is my particular favorite because the floral pattern of the canvas, which amplifies the contrast between masculinity and femininity and builds the playfulness behind the idea. Lander-Shindler kept to a warm color palette, using reds and maroons, and, in the case of Canadian Bacon, very flesh-colored thread.
The tongue-in-cheek meat series, along with much of Lander-Shindler’s other work, explores instinctual human needs. While she does not intend for her work to preach, Lander-Shindler’s work brings some awareness to objectification and evokes thought about the way humans categorize other humans. But above all, they are meant to be funny. The use of meat was an intentionally grotesque way to analyze what attracts and repels us to one another. The biological imperative most prominently featured in her works is sex — a bold topic for the innocent craft.
Embroidery, taught to her by her grandmother, is therapeutic to Lander-Shindler and she values keeping the the craft alive. She doesn’t have any work for sale at the moment but I’d keep an eye on her Esty shop if any of you carnivores want to dress your kitchen with her cheeky needlepoint.