Series: A Dog's Life
Motif: by Vladimir Leben
Type: Embroidered painting
Technique: Mixed embroidery
Year: 2011
Edition: Unique

Size: Large
Dimension: 152 x 133 cm | 59.8 x 52.4 in
Number of stitches: over 7 mio
Thread length: over 86 km | over 53.4 mi
Thread colours: 132
Development: over 1400 person hours

Price: on request

About the artwork

A couple of years ago, a story appeared in a newspaper about stray dogs from Moscow. After a building boom in the nineties, stray dogs had to evacuate formerly empty industrial halls in the city centre, move to the suburbs and leave the best food sources behind. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long before they figured out the subway system and started to commute daily to the city centre. After a hard day’s work of searching for food, they simply return using the same subway line.


The embroidery captures the dogs in a moment of resting on the train. Embroidered texture emphasises the contrast between cold walls, illuminated by neon lights, and warm furs of the dogs which are brought to life with detailed and smooth shading techniques.

About the artist

Vladimir Leben is drawing moral lessons from animals as examples. He is not inspired by their outer appearance of furs and feathers – of their exact anatomy in a way a naturalist would be. Instead, he portrays them as protagonists in stylized situations that have coded meaning. For this a viewer has to know background of a particular story, often a tragic one. His favourite subjects are underdogs – usually in the appearance of bears and dogs. They are presented as sentient beings, man’s interlocutors and points of identification. Being soft animals with innocent eyes, helps them to get their message across, and builds viewers emotions and empathy.

Born in 1971 in Celje. Studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. He is co-founder of the Museum of Too Modern Art – a unique movement in Slovenian art history. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions with Galapagos project as one of the most successful. He is also an awarded Illustrator and maker of animated films.


Extra big formats

The main problem of big format embroideries are material contractions that make it difficult to correctly position all the details of a motif. To overcome such deformations and other problems, over decades of creating big embroideries, we have developed technical and software solutions that enable us to deliver perfect embroideries of any dimensions and number of stitches.

Extraordinary number of stitches

In a classic embroidery, the number of stitches is somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000, and is limited by stretching and contracting of materials. By overcoming this limitations, we are able to make embroideries with millions of stitches which enables us to produce photorealistic embroideries and recreate any painting of any artistic style.

Innovation of layering

We layer multiple colours of threads and so create rich embroidery and colour texture that is impossible to create with classic one-layer embroidery technique. By layering, we develop colour transitions and shadowing, by which we create multiple-colour surfaces, similar to pointillism painting.

Smooth transitions and shading

By intertwining threads of endless colours and creating colour transitions, we can shape soft shadows, make one surface transition into another and mix colours into an endless multitude of hues. This way, we can also recreate motives from photographs and sophisticated art paintings which wouldn’t be possible with classic embroidery technique, using vector surfaces.

Sophisticated colour calibration

Usually in embroidery, 10 or 20, maybe 30 colours of threads are used. We use around 1,000 colour hues and if a colour still doesn’t match the desired one, we create it by layering and colour transitions. We have digitally scanned colours of all threads by using a spectrograph, so we can colour match any colour from an original material or from CMYK, RGB or Pantone colour schemes.