Series: Stories from beehive front panels
Motif: by Boštjan Plesničar
Type: Embroidered painting
Technique: Mixed embroidery
Year: 2012 - ongoing
Edition: Limited (30)

Size: Small
Dimension: 32 x 14 cm | 12.6 x 5.5 in
Number of stitches: over 130,000
Thread length: over 2 km | over 1.2 mi
Thread colours: 16
Development: over 50 person hours


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About the artwork

Painted beehive front panels are autochthonous part of Slovene cultural heritage. First ones were done by Slovene peasants in the 18th century and used to carry solely religious motifs, however, in the 19th century, beekeepers turned toward secular depictions, too. Through the last decade, many Slovene painters revive this, almost forgotten art by recreating old motifs in their own modern styles, part of this being a series of beehive front panel embroideries, done by Ercigoj art in cooperation with numerous Slovene artists.

In the eyes of 19th century farmers, women had very sharp tongues – so sharp that they had to be sharpened by the devil himself. Satirical motifs depicting the sharpening of a woman’s tongue have been very popular through the history. Boštjan Plesničar painted the motif in his original style of eroticism.

About the artist

The poetics of Boštjan Plesničar art tends to be intuitive rather than analytic. He often uses magical realism to give everyday subjects new and surprising twists of perspective. His figural motifs are executed passionately. They are often set in a primordial world governed by natural forces still unspoilt by humans. He recognizes things that are beautiful in their imperfection and depicts them with childlike tenderness and awe. As an artist, Plesničar resists the flood of shallow stereotypes present in mass-media imagery – a self-imposed castaway state that also comes with some bitter adult humour.

Born in 1968 in Ljubljana. He graduated and completed his master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana.


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.

The Devil Sharpens a Woman’s Tongue

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