“petrified and totally excited”

Embroidery. Yes, everything except that lovely pink background is done with thread. THREAD. Cayce Zavaglia is an American painter who now uses stitches instead of brushstrokes – although, paint has recently come back into her arsenal. In reverse. Huh? Well just listen right up there under “Florence”, or subscribe on iTunes, and it will all make sense very soon.

First, a handful of Cayce’s insanely beautiful embroidered portraits… brace yourself for the realism:

Yeah, thread. Teeny tiny perfect little stitches, all coming together to create absolutely stunning portraits of Cayce’s friends and family. I mean, WHAT!?

So creating this work is exciting enough, but then she started flipping her pieces over and VOILA, the “Verso” series:

Messy but beautiful… just like life.

Well, why stop there, right? Might as well be “petrified and totally excited”! Here’s what happened when Cayce decided to pick up her paints again:

Gasp! Verso paintings! And wait until you see them in context {especially that last piece above}:


Double gasp!

And finally, I have to show you some of Cayce’s process shots… found, of course, on her dreamy Instagram feed:

Love! And there she is in action. Seriously, I could NOT do what Cayce does. Thank goodness for that little ball she squeezes while stuck in traffic so that her hands stay strong! Thanks so much to Cayce for doing this with me; thanks to Saatchi Art and Thrive for supporting the episode; and BIG thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Sarah Ball, Artist
  2. Alex Katz, Artist



comments (11)

  1. Cayce /// 09.22.2018 /// 6:46am

    Thankyou Thankyou! So fun to chat. Thankyou for the opportunity and Thankyou for trying to get Sarah Ball on the podcast. I forgot to tell you she is very shy. Xoxo

  2. the jealous curator /// 09.22.2018 /// 6:47am

    ha! thank YOU, cayce (and yes she is … but oh, so very nice!)

  3. Michelle Kingdom /// 09.22.2018 /// 9:39am

    Beautifully sensitive work and it was a delight to hear Cayce’s story!

  4. Tarol Samuelson /// 09.22.2018 /// 12:37pm

    Cayce, You are tapped into some kind of a secret club, only you and the gods know about. So fantastic!

  5. Jo Clutton /// 09.23.2018 /// 4:48pm

    Brilliant work Cayce! And I love the fact that you turn the work around for a totally different view. Exactly what I would have done!

    Creating My Odyssey – Liberating the Real Me After Thirty Years Of Depression and Anxiety

  6. Rebecca /// 10.02.2018 /// 9:52pm

    Gorgeous artwork and fabulous conversation! As a mother to be, I love hearing from parents who thrive on making great art.

    I have to add that if you both love The Great British Bake Off, you MUST watch The Great Pottery Throw Down. It’s produced in the same style and is entirely focused on ceramics and passion for pottery.. I binge watched both seasons online in a fortnight. Such delightful jerk-free entertainment.

    Enjoy! Bec

  7. the jealous curator /// 10.03.2018 /// 7:51am

    what!? that sounds AH-MAZING!!!! thanks bec!

  8. Leah MacFarlane /// 10.16.2018 /// 12:53pm

    Also, don’t forget the Great Canadian Bake Off!! Just as charming, and exactly the same format. But I wanted to say about your arthritis….get checked for Rheumatoid Arthritis if you are having trouble (you can look up symptoms online) because early, aggressive treatment for this disease (which I have) can stop you from ‘losing’ your hands (not actually losing them, but losing from a working perspective). As an artist yourself, such critical tools!! I loved the interview (as I have all of them), the podcast is so inspiring. Thanks for it and all you do.

  9. Leigh Hannan /// 08.07.2019 /// 7:51am

    This was a great interview, and I’m always intrigued by the backs (or behind the scenes) of people’s work! As for the British Bake Show: Oh my word, I wish we could see all 11 seasons, but we only got 4 in the US (which I watch repeatedly). I love when the music gets all dramatic and everyone is on their knees peering into their ovens….it’s the best show 🙂
    Thanks for another great interview!
    Leigh xo

  10. the jealous curator /// 08.08.2019 /// 10:22pm

    haha! i love that part too… will it rise, will it be good enough for mary berry!?!?

  11. Verso – YDP – your daily picture /// 07.27.2020 /// 6:58am

    […] “petrified and totally excited” […]

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