Rare Bird (front and back), 2019, 5  ⅜ x 3 ⅜ ".


The tradition of embroidering postcards began with the souvenir trade of the early twentieth century. The themes of these World War I–era collectibles are mainly patriotic and touchingly sentimental, having been stitched by women on the western front for soldiers writing home. These small canvases still charm and delight us in this very different age, the evidence of the human hand in this format appealing to our senses and drawing us in.

Several years ago, textile designer Francesca Colussi found herself disenchanted by the unsustainable culture of the commercial fashion industry. Looking for something more gratifying, she returned to experiments she’d once made with embroidery on vintage postcards. She picked up her needle again and hasn’t looked back. Her process of discovery revealed a personal preference for embroidering on paper—photographs as well as picture postcards—rather than conventional fabric surfaces. The practice she has developed brings together craft, design, and fine art, merging her interests in pattern, color theory, and women’s studies.