The Amazing Craftsmanship of Cross-Stitch Street Art in Portugal ♦ Ana Martins is a Lisbon-born artist and designer who goes by the name of aheneah. This artist explores the combination of digital and analogue processes to create her one-of-a-kind works, which include cross-stitch street art. With a background in graphic design and influences from her grandmother’s embroidery teachings, the artist uses a traditional craftsmanship technique to create modern artworks, thus connecting cultures and generations. Secrets From Portugal brings you more about her amazing skills.
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aheneah’s signature cross-stitching technique using wool is evident across all of her artworks. From simple cross-stitching, in the shapes of X’s, to contour line stitching, the artist’s most recent pieces include the element of screws, which function as the structure and anchor points for the wool to weave around. The size and mass of aheneah’s projects have also scaled up significantly since her earlier experimentations, which were made on poster-sized black cardboard. Nowadays, her public projects can be seen on the streets of Portugal, such as ‘switch-over’, ‘no glass to hold me back’, and ‘semear’, that are as large as 2 x 5 meters (6.5 by 16.5 feet) and uses up to 700 meters (nearly 2,300 feet) of wool and 2300 screws.
The artist’s meticulous production stages take into consideration not only the precise placements of the nails in a grid format and the colour choices of the wools that bring life to her artworks, but also an interaction with the general public.
In her latest project, ‘perception’, consisting of a series of limited edition pieces on wooden planks, aheneah takes on a new challenge to evolve her usual style. aheneah has been showcasing her craftsmanship skills in multiple urban art festivals and exhibitions in recent years including WOOL, VU Lisbon, and ESTAU, and continues to travel across Portugal to host workshops.