If you have a taste for vintage things like old photographs and embroidery – this artist manages to intertwine these two things in her art in a very unique and beautiful way. Han Cao is a self-taught artist that lives in Palm Springs at the moment. She creates her art by embroidering right onto vintage photographs and therefore giving them a new life and enhancing them in a way.
It’s actually quite interesting how Han got inspired to create this type of art. She likes frequenting antique shops and markets and she would often see these discarded photos and postcards at the bottoms of boxes and realised no one would ever see or buy them. It seemed sad that all these souls might’ve lived beautiful lives that we would never know of, so she decided to make it her goal to retell a new story for them.
It takes a while for Han to choose a particular photo or postcard to work on. She liked to analyze the pieces at the market before buying them. She usually looks for people and places that have more of a story to tell, or pieces that have beautiful colors or composition that is fun to play with.
Most of the time Han gets her photos and postcards from flea markets but sometimes people will just gift her beautiful vintage pieces. Her growing Instagram account probably plays into it too, now that people know what she can do and how she can transform photos they’re likely to send her photos and postcards that they think deserve a second life as an art piece.
Her followers often ask her if she embroiders straight onto the original photos or does she make a copy. Han prefers embroidering on the original photos because that makes her creations more unique like she’s never come across multiple copies of the same photograph. She does, however, scan originals for herself to just have as a keepsake.
Embroidering onto photos and postcards isn’t easy though, it definitely can be quite brutal on one’s fingers, and Han has mentioned that hers are now way more calloused than they were before she picked up this hobby, but the result makes it worth it.
However, embroidery seems a strange choice. Why not just paint? Well according to Han there’s just something so satisfying about embroidery. She likes that it gives one an ability to do so much with just a simple needle and thread. The process is incredibly slow, so that forces her to be more present and thoughtful and that can be quite nice in the modern world too.