Edmonton embroidered: This artist found a pandemic hobby that pays homage to her city
EDMONTON -- An Edmonton woman is turning Edmonton landscapes into embroidery — one stitch at a time.
It all started with a yellow couch. Murriel Mapa had always wanted to own a yellow couch, so instead of buying one, she embroidered it onto a six-inch hoop.
Mapa had never embroidered before, but like many Edmontonians, the lockdown left her with a lot of free time.
"Just during the whole quarantine of 2020 and it just kind of sparked that interest and it turned into a real passion of mine," Mapa told CTV News Edmonton.
From there, she's created countless pieces: desert landscapes, cats in ugly sweaters, uplifting quotes, but one series has really set the local artist apart: Embroidmonton.
The first piece she completed in the series is a landscape of Edmonton's downtown and the Walterdale Bridge surrounded by fall trees.
“I just love how it looks in the fall, just looks so different," said Mapa. "It’s a recognizable Edmonton landmark that everyone knows and loves.”
Then she embroidered the High Level Bridge Streetcar parked in Old Strathcona. Mapa says she made the piece because riding the street car is one of her favourite things to do in the summer.
"It reminds me of the Fringe, which we didn't get to have this year, which was really sad," said Mapa. "I've always loved the street car and I'm sad it wasn't able to run this summer."
The third and final piece, so far, is the Princess Theatre. It's Mapa's favourite Edmonton landmark and she was heartbroken when she saw the building was put up for lease.
"It's just kind of my homage to it, a very recognizable Edmonton institution."
Next up for the Embroidmonton series: the Muttart Conservatory and the Garneau Theatre.
"It’s cool again to be kind of taking up these grandma crafts, I would say. Things that our grandma taught us and they are all coming back now," said Mapa. "Everyone’s kind of realizing that hobbies are fun and hobbies can be cool again."
NAKED AND FRAYED
Even though the pandemic has forced Edmonton's burgeoning craft market scene online, Mapa is excited to take part for the first time.
"It's an online market where shoppers can just shop from home, and yeah, I'm hoping to join more markets in the future," said Mapa.
Some of Mapa's favourite pieces that's she'll be selling are her Sweata Weatha Cats big-eyed cats with funky sweaters, which she says will come in ugly Christmas style during the holiday season.
And her Desert Sunsets have the background canvas painted with watercolours along with an embroidered foreground.
"It's kind of like a nice mixed media," said Mapa. "These probably take me about six to eight hours to complete, sometimes up to 10 to 12 over a couple of days."
As for her Embroidmonton pieces, you may have to wait a bit longer to get your hands on them.
"I'm not sure if I am going to sell them, I really love them. I'll probably make a couple more. Then I’ll probably sell those ones."