It’s not often you see Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter from the 1956 film “The Ten Commandments” on a piece of embroidery.

But anything goes when it comes to the hand-embroidered works of Rob Watt. The Colorado Springs artist, who likes to describe his work as fiber paintings, seeks inspiration from a multitude of sources: the 1950s, landscapes, historical illustrated maps, patterns.

In the before times, Watt was a landscape artist who worked in watercolors and pen and ink. After a fiber arts class at Colorado State University, where he earned a bachelor’s in graphic design, and a fiber workshop in the mid-’80s, he discovered the rewards of a needle and thread and changed direction.

“The color and detail. The control you have with it,” Watt said. “It’s nice and meditative to work on it. It doesn’t take much equipment. I can sit out on the deck in summer and work.”

Watt’s new show, “Before & After,” will feature more than 30 embroidered works. It runs through Feb. 25.

To make the 5-inch-by-7-inch and 10-inch-by-12-inch works, Watt Xeroxes an image and puts together a cartoon to work from, traces it onto the Dupioni silk and starts stitching with cotton Dollfus-Mieg & Compagnie (DMC) thread: “It’s pretty low-tech,” he says.

Mixing multiple strands of floss, he does stitches on top of stitches to bring out a randomness in the work. Each piece takes about 30 to 40 hours, a commitment made easier after he retired in 2018 and moved to the Springs from Denver, where he spent the last two decades doing graphics and production at suburban newspapers.

His work, which he likes to think of as drawing with thread, has been exhibited through the Front Range, including Spark Gallery and Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver and the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, D.C.

“It was something I never thought I’d get into,” said Watt, who also earned a bachelor’s in art studio from Colorado College. “It was by accident.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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