About Crapestry

About Crapestry…

I have invented (insofar as one can) the word ‘crapestry‘; a rather obvious contraction of the words ‘crap‘ and ‘tapestry‘.

Contemporary commercial tapestries might be argued to be the exemplification of superficial chintz; spectacularly vapid, vividly dull, unquestioningly conformist, gaudily bourgeois, and at the same time unyieldingly time-consuming. The subject matter is often romanticised, uncritical, and both exploits and reinforces established stereotypes. The outcome? Standardised ‘precious things’ cherished by the softly smiling, callous fingered Grandma’s of the world – harmless old dears who quietly revel in the creation of ‘cheeky terrier’ and ‘dewy chrysanthemum’ cushions, or ‘God bless this house’ picture frames. No mention of mortality, no depiction of suffering, nothing surprising, nothing funny.

Crapestries capitalise on cross-stitch orthodoxies, exploiting their established themes. Some crapestries are funny, some are sad, and some may cause offence; but that’s fine.

Even the desperately sad crapestries make many people laugh, whether by a curious schadenfreude or simply because they are unaccustomed to encountering troubling subjects addressed through the medium of tapestry; it’s incongruous. One might ask “What’s funny about a dead penguin chick or a thermonuclear attack?” Quite a lot apparently.

‘Penguins’ from the ‘Polar’ collection
Original penguins design by Vervaco

In 2006 I was fortunate enough to visit ARS 06 (“Sense of the Real”) at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, in Helsinki, Finland. This outstanding exhibition featured work by Kent Henricksen from his ‘Timeless Pleasures’ series. Henricksen took canvas tapestries that appeared to be quite old, and stitched ‘googly’ eyes and pointed hats onto the depicted characters. Having dabbled with tapestry in the past (aged 6), I immediately connected with this work, and was inspired to create some augmented tapestries of my own. With winter approaching, daylight hours dwindling, a girlfriend (now wife) who is an avid knitter, and a new house with an open fire, circumstances were perfectly aligned for me to begin my first crapestry.

If you have ever graffitied a penis onto a magazine in a dentist’s waiting room, shot delicate ceramic ornaments with a rifle, or thought something was desperately sad when everyone else thought it was harmlessly funny (or the other way around), then you will likely enjoy having a look at my work. You will hopefully even want to own some. If not: you should probably move on.

'Japanese Spaniel' from the series 'Smoking Dogs'
‘Japanese Spaniel’ from the series ‘Smoking Dogs’

All of the artworks featured on this site are available to order as framed works ready to hang. 

The author has asserted his right to post all text/images within this site under a Creative Commons License (text/images that are not the property of Theo Humphries have been identified as such and therefore may be exempt from Creative Commons). For more information, please visit creativecommons.org

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