Alicia Watkins’ Clever And Cute Microbe Embroidery

Alicia Watkins

Alicia Watkins

Alicia Watkins

Alicia Watkins

There’s not much information about Alicia Watkins‘ scientific embroidery, but we can all agree the project is a fun way to identify potentially harmful microbes. From anthrax to salmonella, herpes, e.coli, toxoplasma, mono, botulism, and the common cold, Watkins has colorfully cross-stiched many well-known bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Some of these dreadful microbes almost appear cute by Watkins’ careful hand, associating the warmth and comfort that cross-stitching evokes with the coldness of threatening diseases and sicknesses. Watkins’ Etsy store, appropriately named Watty’s Wall Stuff, has these stiched microbes available for purchase at $19.99 each, along with other clever and pop culture influenced cross-stitch work. She also takes custom orders, as well as making some of her patterns available for purchase. (via this isn’t happiness)


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  • Alicia

    Thanks for noticing the microbes! 😀

    And thanks for your insightful analysis — you hit the nail right on the head with the juxtaposition of horror and “cuteness.” I’d add that the warmth and comfort of cross stitch is due to its association with the domestic and with women (sitting at home embroidering), and scientific images are traditionally a part of public life (i.e. the Royal Society of natural philosophers) and the masculine sphere. On top of that, the horror of diseases takes place everywhere and doesn’t seem to be really contained either in the home or outside (which imo is part of what makes them horrific — they break lots of boundaries and it can be hard to stay safe from them).

    Lots of juxtaposition! That’s what I like and find fun about cross stitching microbes. 🙂