Mónica Leitão Mota

Highway trees, Mónica Leitao Mota, 2017, photo courtesy by the artist

At the end of 2016 Mónica Leitao Mota, a Portugese mixed media and fibre artist living in Canada, drove along the highway on the way to a thread festival in Oakville. Her eye caught beautiful trees along the highway. Inspired by this sight later she created this beautiful piece of art (see above).

Monica’s artistic start

Monica started her life in Portugal. As a child she spend her holidays with her cousins at her grandparents’ house. When I asked Monica about how her use of stitching has started, she told me: “My grandmother had a manual Singer sewing machine. The curiosity and interest for everything related with fabric and sewing, began at that time….When I moved tot Canada I began exploring the possibilities of using a sewing machine do draw with thread, although I’m basically self taught regarding the free motion machine stitching technique”.

In Portugal she studied Sculpture at a Fine Arts University. This background education and everything related to texture, are the reason why she uses thread in her work, she said. During her Art study she fostered an interest in texture, volume and light. She also often used graphic lines in her work. This probably was a result of the fact that for many years she worked as an art and geometry teacher.

Of lines and texture, Mónica Leitao Mota, Photo courtesy by the artist

Use of sewing machine

In Canada she began exploring the possibilities of using a sewing machine. She discovered that by lowering the feed dogs of the machine, she could literally draw with thread. She also wanted to add texture and consequently changing the surface, sometimes she added a 3D dimension to her work, as you see in the photo below.

Three dimensional form (in progress), Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Three dimensional form (in progress), detail, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist

Characteristics of her art

When I took a look at her portfolio at her website, I noticed some special characteristics in her work. First of all the theme nature seems to be important to her. In lots of her work we see trees, leaves, roots and mountains.

Roots and branches, Mónica Laitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist

Feeling blue

Secondly I noticed Monica uses the color blue in lots of her art, in different tones. Here below you see some examples of her work incorporating the color blue ánd the theme nature.

Blue tree, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Roots and branches series 2, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Meanwhile II, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist

Layering and transparency

Third characteristic in her work is about the techniques she uses. She works with layering of materials, like fabrics, paper and all kinds of fiber. Especially transparency is an element that comes back in her work regularly. Below you see some photos of using layering and using using transparent materials.

Blue everywhere, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Nucleus (wearable sculpture), Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Roots and branches, yellow body, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist

Love for photography

The last characteristic I noticed, is the photography that’s adapted in her work. It appears to be a main interest in her life. She always photographs and records the different stages of progress in her work. At this website, https://www.behance.net/monicasthreads, you can see lots of clear and beautiful photographs of those stages. They’re taken quite closely and therefore very interesting for embroidery lovers to watch at. Monica feels that the camera’s lens allows her to have a changing perspective in the final result of her work. Here below you see some works in which photos are used.

Mountains with tree, Mónica Leirao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist
Winter trees, Mónica Laitao Mota, photo coutesy by the artist
Trapped, Mónica Leitao Mota, photo courtesy by the artist

Wanting more?

Haven’t seen enough yet? Then take a look at https://www.monicaleitaomota.com for more.

Or take a look at Etsy, where Monica sells her work, https://www.etsy.com/shop/monicasthreads/ where you e.g. can find beautiful scarfs.

She also has an internet shop at Redbubble, https://www.redbubble.com/people/monicalmota/shop/recent. I saw some adorable throw pillows, a must-have for embroiderers…

For Dutch readers: in the latest issue of T X P magazine (no 247) you can find an interesting article about Monica. See: https://www.textielplus.nl/product/txp-247/


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