Embroidery by Oksana Harmash

Art contests-exhibits KPI Talents discovered new names every year. After all, there are many masters of painting, craftsmen of applied arts, and talented needlewomen in the team of thousands of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. ‘Embroidery works stand out with incredible sophistication and skill’, said Victoriia Tiotkina, Director of the Art Gallery of the Cultural Arts Center, about this year's works. ‘In my opinion, embroidery is gaining popularity every year among both students and Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute academic staff’. Indeed, no visitor could walk away from embroidered canvases performed by Oksana Harmash, Associate Professor of the Department of Acoustic and Multimedia Electronic Systems at the Faculty of Electronics.

‘Ever since I can remember, I have always been engaged in creative activities: wickerwork, artificial flowers, crochet and knitting, sewing and many more’, says Oksana Viktorivna. ‘However, all these hobbies were not long enough, except for embroidery. For some reason, this technique fascinated me, and for more than 10 years the passion for embroidery has not disappeared.’

All stories begin the same way: ‘once upon a time’. So do with our heroine. One day she woke up thinking of embroidering a pillow. She began to look for patterns, various cross-stitch techniques.

It turned out that there are a lot of people embroidering around. There are special publications and pages on social networks, where the masters share their successes, schemes, and tips. The discovery was that many men are fond of embroidery. All this prompted her to pick up a needle and try.

It is interesting to note since then Oksana Viktorivna has had a lot of paintings but has never embroidered a pillow.

‘All my works’, the embroiderer shares, ‘are counting sewing according to ready-made schemes, but there were several works where I made the schemes myself (my friends’ photos as a gift for their wedding). Embroidery is so deep in my life that my younger sister and mother also took up the hobby. They also do embroidery at times, although not so much as I do.’

How does she choose paintings for embroidery? First, they should be as realistic and unique as possible, and also large-scale (on average, the scheme has more than 50,000 crosses). She very carefully selects paintings for her works, and perhaps that is the reason why she does not have unfinished paintings. The last few works she embroidered according to the schemes of the master, who created them based on real paintings.

These embroideries are presented among the contest works - in particular “Irises” (the size of the embroidered cloth is 29x42 cm). Much attention is also paid to the design of finished works because the frame and passport must complement and emphasize the idea of the picture.

‘I like to surprise others with my works’, admits Oksana Viktorivna, ‘and I will always give special people an embroidery as a symbol of gratitude for there will always be the fact that they are in my life. My family jokes that there are not enough walls at home for my paintings, but there is nothing I can do about it. At the final stage of every embroidery, my brain actively begins generating ideas about the next picture, and I can't resist (or don't want to).

Making each cross on a clean canvas, I feel like the creator of something beautiful, and it inspires and calms me. Embroidery is significant in my life, because at the end of a tiring working day (especially during the quarantine period), after communicating with students, their parents, and colleagues, I want to be distracted, to gather my thoughts. Embroidery is such a joy for me.’

The master has watched the Talents Arts Contest at the University for several years, but she hesitated to show her paintings. Moreover, many paintings “live” in the homes of friends.

The Arts Contest online gave her enough confidence to take part in it and show photos of her work.

She hoped that her embroidery would not be “lost” among the others. They were presented on the website https://www.facebook.com/gallerykpi/photos, not suspecting that “Masks”, “Meeting”, “Irises”, “Sadness”, “Tulips”, “Ahchoo”, “Cat flying over the roofs” and others will be the exhibit jewel. Now she is very glad that Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute gives such a great opportunity to show its versatility as a person, not just as a teacher.