Cayce Zavaglia

Exploring Embroidery Artwork, with Cayce Zavaglia

Cayce Zavaglia


Where does the inspiration come from to explore embroidery artwork? What is the process like going from the canvas to the embroidery and back again? How do the two mediums complement and contrast? I put all these questions to my talented guest, Cayce Zavaglia. In our conversation, Cayce opened up about how she got into embroidery artwork, what led her to the theme of family portraits, what it was like returning to Australia, how failure is a close link to success, and much more. I know artists like you will get as much joy as I did hearing from Cayce’s intriguing perspective.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

You’ve heard the phrase, necessity is the mother of invention, right? That saying really rang true for artist Cayce Zavaglia. During a period of creative flux, Cayce was also pregnant. This reality forced her to look for ways to continue to create in a non-toxic studio. After experimenting for a whole summer with various mediums, Cayce still hadn’t found what she wanted to work with. Back in the recesses of her mind, she kept coming back to this embroidery work she had done as a child. Tugging at this thread, Cayce decided to start experimenting by sewing a portrait. Little did she know, that this experiment unleashed a new creative endeavor that would stay with her for years to come. Make sure to check out images of Cayce’s embroidery artwork located at the end of this post.

You don’t have to choose between parenthood and an art career.

It seems to be an unwritten rule in many circles that you can’t be both a parent (oftentimes more specifically, a mother) and an artist. These two roles in society are often pitted against each other, you have to choose one or the other. Is that really accurate, do you have to choose? While some may choose to devote themselves to parenthood or their art career for a period of time, artists like Cayce serve as a prime example that you can embrace both! If you are struggling with navigating these two roles, I hope you see Cayce’s story as an encouragement!

Viewing failure as a close link to success.

What is your relationship like with failure? Do you fear it and avoid it at all costs or do you lean into it? What if I told you that failure has a closer link to success than you may have thought? Artist, Cayce Zavaglia says that she goes out of her way to look for mistakes, accidents, and failures in her artwork. Sounds crazy, right? Cayce has learned to view failure as the closest link to creativity and then to success. In her view, if you are putting yourself out there creatively, that means you are taking a risk and that’s where the greatest opportunity for success thrives! Do you agree with Cayce’s perspective?

Don’t stop creating.

While the draw of instant recognition and reaction to your artwork is enticing, Cayce Zavagila urges caution. Let’s face it, Instagram can serve as both a blessing and a curse. It can be a wonderful resource for inspiration but it can also serve as an unhelpful sounding board. Cayce says that one of the best practices that an artist can get into is the habit of spending time alone in their studio honing their craft. It’s not sexy or flashy advice but it is good advice! I’m sure there will be a wide range of opinions on this topic but I’m really thankful that Cayce is willing to step out there and provide her helpful insight!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Cayce Zavaglia.
  • [4:00] How did Cayce end up working with embroidery?
  • [8:30] Cayce talks about how her embroidery work influences her painting.
  • [11:45] What led Cayce to work with the theme of “Family?”
  • [16:00] How did Cayce get back to Australia for her project?
  • [18:30] Memorable reactions to Cayce’s embroidery work and challenges she has faced.
  • [21:15] You don’t have to choose between being a parent and an artist.
  • [24:00] How did Cayce get exposure for her artwork?
  • [29:00] Failure is the closest link to success.
  • [39:00] What is the next project for Cayce?
  • [41:00] Cayce talks about her children and how she encourages them to create.
  • [42:30] Where does Cayce go for inspiration?
  • [45:00] The habit of making.
  • [48:20] Advice Cayce would give her younger self.
  • [50:15] Merging craft and art.
  • [52:00] The role of gender and how art is perceived and recognized.
  • [56:00] What advice does Cayce have for artists just starting in their career?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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