A Medical Student Creates Intricate Anatomical Embroideries of the Brain, Heart, Lungs & More

My first thought upon see­ing the del­i­cate, anato­my-based work of the 23-year-old embroi­dery artist and med­ical stu­dent Emmi Khan was that the Girl Scouts must have expand­ed the cat­e­gories of skills eli­gi­ble for mer­it badges.

(If mem­o­ry serves, there was one for embroi­dery, but it cer­tain­ly didn’t look like a cross-sec­tioned brain, or a sinus cav­i­ty.)

Clos­er inspec­tion revealed that the cir­cu­lar views of Khan’s embroi­deries are not quite as tiny as the round badges stitched to high achiev­ing Girl Scouts’ sash­es, but rather still framed in the wood­en hoops that are an essen­tial tool of this artist’s trade.

Meth­ods both sci­en­tif­ic and artis­tic are a source of fas­ci­na­tion for Khan, who began tak­ing needle­work inspi­ra­tion from anato­my as an under­grad study­ing bio­med­ical sci­ences. As she writes on her Mol­e­c­u­lart web­site:

Sci­ence has par­tic­u­lar meth­ods: it is fun­da­men­tal­ly objec­tive, con­trolled, empir­i­cal. Sim­i­lar­ly, art has par­tic­u­lar meth­ods: there is an empha­sis on sub­jec­tiv­i­ty and explo­ration, but there is also an ele­ment of reg­u­la­tion regard­ing how art is cre­at­ed… e.g. what type of nee­dle to use to embroi­der or how to prime a can­vas.

The pro­ce­dures and tech­niques adopt­ed by sci­en­tists and artists may be very dif­fer­ent. Ulti­mate­ly, how­ev­er, they both have a com­mon aim. Artists and sci­en­tists both want to 1) make sense of the vast­ness around them in new ways, and 2) present and com­mu­ni­cate it to oth­ers through their own vision. 

A glimpse at the flow­ers, intri­cate stitch­es, and oth­er dain­ties that pop­u­late her Pin­ter­est boards offers a fur­ther peek into Khan’s meth­ods, and might prompt some read­ers to pick up a nee­dle them­selves, even those with no imme­di­ate plans to embroi­der a kary­otype or The Cir­cle of Willis, the cir­cu­lar anas­to­mo­sis of arter­ies at the base of the brain.

The Cardiff-based med­ical stu­dent delights in embell­ish­ing her thread­ed obser­va­tions of inter­nal organs with the occa­sion­al dec­o­ra­tive element—sunflowers, posies, and the like…

She makes her­self avail­able on social media to answer ques­tions on sub­jects rang­ing from embroi­dery tips to her rela­tion­ship to sci­ence as a devout Mus­lim, and to share works in progress, like a set of lungs that embody the Four Sea­sons, com­mis­sioned by a cus­tomer in the States.

To see more of Emmi Khan’s work, includ­ing a down­load­able anatom­i­cal flo­ral heart embroi­dery pat­tern, vis­it Mol­e­c­u­larther Insta­gram page, or her Etsy shop.

via Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Behold an Anatom­i­cal­ly Cor­rect Repli­ca of the Human Brain, Knit­ted by a Psy­chi­a­trist

An Artist Cro­chets a Life-Size, Anatom­i­cal­ly-Cor­rect Skele­ton, Com­plete with Organs

Watch Nina Paley’s “Embroi­der­ma­tion,” a New, Stun­ning­ly Labor-Inten­sive Form of Ani­ma­tion

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 3 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates New York: The Nation’s Metrop­o­lis (1921). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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