Making Portraits Woven By A Single Thread | Master Craft

Making Portraits Woven By A Single Thread | Master Craft


This might look like a bunch
of strings tangled together, but, in reality, it’s one single thread that has been painstakingly looped and woven together to
form a portrait of a face. Alfred Cheng is the artist
behind these threaded portraits, which take a continuous
thread over 5,000 yards long and more than 300 nails to make, and each of those nails have
to be hammered in one at a time and with a precise distance between them. That’s not even the most tedious part. Alfred has to be delicate and patient about every move he makes, because if the thread snaps at any point, he’ll have to start all over again. How does he do it? Well, it all starts with a picture of the image he wants to create. Alfred takes a digital
version of the image and changes it to gray scale, then he’ll adjust the
brightness and contrast so that the image has manageable
highlights and shadows. The key is in the shadows. The darker parts of the image will require more crisscrossing threads to create the illusion of a shadow. Alfred analyzes the gray
scale image on a computer. He uses an algorithm
that shows him exactly how to use the thread to bring the portrait into the real world, mapping out how the single thread can be used to create the image he wants. Then it’s time for Alfred to translate what the algorithm gives him onto the canvas. For him to cover the
perimeter of the canvas, he will need over 300 nails
hammered in one by one. The hardest part of his process begins once the thread is unraveled to begin the weaving process. Alfred has to be extremely
careful with his movements in order to not break the thread. Otherwise, all his work
before that goes to waste. Alfred Cheng: You cannot
imagine that how many times I have experienced the issue
of those pesky threads breaking when I first started
making these portraits. Actually, the thread
that I’m using right now is from Spain, and it is made of polymer and relatively stronger than others, but it’s still so thin and fragile. So, I have to stay
completely focused during the entire process, and
I’m getting better now. Narrator: Alfred can spend
weeks hunched over the canvas, attentively weaving the
threads in the correct spots, but in the end, it results
in something magical. An extensively detailed web that unveils the image of the face
he’s chosen to recreate. The concept of threaded portraits was not created by Alfred, though. He says he was first
inspired by Petros Vrellis, an artist who was experimenting with the more formal name of this technique, called algorithmic art. Alfred taught himself the technique and has been working
on polishing it since. It has taken him about two years to go from his first piece, where he could barely
make out a face, to these.

39 thoughts on “Making Portraits Woven By A Single Thread | Master Craft

  1. Alfred – wakes up startled
    Friend – were u having a nightmare?
    Alfred – yes the thread snapped
    Friend – wait.. wh..?

  2. This is amazing, but can you imagine the thread snapping on the last hook…
    This gentleman has a lot of patience to pass around. Very impressive.

  3. I am a simple fangirl. I see Harry Potter vids, I click them faster than the speed of light.

    Ik this is overrated sryy

  4. The question is, why?

    Better every artists use their skill for some applied art. Art that really useful.

    This(the art in this video) kind of art just wasting resources and not lasts long. And this kind of art only made for museum or art gallery. But you know.. Art gallery or museum is so few. Soo not all artists can store their work in that place.

    But.. Awesome art btw. But sadly u can't live with this thing. It's only for hobby. Better find other job. It's fine if it's only his hobby. Don't make a job out of this.

    That thread will naturally degrade/decompose.

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