Exhibition "Art of the stitch", Gina Ballinger // 16 - 29 July 2019

Gina Ballinger is an autodidactic American/Austrian stitch artist who tells her stories in the form of small-scale embroidery.
Once upon a time, around 1965 Gina was an art student at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, now California Institute of the Arts.  At the same time she was a sales clerk in a department store. She was telling her mother how bored she was at work. Her mother´s response was a package in which were threads and a piece of fabric with a preprinted pattern on it. She thought Gina might teach herself how to stitch during the breaks at work. In this way, her mom became the Ariadne's Red Thread in Gina´s life and she found her creative expression through fabric and thread.

Gina met her future husband, Erich Ballinger, a European from Graz, Austria in Los Angeles in 1967. In 1970 they moved back to Austria. They lived in the countryside in a farmhouse in West Styria which was fifty years behind the times from the world that she had come from and grown up in. It was exactly this immense challenge that brought her to artofthestitch. Gina stitches on antique handspun/hand-woven linen or taffeta silk. Her threads are hand-dyed linen and silk. Scraps from her fabric collection and antique buttons complete her pictures. It's as though she paints across the fabric. Her inspiration has always been the motifs of Carmen Ramirez and Erich Ballinger.