PAINTING WITH THREAD
Embroidery by Eugenia Vainberg

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I was born in the shtetl of Izyaslavl, Khmelnitsky district, Ukraine, in 1928.
In 1932 my family moved to Kiev, where we lived until 1977. During the war,
1941-1944, we lived in Kuybishev (former Samara) on the Volga River.
My father was the head of the Department of Structural Mechanics in the
Kiev Institute Civil Engineering, of which he was one of the founders,
My mother was a linguist specializing in English. In 1977, my two children
and I immigrated to America. From September of 1977 until the present
I have been living in Cleveland and worked as an editor for the business
information company called Predicasts (Predictions and Forecasts) until my retirement in1992.

I started to do embroidery at the age of eight. Our family occupied one room
in a communal apartment (5 families in 5 rooms with a common kitchen and
bathroom). Our room was divided by an ugly wooden screen to create a sense of privacy. (This word does not exist in the Russian language, nor does the concept of privacy itself.) I embroidered several large pieces for this
screen. This was a tremendous project for a girl of my age, The room was
shining with the colors and design.

I am amazed now that during the war I was able to find the thread. During that period I designed and made a pillow cover of many flowers.  

A prominent Russian writer, Yuri Olesha, said "no day without writing a line." For me it is "no day without stitching." Unfortunately, it is not always possible.
For 21 years I did not do embroidery. In 1977 I became involved with an American quilting group; this restarted my lost art. Colors are music to me. Tonalities of colors, shades and hues create the feeling of melodies in me.
Embroidery became an important part of my life, a way of self-expression and reflection. It is very exciting to translate from the languages of different media in the tongue of embroidery.                       

Eugenia Vainberg
Photographs by Lamar Richardson