Adore- Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan Hand embroidered portrait

I finally completed my embroidered portrait of Smashing Pumpkins‘ Billy Corgan. Here it is framed, clocking it at around 25-30 hours worth of stitching. Initially I considered a white frame, but the oval inlay in this black one won as nod to Billy’s  ‘Zero’ motif.

Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan- hand stitched portrait- bridgeen gillespie-2014

A personal work I named ‘Adore’, for the album and for the notions of gothic romance that Billy eloquently embodies. This record reminds me of a difficult time in my youth. A time where I felt lost. The music is so melancholy it made this album difficult to revisit. But having recently felt lost for some time now, I’ve found myself listening to this album again on repeat and finding comfort in it. It’s helped me reclaim some old parts of myself that I thought were long gone.

ava-adore-smashing pumpkins

I’ve been  enjoying rediscovering my love of things gothic recently. Billy was a pixie perfect Nosferatu (just check out his performance in this video- click the image above!) Adore is this tragic gem full of lullabies and  Poe-like laments . The lyrics of Behold the NightMare for example are a melting pot of gothic Victoriana, conjuring images of courtly love, dead mistresses and galloping phantoms: “ I can’t go on digging roses from your grave, to linger on beyond the beyond, where the willows weep, and whirlpools sleep, and the Night Mare rides on…” Of all the music I listened to growing up the Smashing Pumpkins were the most romantic. Something I’ve only come to value now, and “could a taste of love be so wrong?”

Tonight Tonight Smashing Pumpkins

So many of the Smashing Pumpkins songs speak to me at the moment. Like Tonight Tonight, at one time ubiquitous but I never really paid attention to the words.  Legend has it Billy wrote the song in as affirmation to his former self, a little like a rallying cry. And of course, I love the video, a nod to early silent cinema and science fiction like HG Wells first men on the moon. (Do click on the image above to watch the video. It’s a beautiful song.)

Billy Corgan- Adore- embroidery portrait

“And you know you’re never sure, but you’re sure you could be right-if you held yourself up to the light”.

This embroidery portrait of Billy Corgan is a work of stitch as a meditation. On the value of Love, all kinds, but especially of romantic and self love.  A little work of adoration. A reminder to cherish.  And perhaps a reminder too of courage in your convictions;  both to be true to yourself and to honour your right to change.

It’s a very different experience stitching light onto dark and you can read all about my working process and see my  ‘time lapse’ gif here.

I posted more high res pics of the finished piece in my flicker gallery here



  1. Stitch Boom Bang · · Reply

    Amazing. Well done.


    1. Thank you my dear!


  2. I love this comment left by Margiej11 over on flickr so much I had to share it here too-

    “Oh, Billy, you sneaky devil – you slipped by me in my photo stream! Handsome as ever, Sir, in that tuxedo-like frame. {I read your post about the Smashing Pumpkins. I’m a designer and something in my brain said that the white on black was familiar relative to the Pumpkins: ZERO. The black frame was a smart choice! The Smashing Pumpkins were great and Tonight, Tonight is one wonderful song full of encouragement and hopefulness – definitely one of my favorites! I’m glad you were able to revisit some memories and take away a renewed sense of self and affirmation. It’s been fun following your progress with this project! Can’t wait for the next one!”

    You can see the comment in context here :


  3. […] Daphne Descends inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins song. It’s no secret that I’m a Pumpkins fan, so I had to find out more about this artist whose style sums up Adore era SP, evoking Aubrey […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s