Maia, Elisa Hirsch

Example of dimensional Brazilian embroidery. Example of dimensional Brazilian embroidery.

Elisa Hirsch Maia (often known as Madam Maia) was a Brazilian embroiderer and entrepreneur, who is credited with developing Brazilian dimensional embroidery. Maia was a skilled needle woman who embroidered all her family’s linen and clothing. She began experimenting with flosses and dyes in the 1960's in order to develop a smoother thread and new colours.

Maia developed a range of rayon threads, of different colours and weights, and founded the Varicor company to produce and market the threads. Varicor threads, especially the variegated ones, proved so popular that any variegated thread became known in Brazil as Varicor. Maia also taught embroidery workshops in Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere in Brazil, using her own flosses. The company was sold in the 1970's to a US-based manufacturer. The threads then became hard to find in Brazil, leading to a decline in dimensional embroidery’s popularity in Brazil.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 23 June 2016).


Last modified on Friday, 21 April 2017 19:18
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