Welcome to the Art of Chris Wills


What is Autism?

Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a complex neurological disorder that affects things like communication, social interaction, speech and behaviour. There are varying degrees of severity
Read more here 

Who took the photos on this website?

All of the photos on the Spectrum Cross Stitch website were taken by Simon Brown of Simon Brown Photography in Auckland. He can be contacted here.

Is Chris colour blind? 

Chris is limited in his ability to recognise and identify colours. It is currently unknown as to what extent that ability or inability reaches to.

Is Autism the same as Asperger's?

“Asperger’s and autism are no longer considered separate diagnoses. People who may have previously received an Asperger’s diagnosis instead now receive an autism diagnosis. But many people who were diagnosed with Asperger’s before the diagnostic criteria changed in 2013 are still perceived as “having Asperger’s. And many people also consider Asperger’s as part of their identity. This is especially considering the stigma that still surrounds autism diagnoses in many communities around the world. Yet the only real “difference” between the two diagnoses is that people with Asperger’s may be considered as having an easier time “passing” as neurotypical with only “mild” signs and symptoms that may resemble those of autism.”   Read More

How did Chris start cross stitch?

Chris used to watch his step Mum Gaylyn working on her cross stitch projects. He used to stand so closely and watch so intensely that Gaylyn was worried she might poke him with the needle. Eventually Gaylyn asked Chris if he wanted to have a go and the rest is history.

How long has Chris been doing cross stitch?

Since early 1994

What is Cross Stitch?

Cross stitch is what needle art enthusiasts refer to as counted thread embroidery and is one of the oldest forms of embroidery in history. It is made up of x-shaped stitches on even or open weave fabric like Aida or linen. 

Patterns come with a cross stitch chart that will tell you what colour to use and where. The grid on the weave of the fabric corresponds to the grid on the chart, with each coloured square on the chart representing a stitch. 

If the chart is in colour, it will have a combination of colours and symbols in the squares to tell you what colour to use on each square. Or it could be just black and white with symbols. The chart legend is used to map the symbols to the colour of the cottons. 

Typically cross stitch projects are started in the middle and stitched out, this ensures that the design is centred on the fabric and that you don’t miss a stitch, otherwise you may have to undo everything and start again.

Counting and colour recognition ability are recognised to be key abilities in order to create cross stitch projects. 

Can you be limited in your counting ability and still do Cross Stitch?

Typically, counting ability and the ability to identify colours are two integral parts of being able to create cross stitch artwork. Chris has the unique ability to see things differently and produce fine, incredibly detailed work that follows a system completely of his own, with limited counting ability and colour recognitions and has never missed a stitch.

Made to order artwork

Some of the ready made artwork might be available on a made to order basis depending on the availability of the design. Please email us on yarn@spectrumcrossstitch.co.nzif you are interested in a made to order piece. 

How does Chris create his artwork?

Cross stitch is a form of needle art with a very specific process. You have a pattern with colours often printed on the canvas or cloth to work from and the pattern is always started from in the middle and worked out. This is done to ensure no stitches are missed as the picture takes shape. A colour ”reference” is often printed onto the canvas that is being worked on to make it easy to identify what colour goes where. 

Chris doesn’t follow the rules, he has made his own.

Chris only works from a graph. Images, photos and patterns are run through special software and turned into fine graphs with number allocations. Each number corresponds to a different colour and Chris is assisted by his family in preparing the graphs and creating a cotton colour “key” for him to refer to for each piece.

Instead of starting in the middle of the material and working outwards like all other cross stitch art is created, he begins each piece by deciding which part of the graph will form “markers” - a random selection of elements in any area of the canvas. He is then able to work towards or away from the markers to create his masterpiece and has never, ever been a stitch out.

For more information and support about autism, please visit the Autism Support & Resources page on our website.