10 Contemporary embroidery artists

10 Contemporary embroidery artists

The word ‘embroidery‘ comes with baggage; more often than not it evokes images of crocheted tea towels and twee cushion covers. But over the last few years, a new generation of textile and mixed media artists (of all ages I might add) have been using both machine and hand stitch to challenge these preconceptions; they often honour traditional techniques but use them in combination with more contemporary mediums or methods to create artwork that is original and refreshing. Today we take a look at the work of 10 such contemporary embroidery artists.


Debbie Smyth

Debbie Smyth uses embroidery to create contemporary artworks - Trolleyed, 525x525mm

Debbie Smyth – Trolleyed, 525x525mm

Textile artist Debbie Smyth is best known for her stitched illustrations. By plotting pins with acute accuracy and then stretching thread between them, she creates work that is beautiful and somewhat disconcerting; the boundaries of textile art, fine art sketches, embroidery, and illustration are well and truly blurred. For more information visit Debbie-Smyth.com


Inge Jacobson

Contemporary stitch artist Inge Jacobsen - Threaded Vogue Cover

Inge Jacobsen – Threaded Vogue Cover

Inge Jacobsen uses found commercial imagery and thread to put her own spin on classic advertising. Embroidery is used to physically alter the pictures and appropriate their meaning; the artist has named this process ‘hijacking’. Recently Inge has enjoyed working on a commission for American Express, who wanted an original perspective on 3 of their classic cards to use in a social media advertising campaign. For more information visit IngeJacobsen.com


Kazuhito Takadoi

Kazuhito Takadoi uses embroidery to make beautiful modern art - AKI (Autumn)

Kazuhito Takadoi – AKI (Autumn)

Kazuhito Takadoi takes the well-worn subject matter of nature and frames it in a minimalistic and contemporary setting. All the materials he uses are sourced from nature too; simply dried then stitched. He is also intrigued by shadows, which play a vital role in his work, adding another layer of depth and interest. For more information visit KazuhitoTakadoi.com


Lauren DiCioccio

Stitch artist Lauren DiCioccio - NYT Saturday July 4, 2009

Lauren DiCioccio – NYT Saturday July 4, 2009

Lauren DiCioccio explores the palpable impact of mass-produced media; magazines, newspapers and plastic bags have all been used as inspiration, and the imagery found on them as the basis for work that is powerful and provocative. But the artist also seeks to engage the viewer with a sense of nostalgia; as these types of media become more and more obsolete, her work acts as a reminder of times gone by. For more information visit LaurenDiCioccio.com


Ana Teresa Barboza

Textile artist Ana Teresa Barboza - Graphite & Embroidery on cloth 44" x 47"

Ana Teresa Barboza – Graphite & Embroidery on cloth, 44″ x 47″

Ana Teresa Barboza is fascinated by the variety of concepts an artist can arrive at using embroidery. An interest in the human body is also prevalent in much of her art. She regularly works with photographs printed on fabric that she then embellishes with stitch; she embroiders decorative patterns that serve as camouflage. For more information visit AnaTeresaBarboza.Blogspot.co.uk


Lynn Skordal

Lynn Skordal - Stitched medical diagram

Lynn Skordal – Stitched medical diagram

Lynn Skordal worked as a lawyer for many years; it wasn’t until her retirement that she returned to her first love. She uses a variety of media, including collage on paper and occasionally embroidery to create arresting pieces of contemporary art. For more information visit LynnSkordal.Paspartout.com


Izziyana Suhaimi

Textile art by Izziyana Suhaimi

Textile art by Izziyana Suhaimi

Izziyana Suhaimi’s primary method of creation is embroidery. This artist seeks to break down the boundaries that exist between traditional and popular cultures by investigating and highlighting their connections, but also their differences; the time-consuming and traditional craft of stitch is often juxtaposed with a world addicted to instant gratification and mass production. For more information visit My-Bones.tumblr.com


Sarah Walton

Sarah Walton - Embroidered illustration

Sarah Walton – Embroidered illustration

Sarah Walton makes embroidered illustrations using machine stitch. She describes her work as threaded drawings. Colourful pieces of patterned fabric are used as accents in otherwise simple and minimalistic images that depict every-day characters. For more information visit Sarah’s Etsy shop


Meredith Woolnough

Contemporary Embroidery Art - thread on paper by Meredith Woolnough.

Meredith Woolnough – Red Coral Branch

Australian artist Meredith Woolnough draws upon the natural world as inspiration for what she terms her ’embroidered specimens’; skeletal frameworks of flora and fauna form the basis of her work.  Dense stitches are used on freeform sculptures, which are then meticulously pinned to paper or set in resin for preservation. For more information visit MeredithWoolnough.com.au


Kirsty Whitlock

Contemporary embroidery art by Kirsty Whitlock - Losses, 2009

Kirsty Whitlock – Losses, 2009

TextileArtist.org interviewee Kirsty Whitlock‘s work challenges traditional connotations of embroidery and seeks to communicate messages of social responsibility through the use of recycled and reclaimed materials. The concept of the ‘throw-away culture’ is a constant and central theme. She uses plastic carrier bags, newspapers and discarded household items as a format for embroidery.

For more information visit KirstyWhitlock.com

If you have enjoyed this article about contemporary embroidery art, let us know by leaving a comment below.

FREE E-BOOK: How my journey into textile art began, a fascinating insight into the work of textile artist Sue Stone
Sunday 04th, December 2016 / 05:53
Joe

About the author

Joseph Pitcher is the son of textile artist Sue Stone. He is an actor and voice-over artist and has worked at the RSC, the National Theatre, West End theatres and several other leading regional venues across the UK. Find Joe on Google

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