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 www.izziyanasuhaimi.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.weebly.com

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

Friday 21st, January 2022 / 09:57

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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76 comments on “10 Contemporary embroidery artists”

  1. Each of these artists was well worth investigating further – thank you for introducing them to me.

  2. Basma Samira says:

    Absolutely, wonderful artists and work!

  3. The word ‘Needlepoint’ faces the same baggage as ’embroidery’ in that it most often it is never taken seriously. Probably because there are only a handful of artists around the world experimenting with this medium. Niki McDonald of Sydney, AU is one of them.

    As a contemporary artist I embrace the the traditional, simple basketweave stitch and make it sing in new ways. I have a passion to promote the idea that needlepoint has the potential to be exhibited in the contemporary fiber artist’s portfolio.

    For a sample of my contemporary take on needlepoint, please click this link.

  4. bascom hogue says:

    I am quite enjoyed looking at this work and I will spend much time looking at the work on the links.

  5. Jill M says:

    Really inspiring – particularly love Kazuhito Takadoi’s work – beautiful.

  6. Gerda Carstens says:

    This is so inspiring!!!

  7. Gina woods says:

    Fantastic! The exciting thing about textiles is it’s non-acceptance within the ‘artworld’. But there lies it’s potential – so much is unexplored and yet to be revealed!

  8. Margaret Hynds-Ryman says:

    Great art with meaning. I found Ana Teresa Barboza’s work absolutely compelling. Why is the graphite woman holding such a huge colourfully embroidered bird? Why? What does it mean? Is the bird sleeping or dead? If it is the latter, did the lack of respect we have for the environment kill it?

  9. Joanne Agioritis says:

    Inspiring work. Full of ideas to take you new areas of creativity.

  10. Joe says:

    Hi Sara – I absolutely take your point and I’ve amended the text in response. I have nothing but respect for our heritage and my own grandmother created beautiful embroidery art, some of which I still have today. I think I was trying to make the point that these artists are doing something new and fresh, but I can see how using the term ‘little old lady’ may be taken as derisory – it was not intended as such – more to evoke an image of old vs new (not that either is necessarily better). Thanks for the comment.

  11. Charlie says:

    Oh my goodness! These are totally incredible! I wrote an article on embroidery recently http://theswatchbook.offsetwarehouse.com/2015/01/25/hand-embroidery-haute-couture-designs/ – just going through the basics, and inspiring others to hand embroider their work for a personalised couture touch, but this has inspired me to write a new post on really different, contemporary designs. Thank you!

  12. lakshmi says:

    I have never seen just this kind of work it’s great

  13. Ali Bishop says:

    Thank you Sara….I quite agree with your comments and your power with words is quite awesome. Bet you made a few folks see things in a new light. Also, you made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

  14. Very beautiful all of them….they give me new inspirations!

  15. Gloria says:

    Hermosos y creativos todos los trabajas. Felicitaciones

  16. I `feel` very nuch the embroidered mags and newspapers, It is the kind of art i could make! For myself i have created one work where i included a Book cover embroidery, out of which i took a phrasse , As well as a Title page of a Dutch Handcraft magazine that my Great Uncle pblished , mirjam

  17. Ryan Jaxon says:

    i really appreciate this blog amazing embroidery 🙂

  18. MarilynJanet says:

    Thank you for this very inspiring article. As a University student in a contemporary art school, doing textiles as well as painting, the ideas allow me to continue doing what I love to do. I have drawn a picture, then stitched in black and white. People looked at it twice before realising that I had used cotton thread. I am now more enthusiastic to keep on using my mediums, with paints, objects to explore my own potential. MarilynJanet

  19. Anita McIntyre says:

    Interesting artists

  20. Really enjoying reading about the work of other textile artists. As I am in New Zealand it is important to keep up with the work other artists are creating overseas. Interesting how often similar themes evolve and the different ways people approach the same concepts.

  21. Betsy Meyer says:

    Love these artists and their work.

  22. Rebecca says:

    I enjoyed reading about these artists very much. Thank you for sharing this information. I hope to see more of these artists’ work.

  23. Mark Daniel says:

    great very nice and very helpful blog,
    Thank you!

  24. Michael Woodward says:

    I can not get enough of this website! Love it so much.

  25. Claire says:

    What an amazing work…Love It!

  26. Mark says:

    What a work, really liked the vogue design. Hope to see more post like this.

  27. what a visual feast and so inspiring, I’ve looked at the blog many times and still find myself mesmerized by the unique and clever way the artists express themselves using textiles as their medium x

  28. Patric Purnell says:

    It has taken 20 plus years to find the right formula Which I have explored the world of fabrics texture & colours in my own art works

    Textileartist is a new & refreshing site full of advice.
    Thank you Patric Purnell

  29. Mark Oscar says:

    very nice collection i appreciate thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Carole Free says:

    I am an old lady (81) is 5’7″ little? And, I’m a granny.. also, I am an artist and I find this blog to be incredibly inspiring. Seeing this new, contemporary work stimulates my own muse. I work mostly with collage now, but have been a painter and embroider-er most of my life.. I can see a new connection between my collage imagery and fiber and thread because of your site. Thank you so much for all the work you put into creating your blog. It is wonderful.
    👏👍🏻Carole Free

  31. Tran Trung says:

    I was fascinated by the talent of Ana Teresa Barboza

  32. Stuart Broad says:

    Wow this Embroidery is amazing and I want to appreciate you for sharing as this article is very helpful 🙂 Keep on updating about new things as well 🙂

  33. Winifred Willcox says:

    So many talented & inspiring artists ….You lift my heart ! Art unites cultures

  34. Aimee Aimee says:

    Custom Embroidery Digitizing
    Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it

  35. Aimee Aimee says:

    Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it

  36. Ana Martin says:

    The article of this quality is really hard to find. I am really glad that I found your article

    Custom Embroidery Digitizing

  37. H.W. says:

    I can’t afford any of these artists’ work, but still it’s comforting knowing it’s out there, being done, kind of like how Jesus is out there somewhere, forgiving sins. Or like the power company, making electrons shoot through wires I forget are even there,

  38. Suzy Cortez says:

    Great work of embroidery .Embroidery Packs I truly appreciate your efforts. You did a great job

  39. Sasha White says:

    Fantastic Artwork. Being in machine embroidery business we still admit that hand embroidery is way too classy!

  40. Ana says:

    I love all that textileartist.org shares with us. Inspiring, interesting, intriguing and so informative. My favorite source of art information. Thanks so much!!!

  41. Rikrit says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  42. Here says:

    Autor, thanks for the interesting article! Nice information!

  43. Here says:

    Thanks you for the interesting information! Good article!

  44. Website says:

    Dear author of a superb post! I would like to thank you. Nice to read your quality articles. The topic is actually quite relevant. I think that each reader will appreciate your own efforts and this guide. Be sure to share this article with friends and coworkers!

  45. Kaile says:

    Hi Joe,
    Didn’t know anything about them before reading your article. Now learn a lot of those legends.

  46. Really informative post, really they are worth considering to be studied there work is fab. Thanks for sharing.

  47. tency rock says:

    very nice work all images are very unique and meaningful

  48. I agree that embroidery is every bit as expressive as painting, or any other “fine art” application. Shari Wolf Boraz

  49. Madeline A Vinitsky says:

    Fascinating. I am a grandma, too. I started doing needlepoint and embroidery back in the day. I found knitting is my 1st love but, I always do some embroidery especially in the summer. I love to embroider on knitting projects. Recently that president ok cess was featured in a fiber art magazine.
    Thank you for this post. It encourages and inspires me!! I think the time to appreciate and respect fiber arts is long overdue. Boston has a knitting guild which I plan to rejoin. About 100 active members, the education and talent offered is amazing.
    The benefits of fiber arts are numerous also, lowering blood pressure, decreased anxiety, developing community, an income for some, increased self worth.
    I am a grandma but not crocheting the same Afghan sitting in my rocker.
    That is one type of fiber artist. The options are as varied and diverse as we are!!

  50. Enjoyed these taster articles and learning of artists I didn’t know. Will investigate further. Thank you v

  51. It is great to know that embroidery artists start getting their recognition in the contemporary art field. Thank you for making this list. I follow many of the artists from it already and I have found several new ones for me to follow.

  52. Jill J says:

    Those are all so cool!

  53. I’m using this website for a research homework and it is very good in my opinion

  54. Ziva Seidler says:

    Wonderfull article, Great Artists !

  55. Warner Brown says:

    This is a really love this pictures, and lots of information about embroidery design.
    Thanks for sharing information.

  56. nice article, it is very helpful for me. i really appreciate your efforts. this is interesting to read and very clearly explained the ideas. recently i get service from the digitizing company. it was a great experience for me. so thanks for sharing such an amazing article.

  57. Arnob says:

    Very Very Thanks for this very inspiring article. As a student in a art school, doing textiles as well as painting, the ideas allow me to continue doing what I love to do.

  58. Ahmed Imran says:

    It is really lovely topics, and also a lots of info about deep embroidery designs.
    Thank you very much for sharing this information.

  59. Michelle says:

    The list is still uncompleted but crafted some of the best artists that I have known for years.

  60. TonyaParsons says:

    Very Very Thanks for this very inspiring article. As a student in a art school, doing textiles as well as painting,

  61. Ben Rodrick says:

    I have recently taken up embroidery, and have tried to find some sites online to help, does anyone out there know where I can find some sites to help me, or can any of you help me? My biggest problem is trying to fill in the picture after getting it outlined, any help is greatly appreciated.

  62. Kimberly says:

    Just stunning …..but even more important inspiring ! Love the subjects especially grocery cart…..thank you for sharing

  63. Raj Mehra says:

    Hi, it is really great art of embroidery, loved your art. Good job, thumbs up for your work.

  64. Thank you, Kayleigh. Christina purchased her fabric from frabric.com
    Have a look at these other resources she uses for her projects as well.

  65. Warner Brown says:

    This is the nice work and great work for embroidery digitizing
    Thanks for the sharing information

  66. Warner Brown says:

    What a lovely things and great work about embroidery stuff

  67. Eric Paul says:

    I am quite enjoyed looking at this work and I will spend much time looking at the work on the links.

  68. Warner Brown says:

    Good work for embroidery
    Thanks for sharing

  69. Warner Brown says:

    This is nice work for embroidery

  70. Warner Brown says:

    This is nice work for embroidery
    Thanks for sharing

  71. Cada uno me parece muy, muy buenos y me encantaría ser una entre todas pero no llego a elegir y comenzar. Felicito a todas y a cada una por los trabajos realizados.
    Felicitaciones a Joe & Sam y a cada unos de quienes se presentaron.

  72. Ava Garcia says:

    Great Ideas for Embroidery, Thanks for Sharing.

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