Textile artists inspired by birds

Textile artists inspired by birds

We can often identify the work of an artist by a certain motif or idiosyncrasy. Birds have been featured in artwork for centuries and seeing our feathered friends composed in thread is endlessly compelling

In this article, part of our Discover… series, we take a look at the work of five prominent textile artists who heavily feature birds in their work and we find out just what it is that inspires them to create.

Nicky Perryman

Nicky Perryman Sparrow

Nicky graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan University in 1988 with a degree in embroidery and has worked as a freelance artist ever since. She lectures and teaches workshops and has created work for international clients. Nicky says:

“Embroidery is such a flexible medium to work in… I enjoy using free machine embroidery and more controlled digitised computerised embroidery as well as the slow therapeutic way of hand-stitching. It’s very exciting to combine them together to get the best of every world. The imagery I use is whatever inspires me; nature; the secret lives of trees, birds, and animals that we can only guess at, ancient stories and symbols, poetry and prose”

For more information visit: www.nickyperryman.co.uk

Catherine Frere-Smith

Catherine Frere Smith

Catherine is greatly inspired by her faith and the beauty of the natural world. She studied printed textiles at Chelsea College of Art, graduating in 2011 and has since gained a wealth of experience working in areas as diverse as graphic design, homeware, fashion, stationery and fine art. Catherine has exhibited at Birmingham’s Interiors UK trade fair and The Affordable Art Fair in London.

For more information visit: www.catherinefreresmith.com

Mr Finch


Mister Finch is an English artist residing in Leeds who specialises in dramatic recreations of animals, using textiles as his medium. Creatures and birds are his main subjects, with his insects and spiders created on a much larger scale, but with an incredible depiction of detail. A self-taught artist, Finch searches for his materials in many places and finds hunting for cloth one of the most cathartic aspects of creating.

Much of his work is centred around insects and animals that hold significance in British folklore. Foxes and crows are among his most successful pieces. Finch works entirely alone and feels this solitude makes him more productive. He is a master of the imagination; his creations are highly original yet reminiscent of Lewis Carroll and A.A. Milne.

For more information visit: www.mister-finch.com

Gillian Bates

Gillian Bates

Gillian produces her art using free form machine embroidery combined with traditional, hand embroidering techniques. Her obsession for all things textiles led to Gillian successfully gaining a BA (Hons) in Textile and Surface Design in 2007.

Since then she’s been working as a full-time designer maker creating contemporary textile art from her studio based in the seaside town of Eastbourne, East Sussex. Her art has been exhibited internationally and more recently she created work for John Lewis and The View from The Shard. Gillian says:

“I believe that habit and habitat draw a veil over our eyes. We become so accustomed to the things we see every day that eventually we fail to see them properly at all.

The single greatest driving force behind my work is to pull back the veil on our surroundings by capturing a snap shot that reveals the beauty and quirkiness of British life.”

For more information visit: www.gillianbates-textiles.com

Ellie Mac

Ellie Mac embroidery

Ellie is a Brighton based independent embroiderer. Having learnt her trade at London’s College of Fashion, she now expresses her creative flair through embroidery whilst working with leading fashion designers and labels throughout the UK and Europe.

For more information visit: www.elliemacembroidery.com

Do you have a favourite artist that specialises in birds? Leave your comments in the box below.

Friday 19th, August 2022 / 01:11

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11 comments on “Textile artists inspired by birds”

  1. Shaila says:

    It’s a great joy receiving these mails. A lot to learn from various artists!

  2. My friend Renee Harris often uses bird imagery in her embroideries. See http://www.reneeharris.net/Pages/GalleryBirds.html.

  3. I’m really shocked that you missed Trish Burr and Salley Mavor. Both women are fantastic artists who often feature birds in their embroidery.

    • Daniel says:

      Thank you for bringing them to our attention Celeste. Much appreciated.

      • Pat Klein says:

        As I looked at each image of birds I found myself saying, “Oh my heavens!” As I am sitting here in suburban Philadelphia having my breakfast checking e-mails and looking at Nature Conservancy magazine ! Thank You!

  4. Rosie Langton says:

    And Mandy Patullo?

  5. Ruth Petersen says:

    i love what you have shown. For something a bit more quirky take a look at Ruth Packham. a Welsh artist using needlefelting. http://ruthpackham.com/?page_id=1023

  6. Textile artist embroidering dream inspired birds (often with portraits) in freestyle in only thread – instagram @bridgartcheryl or http://www.bridgart.com in Adelaide Australia.

  7. Jill says:

    Another talented Australian artist, Jan Clark, also often features birds in her artwork, both textile, drawing and painting. Check out “Go Create”.

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