We’ve covered many fantastically strange and unusual embroidered works on our blog over the years, but sporting equipment wins as the most unconventional choice. Cape Town, South Africa based VJ-photographer-textile artist Danielle Clough (who goes by “Fiance Knowles” on instagram) breathes new life into vintage wooden tennis rackets with her decorative embroideries. Her beautifully clever series titled “What a Racket” has nothing to do with tennis however (“Does this count as being interested in sport?” Clough jokes at her website.) Instead, she describes her work as a celebration of color, featuring florals like roses, tulips, and succulents like aloe, sewn onto classic Badminton rackets.
Earlier this month, we shared with you the intriguing embroidered installations by Beijing based artist Gao Rong, uncanny and realistic replicas of her childhood home in inner Mongolia. Using the Chinese embroidery she learned growing up as her primary technique, Rong was able to create stunning copies of artifacts from her memories for that series. Her new series applies the same handicraft but to a much more minimal, even painstaking degree. Aptly titled “The Simple Line”, Rong goes in the opposite direction of her complicated and detailed spaces and embraces simplicity and abstraction.
Chinese artist Gao Rong uses the handicraft she was taught as a child to create unbelievably realistic replicas of her gradparents’ home and parts of their surrounding neighborhood in inner Mongolia. Rong doesn’t consider herself an embroiderer, but rather a sculptor who uses embroidery. She likens her installations to sculpture, made from materials like cloth, cotton and sponge supported by metal frames to recreate things that would otherwise go unnoticed- thousands of tiny stitches are layered onto the fabric to create the effect of rust on pipes and peeling wallpaper.
New York based Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita, featured here, creates unique pieces of art using everyday objects and materials like paper and plastic. Among her most notable and surprising works are her Light-shadow series, where materials are arranged in relation to a single light source to reveal the true subject in the shadows. Opening on September 11th, Yamashita will exhibit a variety of new works in a solo exhibition at Art Front Gallery in Tokyo. In addition to her popular shadow art, she will present a series inspired by origami, the art of folding.
Chilean artist Jose Romussi adds embroidery to paper photographs to extracts a third dimension, and thus a nascent personality, out of an otherwise flat image. By doing so, Romussi opens space for alternative interpretations and methods of viewing a staged image. The artist refers to his work as an “intervention,” and in many ways, his intentions are similar to other contemporary artists who use yarn as a method of interrupting the norm. Like “Yarn Bombing,” which is often performed as a softer act of graffiti in public places, Romussi’s compositions attempt to re-define notions of beauty while simultaneously drawing attention to social issues, such as the re-appropriation of African patterns and other non-Western traditions in high fashion.
Burbank, California based artist Michelle Kingdom creates fantastically strange embroideries on linen that look like paintings. Some have even dubbed them as “stitched paintings.” For Kingdom, they are “narrative embroideries” that weave stories made out of thread. Embroidery is oftentimes discarded as craft, but that is part of its appeal to the artist, who uses it in an unexpected way to express her innermost thoughts and escape to her imaginary world.