In the series “Ça va aller,” photographer Joana Choumali adds embroidery to images captured of her African hometown, Abidjan, in the days after the March 2016 Grand-Bassam terrorist attack that took 19 lives and injured 33. She began embroidering as a way to cope, with the series evolving from this approach. The artist observed a melancholic population following the event.
Ulla-Stina Wikander, an artist living in Stockholm, creates cross-stitched sculptures using domestic and everyday objects as her base. Wikander isn’t dissuaded by the complex edges and surfaces of machinery and furniture: Each piece becomes a surreal, yet familiar art object when embroidered by the artist. Depending on the project, time spent on each work can vary wildly.
Louise Riley, an artist based in the London, began sewing because frankly, she was “too fast at painting.” She found that embroidery, in particular, gave her a chance to really immerse herself and understand what she was creating. And then one day, she tried a new experiment, using a mattress as her canvas.
Diane Meyer emulates pixels and digital imaging with cross-stitched embroidery, sewn into her photos. Whether it’s a series of travel captures or her own, personal family snaps, Meyer explores both intersecting eras of photography and the concept of memory itself. The result is something that both distorts and celebrates the longevity of these experiences.
“I love bodies,” says artist Sally Hewett. “It is not the conventionally beautiful bodies that take my eye, it is bodies which show their history, that have been altered by their experience.” The UK based sculptor centers her works on the ugliness and imperfections of our bodies, and uses the prettiness of embroidery to offset how we view them. Describing her sculptures as a divide between craft and art, Hewett’s sculptures play around with our perceptions of ourselves and what needs to be “fixed”.
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.