Oliver Bliss: Artist/Activist Images of men on Instagram who display their tattooed bodies feature in Oliver Bliss's recent textile art portraiture series #SoftLads. Oliver told us about his favourite piece, Artist/Activist, featuring the model Yves Mathieu East. See how Oliver created his portrait of artist and activist Yves through machine stitch, hand stitch and appliqué, using fabric paints, cotton, African wax print and recycled fabrics.
Oliver Bliss: Hardcore Vibes When Oliver Bliss's university teacher persuaded him to spend his student savings on a sewing machine, a whole new direction opened up for him. With no formal training, Oliver taught himself to machine stitch. Years later he is a textile artist building detailed portraits with layers of thread, appliqué and recycled fabrics.
Sue Stone, Brooklyn: Recollection, Return & Repartee (detail) ‘Artist’s Block’ is the bane of every maker’s experience. You’ve got the materials and techniques to hand, but no story to tell. UK artist Sue Stone is sharing her sources of inspiration that can help you regain your creative mojo. Get ready to start making!
Sue Stone: East End Chair Inspiration is not a given when it comes to creating. Good ideas and passion for our subjects can be elusive at times, and it’s hugely frustrating. Fear not! UK artist Sue Stone is sharing her key sources of inspiration, many of which you can use in your own work. Prepare to start making again.
Ruth Norbury was already a successful artist with multiple commissions for her embroideries of British birds. But she wanted to make work that felt truly personal – and this scared her. Would anyone like it? Or even understand why she was so attracted to much darker subject matter – like urban decay, gothic imagery, and the way the mind works (or doesn’t)? Ruth found the courage to make the change and, in the process, discovered a whole new audience. Read more about her ‘Gothic Decay’ journey.
The darker side of life has always intrigued Ruth Norbury. But how to translate a fascination with urban decay and fantastical, gothic landscapes through her love of embroidery? Hardly an obvious fit. The answer was to get ‘grubby’ with her textiles. Ruth still brings her exquisite needlework skills to her artwork but now she layers in texture too, using an exciting array of techniques. The result is a range of haunting textile images, which are truly unique to her.
Bridget Steel-Jessop: Lost (detail) Bridget Steel-Jessop is successful today because she just won't give up. A career path wending its way through upholstery, art teaching in mental health, and counselling finally led her to design the bespoke commissioned maps, woven with embroidery and appliqué, that she creates today.
Bridget Steel-Jessop: Self-portrait (detail) Unable to carve out a career path in medieval tapestry weaving, Bridget Steel-Jessop set about finding other jobs that could utilise her textile design skills and love of people. But it was only when her son became more independent that she could honour her innate creativity. She bought a stitch dictionary and, after five years of 'hard stitching', finally found the confidence to state 'I am a textile artist'.
Bridget Steel-Jessop: Sunflower A childhood spent sorting through sacks of Victorian clothes, picking apart and giving new life to silks, lace and buttons – add to that a frustrated artist mother who fostered in her daughter a 'fear of being ordinary'. These were the inspirations behind Bridget Steel-Jessop's career as a textile artist – once she had broken every rule and guideline in her textile design degree.
Charles-Henry: Burning Sky Paris When Charles-Henry and Elin Petronella first met in Paris in 2016, they wandered the streets at all hours of the day in awe at the beautiful architecture. So, when Elin taught Charles to embroider like her, it made sense to combine their travels with stitching the streets.
Elin Petronella: Manarola Embroidery Charles-Henry and Elin Petronella are leaders in the field of architectural modern hand embroidery. They're the authors of Mindful Embroidery: Stitch your way to relaxation with charming European street scenes and have taught thousands of students to stitch like them for soothing calm and joyful creativity.
Charles and Elin Petronella stitching their embroideries: Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Knotted Eye When two young people – one French, one Swedish – met in a Parisian cafe in 2016, they never imagined that they would develop an international online embroidery academy … and that's not all.
Bethany Duffy: Settled Bethany Duffy knew she wanted to combine her beloved seashell collection with embroidery, but how? This is the story of how a creative experiment led to an ingenious (and now much admired) use of her gifts from the sea. We promise you haven’t seen seashell art like this before!
Bethany Duffy: Fade to Blue Bethany Duffy is literally making waves with needle and thread. Combining stumpwork, embroidery and found seashells, Bethany recreates the beauty and energy of the waves that pushed her seaside treasures to shore. If you enjoy textile art using found objects, this article is for you.
Bethany Duffy: Infinity If you’re a beachcomber with a bevy of seashells to hand, this article is for you! Bethany Duffy is sharing her remarkable techniques for embroidery and stumpwork with shells. She not only attaches them to fabric backgrounds, but she also creates 3D sculptures. We promise you’ll be inspired.
When you grow up in the USSR darning socks with a grandmother who is a watercolourist, a journaller, a photographer, a stitcher and a paediatric surgeon, what do you become? When Natalya Khorover moved to New York she studied fashion design, and worked in fashion, films and costume. Now she uses her stitching skills to create artworks that use waste materials to inspire kindness to the environment.
Natalya Khorover, Iron Spine: Hot in the City 'All you have to do is to look at your supermarket purchases and you have a whole new stash.' Natalya Khorover Why is it that the favourite material of New York textile artist Natalya Khorover is single-use plastic? Well, it's not only perfect for this city girl's urban-inspired artwork but she's passionate about minimising its impact on the environment.
Meredith Woolnough: Precious Possibilities (detail) Imagine peering through a microscope at human cells and then being asked to stitch what you saw. How would you capture the shapes, the movement, or the colours? Meredith Woolnough was given just such a challenge, and her response using freehand machine embroidery will take your breath away.
Meredith Woolnough: The New Neighbours (detail) ‘Nature’ has been an artistic theme since the beginning of time. But what about microscopic nature? How does one stitch a human cell? Meredith Woolnough didn’t have an answer at first, either. But she figured it out, and it’s amazing.
Hanny Newton: Copper flow (detail) When you embroider, the whole universe shrinks down to the size of your canvas. This was a revelation for Hanny Newton. This intense focus, along with a habit of working on several projects at the same time, helps her to generate ideas. By working on several pieces simultaneously Hanny can move freely between concepts, allowing her sparkling creations to evolve.
Hanny Newton: Emerge 3 Bringing goldwork into the contemporary sphere is Hanny Newton’s goal. And to innovate, she sets some limitations – this helps her to experiment. By sticking to just one stitch type, or one simple idea, Hanny gains the freedom to explore without being overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. Then she allows herself to become obsessed. Playing with pattern, shading and light leads to these stunning goldwork abstract artworks.
Marja-Leena Kejonen: Copenhagen Building Block Socks (from Jake Henzler's pattern) While working in Copenhagen, Jake Henzler was awestruck by the incredible range of colours in his favourite yarn shop. He felt compelled to make a knitted blanket of every painted building in the vibrant city. After much testing his Copenhagen Building Blocks pattern was born and has been made into items as diverse as blankets, a housecoat and even a pair of socks.