Once upon a time in a far far away land Grandma stitched a pillow. And that all is gone. Where is the Grandma no one knows, and there is a bunch of young girls stabbing the frabric with shiny needles. Welcome to XXI century hand embroidery revival.
Ok. Maybe a grandma metaphor or association is not the best one. Maybe there wasn’t any grandma. Maybe hand embroidery has always been sexy? I hope so. I’ve been sticking with that topic for three years so far. And I’ve seen more and more young women and men taking up the art of hand stitching. An old traditional techniue that has a fresh new spirit. An enormous space for exploration for new artists. A field of art that has huge potential for conveying new messages.
Artitsts take up that intuitive method of art and turn it modern just by adding their own original interpretation, scale or mixing with other mediums. They go beyond embroidery and use machine embroidery as well. They combine any textile art technique imaginable to create new suprising effects that can feed the viewers eyes, figuratively speaking.
If you want to understand it better check out some of the modern hand embroidery artist that brings the fresh spirit into art of needlework. Artworks stitched by Danielle Clough suprise with the unusual base that is often a fence net or tennis racket. Incredible realistic portraits of family members by Cayce Zavaglia show how embroidery can merge into painting. Elaborate Insects stitched from precious metal threads by Laura Baverstock. Are just a few examples of the variety of forms that embroidery can take.
For those who think that embroidery is sexy as well as for those who are not convinced I prepared sweet and short Q&A guide into embroidery.
What is hand embroidery?
Hand embroidery is a textile art technique that is performed using thread or yarn and needle. The artist stitches manually the thread onto a piece of fabric or other material.
How to start embroidery?
If you want to start embroidery you need a few things. A needle, a thread and a fabric. It is much better to stretch the fabric, so you can stitch easily. The easiest way to stretch a fabric is hoop. For your first project you can use straight stitch – it is the simplest stitch. You push the needle up from below the fabric (remember to hook a thread first) and then you push the needle down in the point “B”. You may also look for stitch glossary in this article: all about stitching
What do you need for hand embroidery?
A good DIY embroidery starter kit
These must have tools and materials for a beginner taking up embroidery:
* one embroidery needle
* threads in your favourite colors
* fabric (the best choice is linen or cotton)
* hoop or frame that help you stretch the fabric
Extra tools and materials that will let you have more fun:
* beads and sequins to stitch them onto design
* yarn or wool to add more texture
* paints (acrylic paints recommended) to color the fabric
* screwer to tighten the hoop screw
* water soluble or air soluble pen
* metal threads
* scrap materials to incorporate them into the design
* ribbon for stitching or finishing the hoop