When it comes to hoop art, light-colored fabrics are a popular choice to embroider on. But, don’t overlook dark cloth. As Lindsay Swearingen demonstrates, it too can create beautiful pieces. Under the moniker Tusk and Cardinal, the Californian sews nature-inspired pieces that showcase, most notably, flowers and hands on a black background. The contrast makes her designs pop, and I love the tattoo aesthetic that she has in some of her pieces. The creatures, in particular, have the distinct feeling of blackwork-style body art.
Follow along with Lindsay’s hoop art on Instagram. And for her embroidered goods, head to the Tusk and Cardinal Etsy shop.
It seems forever ago when I first featured the embroidery hoop art of Sarah K. Benning (it was 2015!). Since then, the nomadic contemporary embroiderer has created a myriad of other works, all of which revolve around people, plants, and interiors. She’s also hosted workshops and participated in gallery shows, in addition to creating a popular pattern program; known as #SKBDIY, each month she introduces a new DIY pattern that’s available on Etsy.
Embroidery can take many forms, one of my favorites being tiny pendants to wear as jewelry. Artist Sarah Buckley has created a series of exquisite necklaces that feature stitched bouquets sewn on cotton and suede. The colorful, tiny hoop art hangs on antique chains that add a hand-crafted statement piece to your favorite outfit. I’m very partial to the piece above—it seems like the perfect complement to my blue and grey-loving closet.
Sarah sells these creations and other conventionally-sized embroideries in her
Etsy shop, Itty Bitty Bunnies.
Teresa Lim creates embroideries that are simultaneously lush—full of color and texture—while also mimicking the look of a sketch. Teresa makes detailed portraits with thin, black thread, and surrounds them dreamy blues, pinks, yellows, and greens. Together, they’re a compelling juxtaposition, with a nice compositional balance between visually light and heavy.
It’s not hard to see where Teresa’s interests lie: illustration, embroidery and surface pattern design. Through her work, she wants to “blur the lines and boundaries between being an illustrator and a textile designer.” It’s a good place to be.
Cinder & Honey is the brain child of Caitlin Benson, a Vancouver-based artist and embroiderer. Much of her work involves flowers—which ya’ll know I love—and even some tattoo imagery (above). I’ve always been attracted to color luscious and thick stitching, of which Cinder & Honey has both.
Caitlin sells her vibrant hoop art through Etsy. In addition to already-stitched pieces, she sells downloadable patterns for you to DIY.
Emillie Ferris creates hand-embroidered hoop art starring a myriad of creatures. From foxes to bees to Lil’ Bub, the Suffolk-based artist stitches them all in majestic, realistically-styled portraits. They’re simple—devoid of a background—but demonstrate an impressive amount of depth in terms of their color and shading. Each meticulous stitch creates a feeling of dimensionality, whether it be in wings or fur.
Emillie’s hoop art is my favorite parts of her portfolio, but she also has embroidered necklaces for sale in her Etsy shop:
Last week, I presented a challenge for 2017, and I’m hoping you’ll join me! The project is called 1 Year of Stitches, and it’s a 365-day project in which you fill a hoop (or two) with a crazy amount of colors, patterns, and stitches. 1 Year of Stitches is the brainchild of Hannah Claire Somerville, who has invited anyone interested to join in this impressive endeavor. Inspired by her work, Michelle Anais Beaulieu-Morgan embarked on this craft journey in mid-2016. Now, she’s about halfway through (you can start at any time of the year).
You know the saying think outside the box? Well, Veselka Bulkan, aka Little Herb Bouquet, thinks outside the embroidery hoop with her exquisite vegetable art. Combing traditional stitches with felting, she creates tiny carrots, radishes, and onions that dangle the edge of their wooden circle. I love how subtle and peculiar these creations are—it takes you a second to notice the felting because you aren’t expecting it and assume everything is contained in the hoop. Not the case!
Veselka sells these creations on Etsy.
Do you want to try embroidery but don’t know where to start? Patterns can help you become comfortable with wielding a needle and thread as you learn new stitches. And with the recent revitalization of hoop art, illustrators are creating modern modern hand embroidery patterns that you can try today.