This year has been tough for many, but creatives have found a way to move forward and continue making art from home. Textile artists around the world have used the extra time in their studios to produce spectacular works of embroidery art inspired by a variety of different subjects and places. While some of these artists rendered lavish images with thread painting techniques, others pushed the boundaries of texture and created three-dimensional shapes.
Last year we saw several textile artists capturing the beauty of their natural surroundings in various European countries, as well as creating fantastic landscapes from their own imagination. Jura Gric produced a masterful needlepoint painting of a burning house in the middle of a verdant forest, and Sew Beautiful combined different techniques to depict fluffy clouds rising from a vibrant blue sky. Other embroiderers practiced rendering their subjects with masterful realism, including Desert Eclipse Studio, which stitched three-dimensional braids that extended beyond the hoop.
These talented artists prove that the age-old craft of hand embroidery is still full of creative possibilities. Scroll down to discover the most impressive and innovative embroidery art projects of the year.
Check out our picks for the best embroidery art of 2020!
Amazing thread painting by Jūra Gric
Inspired by the rich forests of her home in Lithuania, artist Jūra Gric has meticulously stitched an image of a burning house in the woods. She used a needle and thread to make a variety of expressive stitches that look like painted brushstrokes. As a result, each of her completed hoops is like a portal to a different captivating setting. “Needlework can be extremely time-consuming, but all the intricate detail and texture is why I was so drawn to embroidery in the first place,” Gric told My Modern Met. “Right now, I try not to create shortcuts or merge embroidery with other mediums. I take a more traditional approach, letting the embroidery shine on its own as the wonderful artistic medium that it is.
Colorful 3D embroidery by Sew Beautiful
British artist Sew Beautiful takes the art of embroidery to the next level with her eye-catching 3D landscapes. Each vibrant scene is rendered using a variety of dots, resulting in highly textured patterns that resemble paintings of colorful landscapes. From purple and pink flowers rendered in French knots to vibrant skies depicted in long-lasting dots and fluffy clouds made from balls of yarn, every part of her design is a visual treat.
Realistic butterfly brooches by Georgie Emery
British artist Georgie Emery creates realistic butterfly embroidery art that you can hold in your hand. Her brooches represent the species vanessa cardui (also known as painted lady), which exhibit patterned blotches of brown, orange, red, black, and white. Each of these accessories is made to the actual size of the butterfly counterpart, so they look even more real when pinned to a jacket lapel.
Impressionist embroidery by Ludmila Perevalova
Many people are drawn to Impressionist paintings for their dynamic depictions of the countryside. The artist Ludmila Perevalova draws inspiration from this 19th century style for her sumptuous thread paintings. She sews hills, flowers, trees and windy skies with a plethora of long and short stitches coming out of the hoop. Its sumptuous layers of color make every scene a sight to behold.
3D Hair Embroidery by Desert Eclipse Studio
Embroidery artist Maria of Desert Eclipse Studio is not afraid to tackle the most intricate hairstyles. She specializes in commissioned portraits of one, two or three people gazing at a starry sky. Customers can request different hair colors and styles, such as flower crowns, French braids, and buns. She fashions the hair with different shades of yarn to give the coif a voluminous and realistic feel.
Aerial View Landscape Embroidery by Victoria Rose Richards
Those who like to fly know there’s nothing better than looking out of an airplane window to see the landscape below like a patchwork of abstract shapes and colors. Inspired by aerial views, textile artist Victoria Rose Richards creates colorful 3D embroidery designs based on the rural landscape of her hometown of Plymouth, England. She uses a variety of embroidery techniques to create her multi-textured works. Trees and foliage are rendered in clusters of French knots while fields and lakes are recreated in long, straight satin stitches. Each highly detailed piece looks like a textile snapshot taken from the sky.
Textured Oasis Embroidery by Suter Design Co
Textile artist Fenny Suter of Suter Design & Co. creates 3D yarn paintings you’re meant to touch. Her extraordinary embroidery art evokes the different tactile sensations of a day at the beach, from the cool splashes of the tide to the smoothness of the sand to the softness of the leaves. And inside these lush scenes are tiny human figures lounging in the water. They seem to capture a fleeting moment in time, where everything is filled with a sense of serenity.
Abstract embroidery by Litli Ulfur
Artist Litli Ulfur lets her experiences in nature guide her incredible maze-like designs. She assembles abstract landscapes composed of leafy forests and lush moss that invite the viewer to take a closer look and become immersed in the fascinating textures. Its combination of textures includes French knots, tufts and smooth stitch areas. “I’m not looking for literal forms,” she tells My Modern Met, “abstraction best reflects my own perception of what I see.”
Seasonal 3D embroidery by Kayra Handmade
Dutch fiber artist Ceren, aka Kayra Handmade, has a way of capturing the movement of a moment in time. She creates 3D embroidery designs of female subjects with loose yarn hair and flowing fabric dresses as if summer breezes or autumnal gusts gently sweep over them. These illustrations are expressed using a variety of stitches made in colored threads as well as other unconventional elements such as glass beads and fine fabric.
Bee-autiful embroidery by Emillie Ferris
Inspired by “nature, magic and all things fantastic”, British textile artist Emillie Ferris sews embroidery designs of butterflies, moths, bees and flowers. She bases her designs on vintage entomology illustrations, which she then infuses with her own romantic touches to create a loving portrait of the subject. Her meticulous needlepoint painting captures all the subtle intricacies of a moth’s patterned wings and the fuzzy little hairs on a bee’s body.
3D landscape embroidery captures colorful aerial views of rural England
An embroidery artist “paints” expressive landscapes using needle and thread
3D embroidery imagines women with clothes that effortlessly come out of the hoop
Idyllic seascapes adorned with embroidery capture the serenity of a day on the water