Melanie Wallas, Kitchen Icon, 2019

Anne Katrosh, 2017

Contemporary & Experimental Embroidery

Contemporary embroidery can move beyond the traditional limits of home-worked, functional objects like embellished textiles, and it often prioritizes subject matter and forgoes conventional techniques.

A Little History

Contemporary needlework techniques continue to blossom all the time. Often favoring subject matter, imagery, colors, and shapes over technique, execution, or stitch plan, experimental embroidery pushes traditional methods to new places.

As with art of any medium, “contemporary” styles are defined by how they break with tradition, the unique role they play in society, and they continue to develop and evolve through time. Fiber artists like Ghada Amer, Kent Henricksen, Murizio Anzeri, and Erin Endicott help define what contemporary embroidery looks like in the 21st century.

Of course, each era has its own contemporary techniques, as defined by what was experimental and novel for that particular time. During her lifetime (1755-1845) English artist Mary Linwood used embroidery in news ways, copying old master paintings in thread, and being the first woman to exhibit needlework outside her home.


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