Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Anyone who attempted to try their hand at embroidery over the pandemic will know the incredible amount of work and detail that goes into a single piece
Once thought of as slightly old-fashioned, something genteel Victorian ladies did to fill their endless empty hours, embroidery is seeing now something of a resurgence. However, while many of us remain very much in the “amateur” department, Ireland really has some magnificent embroiderers of its own. Some but a contemporary spin on this traditional crafts with sharp lines, geometric shapes and unusual subject matter, while others use their canvas and hoop as an artform, unfolding incredible illustrations, sitch by sitch.
Some are humorous, chic, and even political. With a number of Irish embroiderers creating amazing work, here are some of our favourites.
Specialising in a type of embroidery called goldwork, which uses metal thread that is wrapped around a fibre core to create a raised effect, Sorcha O’Raw has been getting attention for her series of iconic Irish foods.
Kerrygold, Tayto, and Brennans have all made it onto her list so far, and she’s currently working on Barry’s, although plans to diplomatically move on to Lyons.
Domino Whisker spent much of her childhood in LA, but returned to Ireland, and her work shows influences of both places. Her designs lean towards the minimalist, but often hold a deeper meaning. Pieces on her online shop often disappear fast, but she also has two enamel pins of her designs, if you can’t get your hands on her embroidery.
Ursula Burke is an Irish artist who works with sculpture, embroidery, drawing and photography. Much of her recent work explores politicians and their abuses of power. Depicting modern politicians in embroidery, inspired by a Baroque style, is suggestive of an ideal version of society unravelling.
Northern Irish embroiderer Roberta learned to sew from her grandmother, and has taken the medium to her own place, using it to express a whole range of quirky designs. She has a range of pieces for sale on her Etsy store, and also does commissions.
Focusing on embroidery patterns, kits and workshops, Sligo-based Chloe Jo helps people create embroidery on their own. She sells patterns as well as full embroidery kits, to get you started on your way to producing your own work of art. She taken some time off this September but her shop will restock again come October.