Traditional embroidery and textile arts are enjoying a renaissance as we rediscover stitching techniques once popular during our grandmothers’ times. Embroidery, needlework, appliqué and quilting are au courant in illustration, fine art and craft.
Stitch•illo highlights the many sides of this resurgence: the textural, labour-intensive works of textile artists who tell stories through their work; illustrators who eschew digital tools and are turning to needle, thread and fabric as a means to communicate; and creative entrepreneurs employing stitching and needlework to build fulfilling businesses. Through techniques that emerge from the domestic arts, women are reclaiming stitching as a medium that goes beyond decoration or simple function. The needle is likened to a pencil or paint brush; thread, yarn and fibre is the paint.
The artists profiled within Stitch•illo honour their own histories and cultures while layering upon them. Wielding simple needle and thread, they stitch powerful messages. They push boundaries, both of what society expects of women’s art, and what the artists expect of themselves. They illustrate the world around them—or conjure new ones from deep within their imagination. They create beauty and find peace. They tell deeply personal stories, and in the process share universal ones of connection and feeling.