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Embroidery Redefined: The Innovations of Contemporary Artists, Featuring Chloë Morter

Embroidery is a time-honoured art form that has been practiced across cultures for centuries, characterized by the use of needle and thread to embellish fabric surfaces with decorative designs. Although traditional techniques continue to be celebrated and practiced, contemporary embroidery artists have developed new and innovative ways of working that are redefining the boundaries of the craft.

One notable contemporary artist is Chloë Morter, whose work often features bird imagery and reflects her love of the natural world. Morter employs both traditional and modern techniques in her practice, using photos and sketches as the basis for her designs, which she then breaks down into minute, intricate elements. These designs are then transferred onto an embroidery machine, which she uses to stitch the design, followed by adding depth and detail with free-motion stitching on a sewing machine. Morter's pieces are known for their multiple layers of thread, which create a tactile, three-dimensional texture and a sheen that is almost luminescent.

In addition to her use of embroidery techniques, Morter incorporates collage elements into her pieces, which she builds up with fabrics, coloured silks, and lace to create a background inspired by nature. These elements are then integrated with her stitching, which blends different textures, patterns, and colours together, creating an intricate and harmonious composition. Morter's work also occasionally includes printed or stitched words and phrases from poets and nature writers, lending a literary dimension to her art.

Contemporary Embroidery Artists

Morter's work is emblematic of the broader trend of contemporary embroidery artists, who are exploring the limits of the medium and its potential for innovation. Other artists, such as Cayce Zavaglia, Danielle Clough, Hiroko Kubota, and Sarah K. Benning, are also creating work that showcases the diversity and richness of contemporary embroidery. Zavaglia's work is characterized by her hyper-realistic portraits, which are rendered with thousands of stitches in thread that mimic the look of brushstrokes. Clough, on the other hand, creates vibrant and colourful pieces that explore the playful possibilities of embroidery. Kubota creates delicate and intricate works inspired by traditional Japanese art, while Benning combines traditional techniques with a contemporary sensibility to create botanical and landscape scenes that are whimsical and evocative.


Alongside the work of contemporary artists, advancements in technology have contributed significantly to the evolution of embroidery. Computerized embroidery machines, for instance, allow for the creation of highly detailed and complex designs with greater speed and efficiency than ever before. Meanwhile, new materials like conductive thread and 3D-printed fabrics are being used to create pieces that blur the lines between embroidery and other media, such as electronics or sculpture.

All of this means that today, embroidery continues to be a rich and diverse art form that offers endless possibilities for artistic expression. Contemporary embroidery artists, like Chloë Morter, are combining traditional and modern techniques to create new, innovative, and highly expressive works that push the boundaries of the medium. Through their skill and creativity, these artists are keeping alive the tradition of embroidery while simultaneously reimagining its potential for the future.

You can discover Chloë's work at Artizan Gallery in their May 2023 "Natural World" showcase alongside works of landscape artist Kerry Johnstone. For more information, visit



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