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From Tradition to Innovation: Exploring the Evolution of Embroidery with artist Chloë Morter

Embroidery is a traditional craft that has been practiced for centuries all over the world, with the purpose of embellishing fabrics through needle and thread. Despite its functional origins, embroidery has become a popular form of artistic expression, thanks to the intricate and beautiful designs it can create.

Embroidery has played an important role in many cultures throughout history, serving as a sign of status, religious piety, and artistic skill. In medieval Europe, embroidery was a popular pastime among the upper classes, who used it to adorn their clothing and household items. The Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidery that depicts the Norman Conquest of England, is a testament to the level of skill and artistry that was achieved during this period.

Religious art, particularly in the Christian tradition, also made great use of embroidery. Opus Anglicanum, a type of embroidery that originated in England in the 12th century, was famous for its intricacy and beauty and was used to decorate religious vestments and altar cloths. In the Islamic world, embroidery was highly prized and was used to decorate a wide range of items, including clothing, cushions, and wall hangings. The use of gold and silver thread was particularly popular in Islamic embroidery, and many examples of this work still exist today.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, embroidery experienced a resurgence in popularity, particularly in the form of samplers and other decorative household items. Women and girls often spent hours creating these pieces, which were seen as a sign of their skill and virtue.

Chloë Morter, Contemporary Embroidery Artist

Today, embroidery continues to be a popular craft, with a wide range of techniques and materials available to artists and hobbyists. Contemporary embroidery artists like Chloë Morter have pushed the boundaries of the craft, creating stunning works of art that incorporate a wide range of techniques and materials.

Morter's work is inspired by her love of birdwatching and nature, and she uses photos and sketches to create detailed depictions of birds in stitch. Her designs are broken down into small, detailed elements and using embroidery and free-motion stitching, she creates depth and detail. Morter incorporates collage into her pieces, using old fabrics, silks, and lace to create a decorative and idealized background that blends together with the bird to create a beautiful, timeless piece.

Her work demonstrates the ongoing evolution of embroidery, showcasing how contemporary artists are using the craft to create new and innovative works of art while still honoring the history and tradition of the craft. She pushes the limits of the traditional techniques and materials used in embroidery, incorporating new elements and technology to create innovative pieces.

Autumn Magpie, £350
Autumn Magpie, £350

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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