Cutting & Stitching Edge

The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

Kate Crossley is a textile artist from Oxford.

Kate Crossley - Chrysalis

“I love to use the medium that speaks to me at that moment and is best suited to the idea, I use paper, fabric, stitch, paint, dye, photo transfer, fibre etch, paper mache, resin and found objects. The piece may become a quilt, a wall hanging, a box or a book.

“Ideas of layering, wrapping and preserving are returning themes, I often build up layers of fabric and embroidery only to use acid on the surface to burn away parts to reveal detail underneath, a sort of artist’s archaeology.

Kate Crossley - Book at Bedtime

“I enjoy telling a story, of things that have gone before and of objects that have become precious and have a story to tell. Although my work often has a strong personal theme this is not always obvious; it is important to me that my work allows the viewer the space to invent and interpret the work for themselves.

“All of my work contains some elements of stitch and textile. I mainly use a Janome machine and a Juki machine for free machine embroidery and with my newest purchase, a New English Quilter which allows me to use my Juki more like a long arm quilter. I love to use free machine embroidery, especially for adding text, combined with patchwork and quilting. I often work in multiple layers, burning back the surface with devore paste to create exciting new fabrics and unusual, aged surfaces.

Kate Crossley - Box Of Delights

“I use various weights of calico cotton, muslins and scrim, lots of pure silk, especially dupion, alongside recycled fabric. For thread I use a pure silk and really love Texere’s brilliant selection. Most work starts off white or cream and I like to use walnut ink, Procion and natural dyes to colour recycled fabric. I also use different photo transfer methods. Bubble Jet Set is wonderful to use if you want to print directly onto fabric using an inkjet printer and Lesley Riley’s Transfer Artists Paper is lovely to use as you can draw and paint over images and distress the surface before you iron on to the fabric.

“I have also learnt simple mould-making and casting techniques as well as resin casting as sometimes I want multiple objects in a piece and this is the simplest way to reproduce a found object. Of course sometimes an object is simply too precious to use in a cabinet so a mould and cast allows me to go ahead and use it.

Kate Crossley - Clock

After making “Clock” and winning the Quilt Creation section at the Festival of Quilts this year I was asked if it could go on display this March at the American Museum in Bath alongside some of their wonderful old clocks and quilts. They have a wonderful collection of quilts on display and this year are hosting an exhibition Hatched, Matched, Dispatched – & Patched! An exhibition featuring quilts and garments associated with birth, marriage and death which looks amazing. I will also be running some workshops at the Museum the first is on May the 9th.

Kate Crossley - Clock (detail)

Kate is fearless in her exploration of the textile form. Her huge sculptures are created with an array of printing and embellishment techniques that are quite frankly, mind boggling.

Kate Crossley - Kate's Book Of Common Prayer

I discovered Kate’s work last year, and was blown away by the chrysalis piece in particular. Her art is packed with narrative and and you have to take time to fully explore her work. Whether it’s digital printing, resin work or soft sculpture, there are loads of techniques to be enjoyed. The fabric force is indeed strong in this one.

Kate Crossley - In The Beginning There Was Void

I love art like this, where you’re forced to take time out to properly engage with it. Visit Kate’s website to keep up with where you’ll be able to see the work for yourself.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

Hannalie Taute is a mixed media artist from the Klein Karoo, South Africa. Her latest show “Cross My Heart” runs from 10 February – 30 March 2015 at Erdmann Contemporary in Cape Town.

Hannalie Taute - Sacrifice

“Taute’s work is in a constant state of evolution, which in itself mirrors many of the ideas behind her art. One central theme or unifying characteristic is the repeated exploration of identity.

Hannalie Taute - Fauna and Flora

“She explores this concept by means in which people often have many, and sometimes conflicting, identities to which they answer to. This is perhaps most striking in her upcoming show Cross My Heart, her 6th solo exhibition, where Taute again returns to the medium of recycled inner tires with embroidered thread.

Hannalie Taute - Pigs

“The coarseness of the rubber is counteracted by the delicacy of the thread, but this is subverted, as often the stitching and composition of the rubber tires are delicate and the thread seems almost rough in its arrangement. Taute manages to make the medium of the piece interact with the subject matter in a way that forces the viewer to deeply engage and question with the art-works.”

Hannalie Taute - Safe

I’m a sucker for stitching on interesting surfaces and so it’s no surprise that Hannalie’s work really excites me. I asked her a bit more about the process and Hannalie explained that although she’s only recently started using embroidery in her work, she’s getting into it.

“What I can say is that I enjoy the process of getting the rubber in such a state that I can start embroider on it, basically using one type of stitch, in order to practice ‘painting’ with the thread. I started to explore size in the work, and find different challenges to do the actual act of embroidery on that size.”

Hannalie Taute - No Hard Feelings

I love the hi contrast stitching and the punk aesthetic that arises from stitching on a fetishistic surface like rubber. There’s a rawness to the work and a brutality that is quite arresting. With strong characterisation and a dark sense of humour, it’s a great exhibition and I’m just sorry that I can’t make it to South Africa to see it.

Hannalie Taute - Cross My Heart

As part of the exhibition, you can enjoy this e-catalogue of the exhibition to get even more of this terrific work.

Visit Hannalie’s website to find out more about her remarkable work.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch


Teresa Lim is an embroidery artist from Singapore.

Teresa Lim - Sew Wanderlust Prague - Hand Embroidery

Sew Wanderlust is Teresa’s ongoing pet project to document her travels. It started in 2014 in Perth when  she was at the beach and she wanted to take a photo of the sunset but her phone has ran out of battery. She only had her craft supplies with her and she thought that maybe it would be great to embroider the scene instead. That was how “Sew Wanderlust” started.

Teresa Lim - Sew Wanderlust Charles Bridge, Prague - Hand Embroidery

“In her own words, she says ‘Embroidering a place instead of taking a photo makes so much of a difference. When you take a photo of a place, you don’t notice the small details. But when you draw or embroider, your eye picks out so much more detail that you wont usually notice. And after I complete a piece, I feel like I actually KNOW the place.”

Teresa Lim - Sew Wanderlust Singapore - Hand Embroidery

What a nice idea. Teresa says it takes her a couple of hours to stitch each piece and I can’t help but imagine that it’s a couple of hours very well spent. I’ve stitched on holiday before, but never had the thought of stitching my surroundings. Now it seems like that’s the only sensible thing to do…

Teresa Lim - Sew Wanderlust London - Hand Embroidery

Teresa recently graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore with a first class BA Hons degree in Fashion design and textiles and has already worked with big names like Swarovski, H&M and Harpers Bazaar. A visit to her website showcases the breadth of her work, which extends much further than Sew Wanderlust.

Teresa Lim - Sew Wanderlust Frankfurt - Hand Embroidery

However this was such a simple and elegant idea that it merited a post of its own. If you feel inspired to do something similar, be sure to contact us and tell us about it. Be also sure to visit Teresa’s website and enjoy an emerging talent as she grows and evolves.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch
Rebecca Harris is a mixed media artist from Plymouth, England.

Rebecca Harris - embroidery hand

In May 2015 the Eden Project in Cornwall will be opening their new permanent exhibition ‘Invisible You: the Human Microbiome’ supported by the Wellcome Trust. A collection of various artists have been selected to bring the invisible world of the microbes that live in our bodies to life for the viewers. Artist, Rebecca D. Harris, whose work is predominately textile based, was selected for her proposal to create a hand and machine embroidered wall hanging which explores how our microbial communities form us. In particular, her focus is on the very start of our lives when we are sterile in our mothers’ wombs and the pregnant figure portrays the body as a microbiome and its effects on our physical landscape. When we are born our bodies are 100% human, by the time we are adults our human cells are outnumber 10:1, resulting in us being 90% microbes!

“Our bodies are an enormous microbial community, which works together to keep us healthy and as such we are referred to as an eco-system. Using this analogy of the body being like a geographical area, Rebecca established a method of representing the twodimensional body with a three-dimensional effect similar to that of a topographical map’s contour lines. Using medical imaging techniques (MRI), the artist traces around each ‘slice’ of the human body and the ‘landscape’ created is the chartered area of trillions of microbes to be explored and discovered.

Rebecca Harris - Head

“In talking about the process Rebecca says “before the work even began on fabric there were many painstaking hours, days and weeks using the medical imagery software and Adobe Illustrator. Each line has to be perfect, and in many cases I drew much of the lines from scratch. I did not have a full figure scan, the figure you see is a combination scans on various parts of the body brought together. There were also none that had breasts so I had to draw these myself. Furthermore, it’s important to protect the identity of the person and so a lot more manipulation is made to obscure them.

Once this was complete I printed off the whole life-size image on many pieces of A4 paper. Using the technique I learned through a masterclass with Alice Kettle I would work from the rear of the piece, winding embroidery thread into the machine’s bobbin. This allowed me to follow my printed template which was much harder than it sounds, and required lots of editing, tidying up etc afterwards.

Rebecca Harris - Eden Project


“The first stage of the hand embroidery started with the baby, using just normal sewing thread I wanted to create a flat, drawn like image. As this area will not have any further embroidery on it I wanted it to have a stillness and lack of texture to fully represent the sterile nature of the womb during pregnancy.”

“Moving on from this stage Rebecca is currently hand embroidering many thousands of French knots. For which she wanted the ‘terrain’ of the body to have a beautiful and seductive surface of ‘colonies’ occupying the ‘landscape’. They represent the microbial communities that our bodies are covered in and are part of. They are bright and tactile, and so, enable the viewer to engage with the positive aspects of our microbial colonies. All too often the focus is placed on the microbes that harm us. Our bodies are not blemished by the microbes, but like what the artist is doing with the embroideries, they are embellishments, a way to seeing the positive side of the microbes we share our existence with, and more so, owe our existence to.

Rebecca Harris - Latest Work

“The colours and crowding of stitching is in no way random. Working with Professor Michael Wilson, from the department of Microbiology at University College of London, the pair are working as a team to best represent the different types of microbes that inhabit the surface of our skin. Using data and images from Professor Wilson, Rebecca is interpreting the best way to represent how the microbes colonise in certain areas and to what extent they do so. Rebecca adds: “it’s not that you need to have a ‘key’ next to the work or even know what, where or why, it’s just that it needs to give the idea that we have a huge variety of microbes on us and they like some places better than others!”

“Rebecca is due to spend many more hours to complete this piece, and as she has become rather experienced at creating French knots and as the majority of the work does not require a great deal of concentration she wants to get share this process with others. The artist has therefore decided to go out into the community to sit and sew, and allow interested parties to then come and enquire about the ideas and science behind the work. “I am very interested in breaking down that wall between artist and viewer and not leaving the work to the grand reveal”.

Rebecca Harris - Head (detail)

“To start, Rebecca will be in the Wellcome Trust building (next door to the Wellcome Collection) this Friday (30th January) in the morning and afternoon for some sit and sew sessions. Then on the 10th and 11th February she will be at The Core, Eden Project’s education building and the following weekend, 14th and 15th February, at her home studio in Launceston, Cornwall. This joining of science and art is by no means a new venture, as it is seen as early as the Renaissance period with Leonardo da Vinci. It is however, an exciting and interesting way to take something as domestic as the hand stitched knot, done many thousands of times over, to represent our invisible world. It engages the viewer with not only science and art, but what it is to have a human body and for us to start exploring the exciting world of our microbiome.

Where textiles are used to conceal the body, Rebecca uses them to reveal.

Rebecca Harris - Feet


I love science stitching, the use of our favourite tools to explore something that might be technical and yet at the same time quite personal. Rebecca’s pieces give us a new insight into the shapes and composition of our bodies, reminding us what a precious ecosystem we are. It’s great to see this project grow and big props to Rebecca for getting embroidery into such prestigious establishments.

eden-project-logo wellcome-logo only




If you’re able to join Rebecca on 30th January or any of the other dates, I would encourage you to do so. It can only be a good thing. Visit her website to keep up with this fascinating project!

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