Cutting & Stitching Edge

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

Emma Blackburn is a textile artist from Manchester.

Emma Blackburn - 1. Without you

“Emma Blackburn’s work aims to encourage people to think differently about fragmented, ‘dead’ and hidden objects and their connection with the past. She is particularly interested in how curators interpret, conserve and present historic textiles. As such, the majority of her artwork has responded to specific places including country houses, museums and galleries and their collections and archives.

Emma Blackburn - Red Tunic

Historic research plays an important part in informing Blackburn’s practice. She has studied banner conservation at the Peoples History Museum where she explored how support fabrics are used to create visual infill, structural stability and aid interpretation of damaged textiles. This research generated large-scale ideas and explorations using traditional textile methods including hand embroidery, dye and screen-print.

Emma Blackburn - Warning Braids (detail)

“For Blackburn’s final MA piece: Red Tunic (2013), she was commissioned to respond to the Ancient Egyptian textile collection at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Here, she re-interpreted a child’s garment to reflect the fragile relationship between life and death, or more specifically for this commission, the ‘life’ in cloth, attempting to re-connect a fragment with its past. Intervention with museums and their audiences is considered to be a significant element of Blackburn’s work and its development in the future.”

Emma Blackburn - Red Tunic (Back)

One of the things that interests me about Emma’s work is the historical connection and the way her work has been influenced by her involvement with the People’s History Museum. Her work is contemporary in construction, yet looks as though it was made a very long time ago. The statements applied to the work transform them from simplistic objects to contextual icons; we can understand them more readily and they don’t necessarily need an accompanying narrative to begin the dialogue.

Emma Blackburn - Save Grandmas Crocheted Doily

With strong connections to political activism through craft, which is something that will always appeal to me, and a clever application of technique in destroying and reconstructing the materials, Emma’s work is very clever. I’ll be interested to see what she comes up with next.

Emma Blackburn - 2. Without you

Find Emma on Facebook to connect with her.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch Mana Morimoto is an embroidery explorer from Tokyo, Japan. She’s been exploring a simple concept lately and I thought it merited a closer look.

Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads

“I think it was a few months ago, probably in June when I first tried scanning threads. I’m never good at organizing embroidery floss and my desk was always covered by them and I just loved how they look. They were beautifully tangled up and I wanted to keep them the way they were, but then I needed to clean my desk so that’s when I though of scanning them.


Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads

“I just read someone writing about my scanned threads work on their blog and they were saying I’d carefully place embroidery threads or something like that, but I’m never careful when placing threads on my scanner. I just grab threads and then kind of spread them before scanning.


Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads

Then, I send a scanned image to my iPhone and spend hours on my photo app cropping it, rotating it and making it symmetrical. I repeat the process and always end up making like 30 different versions from one scanned image.

Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads



“I could spend a whole day working on these and never get tired. I never know how the final images would look like when I scan threads but they always turn out beautiful I think!”


Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads

This is such a lovely idea. Technology can help us explore the world of embroidery in new and different ways, and Mana’s simple concept is a great example of where we could go. Her execution of image manipulation is fantastic, and you do get the impression that the pieces are entirely hand made. It’s great stuff.

Mana Morimoto - Scanned Threads

Mana’s tearing it up on Tumblr and is also floating around on Facebook. Go give her some love.


The Cutting & Stitching Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the must-have embroidered art book by Mr X Stitch !


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

Kathryn Harmer Fox is a mixed media artist from South Africa.

Kathryn Harmer Fox - Branded

“I am a multimedia artist working predominantly in fibre and more specifically, fabric and thread. I believe that the ability to draw frees me as an artist and gives me the vocabulary with which to visually communicate my own particular imagery. Whether I am ‘telling my picture’ with a pencil or a paintbrush, a sculpting tool or a sewing machine, I am essentially drawing my idea into a communicable reality. 

Kathryn Harmer Fox - Looking Forward into the Past

“I am a representational rather than an abstract artist and even though I have worked on landscapes, I am drawn to the figurative in art, whether that figure be human or animal. I have been gifted with being born in Africa. Growing up with the knowledge and presence of wild animals is an honour and an endless wonder and I find myself drawn to interpreting their hides, their heads, their expressions. In the midst of all this indigenous, wild beauty, the expressive movement of a hand or a face, the glance of an old woman is often as endearing. Then there are the shells, the flowers, an aloe, the burst of growth in a tangled root – I am surrounded by an endless source of inspiration which is lit by a clear and hot sky.

Kathryn Harmer Fox - Lion

“Fibre, as a medium holds an endless fascination. It is not only the surprise of discovery: a painting made from dress material and sewing thread and drawn with the domestic sewing machine! It is also the endless formats to which this medium lends itself; a painting draped across a wall, a sculpture standing proud, art cut and sewn and worn as a coat or sat upon as a chair. Fibre art can be made from as disparate materials as human/animal hair or used food wrappers. It can be dyed, painted, torn, shredded, seamed, stitched, cut, padded. I am continually, excited and inspired by this multi-faceted medium.


Kathryn Harmer Fox - Portrait of a Dog


Kathryn’s work engages me, quickly and quite deeply. Her characters draw me in and then the nature of the stitch holds me. Much like Cayca Zavaglia’s hand embroidery, or some of the Irish sewing machine work we’ve featured on here, Kathryn is able to produce a pencil-like illustrative style of embroidery that is very appealing.

Kathryn Harmer Fox - The Makers

Her human figures have a stillness about them yet each piece has an implicit storyline; her animal work contains hints of primal power. All in all, it’s a very interesting collection of work and another fantastic example of free machine embroidery.

The Pigness in Us All. Fabric and thread.  50cm X 50cm (Not for sale)

Find out more about Kathryn at her website, or find her on Facebook.


The Cutting & Stitching Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the must-have embroidered art book by Mr X Stitch !


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

Jan Huling is a beadwork artist from New York.

Jan Huling - Pasha - beadwork

“My three-dimensional collages combine found objects with surface design, sometimes touching on narrative themes. I’m also drawn to religious and political icons, inspired by a continuing fascination with indigenous or popular culture and world religions. By juxtaposing these icons with an eclectic assortment of objects, the viewer is challenged to consider common images within an altered context.

Jan Huling - Pasha (detail)  - beadwork

“In each of my constructions, surface design is the key component. Czech seed beads adorn objects in colorful patterns, camouflaging their original circumstance, allowing us to see them as pure form without their usual connotations. The process is slow and meticulous, zen-like, with the choice of forms motivating color schemes and iconography.

Jan Huling - Pasha (detail)  - beadwork

“Certain themes continue to resonate for me. The dolls I frequently include in my constructions explore dreams of childhood while removing them from the realm of cherished playthings. For me, musical instruments represent the lyrical joy that music imparts to our lives and hearkens back to youthful dreams of virtuosity. Birds, in their quicksilver beauty, represent ultimate freedom.

Jan Huling - Blythe (detail) - beadwork

“I’m also now working on two-dimensional pieces, using tiny colored paper dots to embellish found images such as postcards. My goal in covering the surfaces of sculptural objects or flat images, is to transform the mundane and allow us to imagine the magic within the familiar.

Jan Huling - PoopyHead - beadwork

There’s a real strength of design and colour in Jan’s work. The boldness of the beadwork emits great vibrancy and is quite joyful. They teeter on the brink of gaudiness in the same way as Frederique Morrel’s repurposed needlepoints.

 Jan Huling - The Offering - beadwork

This kind of work makes me want to get some beads and see what I can enrich. It’s another paradigm shift and alters in the way we can consider beads and what to do with them. It may not be needlework in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely a bit of a game changer and that does the job for me.


The Cutting & Stitching Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the must-have embroidered art book by Mr X Stitch !


Mr X