The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Allison Watkins

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Allison Watkins is an embroidery artist from San Francisco. Her body of work is called “UNFOLDINGS”.
Allison Watkins - Closet Studies hand embroidery

Wanting to capture the transitional nature of clothing throughout our lives I drew and embroidered my closet from photographs. The clothing would come and go and I would always have this documentation of the way it once was. Through the trace and embroidery the garments became flat and unrecognizable- no longer functional, yet still tactile-between spaces, where it is unclear if the garment is deteriorating with time, or in the process of being created. I view these spaces as floating simulations between the photograph and three-dimensional garment.

Allison Watkins - Closet Studies hand embroidery

“I have been documenting my closet through embroidery for the past couple of years: The “closet studies” were made by drawing sections of a closet. They were made as a precursor to the larger, life-size closet drawings. Allison Watkins - My Closet in San Francisco hand embroidery

“My Closet In San Francisco” was my first exploration into the life-size closet; it is a documentation of my closet while living in San Francisco, and was recently shown at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY. Allison Watkins - Hers and His hand embroidery

“Hers and His” was stitched life-size from a photograph of a closet I shared with a boyfriend in San Francisco. There was little space in the apartment and we had to squeeze our clothes into one small closet. Allison Watkins - Hers and His hand embroidery

Allison’s choice of subject matter is fascinating. Our society makes us obsess about clothes and how they make us feel, yet we place them inside closets where they remain hidden from view. Allison explores that perspective, and makes us consider the value of these items when they are inert and impotent.

Allison Watkins - Closet Studies hand embroidery

The addition impact comes from the fact that these pieces are life-sized, which brings the subject even closer to our understanding. To study this work is to consider ones own materialism. Allison has exhibited in several US cities; visit her website to find out more.


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Mr X

Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, aka the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery is the founder of the Mr X Stitch site, the world's longest running embroidery blog, the curator of PUSH Stitchery and the author of the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch. He is also the founder of XStitch, the game-changing cross stitch design magazine which launched in Summer 2017.

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