Welcome to the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, where we showcase people whose embroidered creativity is fresh and new!
Emma Balder is a New England-based visual artist whose installations are abstract maps of experience and intuition.
She received her BFA in Painting and Art History from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Emma was awarded a year long Staff Artist Residency Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and has received recognition in publications such as Studio Visit Magazine, American Art Collector and Fresh Paint Magazine.
Emma’s work displays maps of personal experiences within both real and imagined space and time. Intrigued by her abstruse and transcendental relationship to the landscape, Emma’s work addresses the everlasting mark that an experience within a place can leave on an individual.
By combining personal and sometimes nostalgic materials (for example, pieces of old clothing, maps, thread) with acrylic paint, the effervescent energy of each piece leads the viewer through traces of her personal histories. While her artwork varies in medium, the documentation of the process is where Emma’s interest rests.
The Pinglet project documents a process of regenerating Emma’s work. This project began with the physical deconstruction of one painting; the disjuncture of parts were then rearranged and reconstructed with needle and thread to form each Pinglet.
As each piece is unravelled, there exists an opportunity for creative reflection – like a DJ remixing their own tunes, Emma takes her own good ideas, and injects them with embroidered adrenaline.
It’s fascinating to see how one mode of art can be re-processing into something new, and how Emma’s work is pushing at the boundaries of the form. Whereas her early work was a small scale exploration – that Pinglet is a modest 12″ x 13″ – her more recent work is getting bigger and bolder.
Whether it’s deconstruction of materials to make fiber paintings, or building huge sculptural quilted paintings like the one above – installed at Foltz Fine Art in Summer 2022 – it feels like Emma is thirsty to explore more. I admire her fearlessness, not only in terms of scale, but in her willingness to let the process take over. There is a real sense that she is producing textile alchemy and it feels like the sky is the limit.