Firecracker Studio

Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Welcome to Gear Threads, where we showcase artists who are elevating machine embroidery to new heights!

There’s pure magic coming out of Firecracker Studio, the home of Wellington, New Zealand multimedia artist Katherine Bertram. Formally trained as a printmaker in Sydney, Australia, Bertram creates incredible works of art using freehand machine embroidery, skillfully placing thread to create uniquely captivating images — like this striking fabric-collaged portrait of her daughter, complete with blue crown. THOSE EYES.


Bertram’s stitching creates texture and nuance out of stark black and white, in a manner that echoes engraving or linocut prints.


Her work’s not only at home on gallery walls — Firecracker Studio sells embroidered items like these bird purses and cushions, for usable Textile art that brings a bit of that magic to everyday life.


Captivated by Bertram’s unique style? See more of her portraits, creatures, cityscapes, and fabric collage pieces!

What Technique Is This?

This is free machine embroidery and if you want to find out more about it, check out our dedicated post!
We’ve featured some great free machine artists on the site – here are four you might like!

Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery Designs

Gear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at