The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Megan Canning

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Megan Canning is an artist from Brooklyn.Megan Canning's Bump (The Sense of Touch)

Her most recent exhibition “Inside There Is Everything” is a collection of hand embroidered canvases that explore the five senses. They focus on how our senses are processed and the physiology behind these sensory experiences.

Megan Canning's I See (The Sense of Sight)Megan explains her work:

“My interest lies in the convergence and overlapping of the scientific and the metaphorical — where the two inform one another and result in a deeper understanding of the human experience. I am interested in the relationship between inside and outside, and what takes place below the “threshold of awareness” – specifically in relationship to the human body and its internal systems, anatomy, organs and then its external form.

“Hand sewing and traditional embroidery techniques have gradually become a key element in the work, for both visual and conceptual reasons. Sewing literally pierces the ‘skin’ of the work, and also becomes a metaphor for the body – the embroidery results in an orderly, clean surface and a messy, chaotic underbelly, just like the skin is a calm exterior that masks the complex inner workings of the human body.

“Through my work, I am attempting to illuminate what is usually hidden beneath the surface — the physical interior of our human bodies and the memories stored within.”

Megan Canning's Laughed (The Sense of Hearing)

I really like the style of these pieces – they retain that classic educational feel and yet there’s clearly a contemporary twist with them. The cross sectional diagrams of our sensory anatomy show us the mechanics that enable us to comprehend our world – these organs and nerve endings provide us with the context of our experiences, and Megan’s work gives us time and space to consider these processes in a bit more detail.

Megan Canning's Down Down Down (The Sense of Taste)


As part of her MFA thesis, Megan created an installation entitled “There Is A History Here Upon My Skin”. Embroidered pieces mixed with poetry phrasing create an exhibit that explores touch and sensation and the connections that lie within. I’ve spent a bit of time pondering on this particular installation and I like it – it’s a piece that you can get lost in.


 Megan Canning's There Is A History Here...

Megan’s work can be explored in more detail over at her website. I’m very interested to see what she creates next.


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.