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Michelle Kingdom is a Los Angeles based embroidery artist who we have featured on the site before, but her hand embroidered vignettes are so hauntingly good that they merit more attention.
Michelle has always been involved in art, but since 2010 she has been sharing her hand embroideries, whose muted tones and wistful stitches belie dark storylines and she’s quite rightly gained a huge following on social media.
Each of Michelle Kingdom’s embroidered vignettes is a glimpse into an alternate world, where human tension is expressed in dramatic ways. In her early works there was a focus on the individual, exploring the personal tension between expectation and reality through the use of the natural world as a protagonist.
Her more recent pieces have a broader perspective, often reflecting the increasingly fuelled atmosphere in the global political realm. While Michelle does not directly reference “real world” events, her works are grand performances with complex characters and more overt aggression.
At the same time, Michelle’s embroidery technique has become looser and more illustrative, with open space playing as important a role as the colour shading and texture. The use of linen for the background of her works anchors these pieces in a folkloric context, and in many ways they feel like snapshots of a dystopian world that is both familiar to ours and yet distinctly different.
Faceless characters perform rituals and elegant horrors appear before us. Michelle’s work is as distressing as it is beautiful. Each vignette gives us food for thought and although the titles define the situation, we are allowed to form our own conclusions of the acts we are witnessing. It’s such great work – every new piece Michelle creates is visceral and poignant.
For an indepth exploration of Michelle Kingdom’s early work and her process, be sure to read Olisa Corcoran’s Inspired to Stitch interview, and visit Michelle’s website to stay tuned into her creativity. You won’t regret it.
The Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery. Committed to changing the way the world thinks about needlecraft.