The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Nicola Searle


Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Nicola Searle is a textile student at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Nicola creates stitched maps that explore the geology and topography of continents. She explains:

The intention of this body of work is to view maps in a totally new way. Throughout history maps have grown to their current pinnacle of design, with each mark revised and refined to complete the visual language we see today. I have found a beauty in this and have been inspired by the wealth of pattern and repetition in soil, resource and topographical maps. All readable information has been removed in the form of keys or labels and through the use of delicate techniques and muted colours to focus on the beauty of the design.
Combining a soft muted pallette and grids I have tried to soften the hard utilitarian design found in modern maps. This has been mirrored in the techniques I have used, combining repetitional techniques of using graph paper, weave and the Creative Pfaff stitch machine with intricate pencil line, hand embellishment and Blackwork.”
It’s an interesting concept. Modern maps tend to focus on the minutae of the area that they cover; Nicola’s maps give a macro view of their subject and allow us to appreciate it in different ways. It feels almost like a celestial view on the matter.
Nicola has submitted her degree show work, which included a collection of six pocket designs along with other stitched samples and seven A1 drawings on graph paper that portrayed the continents, and we wish her all the best. You can see more of Nicola’ s work on her blog and her Flickr photostream.

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the must-have embroidered art book by Mr X Stitch !


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3 thoughts on “The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Nicola Searle

  • I’d previously seen these images in the flickr pool and I am so drawn to them! Maps, I think, are an art of their own, and I love this type of homage (even if that isn’t particularly the artists intention.) She is creating a new style of map, one that celebrates the artistry behind them but also makes us rethink a continent. Aside from all that, they are simply beautiful and the range of textures is so appealing!

  • Man! I just love that the maps are instantly recognizable, but that the details, textures, etc. aren’t. At least not to me.

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