The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Nicole Briant

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Welcome to the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, where we showcase people whose embroidered creativity is fresh and new!

Nicole (Briant) Melton is an artist and graphic designer living in Chicago, USA.

Nicole Briant - Blackness That Feels Blue - hand embroidery

Nicole received her BFA in Visual Communications and Fiber & Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2010. Her mother taught her to sew when she was just 5 years old. After high school, she spent several years stitching handwritten letters with dental floss on paper. But it wasn’t until she went to college that she discovered her love for embroidery.

Nicole Briant - Ride To Live (work in progress) - hand embroidery

“During her junior and senior years at SAIC, embroidery became an obsessive pursuit, in a stint of time-intensive, reflective stitch courses, taught by admired mentor/artist, Rebecca Ringquist. Rebecca’s stitch classes allowed Nicole to remove herself from the rigidity that came with her graphic design studies, and to further explore her own personal artwork.

Nicole Briant - King James Version - hand embroidery

Nicole often layers personal memory and narrative in her embroideries. She uses embroidery in a prosaic tone to make flawed images that are telling of the medium and its tedious nature. Her art is often subdued in color palette and resembles drawing more than painting. Using personal experience and familial connections, her embroideries speak of loss, love, confusion, personal identity, and the desperation that follows.”

Nicole Briant - Sarah And David In Blue - hand embroidery

I really like the rawness of Nicole’s work. Some of her pieces prove that she is competent with the materials, which makes some of her edgier pieces that bit more powerful. I’m reminded of Tracey Emin works, where deliberate mistakes are added; Nicole’s work has an urgency and discomfort about it that contrasts with the traditional softness of the form.

Nicole Briant - A Beautiful World Came To Pass - hand embroidery

Sweet and sad, many of the pieces contain poignancy while others are simply charming. Find out more about Nicole at her site, or follow her on Instagram.