Sarah Greaves is a Manchester-based artist who I’ve been excited about for a long time.
“I describe my work as Embroidered Graffiti. I use the traditional craft of embroidery to vandalise and graffiti everyday objects with emotive, political and thoughtful text. Fridges, doors, food and sinks become canvases for hidden thoughts.
“My work explores stereotyped identities and gender roles, our internal monologues and the public and private “self”. It pushes the tradition of embroidery and reframes the location and voice of the graffiti artist. The embroidered text is delicate and “feminine” while the process demands “masculine” tools such as drills and clamps. Visceral, intangible thoughts become permanently graffitied onto familiar, domestic objects.”
It comes as no surprise to regular readers that I love this stuff. All too often embroidery gets contained within the textile world and so it’s terrific to see Sarah knocking the ball out of the park and stitching on all manner of surfaces.
We sometimes forget that embroidery is rebellious and can be used as vandalism, and Sarah’s work reminds us of these facts (fortunately without breaking any social rules). From the softness of a banana through to doors and metalwork, Sarah punches holes in familiar objects and makes us think differently about them.
I’m really interested to see how Sarah’s practice evolves. The premise is simple and yet there is so much space to explore. While some of these pieces are rendered inert – holey kitchen sink! – others of them gain a new sense of beauty and grace. Who wouldn’t want an embroidered door inside their home?
I hope that other artists feel inspired to take stitch out into new contexts. Just be sure to visit Sarah’s website and give her the praise she deserves.