Welcome to the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, where we showcase people whose embroidered creativity is fresh and new!
Stacey Chapman is an embroidery artist from Margate, whose machine embroidered portraits capture the humanity in all her subjects with style and grace.
I discovered Stacey’s work at the Handmade Fair and was blown away by her talent. Here’s Stacey’s story:
“Kirstie Allsopp’s “crack cocaine of the craft world” comment about freehand machine embroidery, proved to be utterly true in Stacey Chapmans world. A couple of years after watching said programme, she finally found the perfect subject matter to try out the craft that had firmly lodged in her brain – her Mums new rescue Chihuahua, deciding to make it for her Christmas present. She was studying dressmaking part time at Adult Education, so had a sewing machine, basic sewing/machine skills combined with her background in illustration, therefore thought the craft may suit her skill set.
“This first result was surprisingly pleasing, so after some research online, found that nobody else seemed to be selling freehand pet portraits in stitch. She found this astonishing as the craft lends itself so beautifully to fur and was thrilled to find and fill that illusive hole in the market. Hence Art Sea Craft Sea was born, the company name doffing its cap to the artist’s burgeoning artistic home town of Margate. She launched her business in November 2013 and has been overwhelmed with the response to the work ever since.
“Stacey describes her method as painting with thread. She sees it as a similar method to the popular Impressionist movement of pointillism, if there were such a word, she would call it “lineism”, as the overall colour is created by a mass of multicoloured and toned lines of thread closely combined. Using any thread that matches the required tone and colour, regardless of texture, price or finish, getting the colour right is vital. The metallic thread is the only exception to the thread free for all, they are reserved exclusively for the lights within the eyes, utilising different coloured metallics to maximise the effect. Stacey sites using each photographic reference of the subject in tiny detail as the key to the work, ensuring every colour/tone is as accurate or heightened as possible, even if only two stitches are sewn at a time before changing threads.”
It’s exciting to see a talent like Stacey burst into life and start sharing her skills for the enjoyment of others. Without a doubt she is a gifted illustrator and the connection with machine embroidery has unlocked something magical, in much the same way as Cayce Zavaglia’s hand embroidery. She has started with a focus on bespoke dog portraits, but I’m hoping she’ll spread her wings to embrace all manner of subjects. I don’t doubt she can handle it.