Stephanie Kelly Clark is an artist from Salt Lake City whose hand embroidered dwellings are simply stunning.
“I consider myself a painter and I paint with thread. The process of transforming string into art struck me as something visually stimulating with complex simplicity. Painting with thread is my way down the rabbit hole, my looking glass if you will.
“My background in painting has allowed me to explore the material using techniques that derive more from the worlds of drawing and painting, engaging both traditional and innovative techniques in employing formal qualities with density, texture and pattern. The embroidery floss is my palette and the needle is my paintbrush. I create a method of embroidering the threads in an arrangement that would initially create value, color and depth and as I lay the colors down they instantly blend themselves. This process has had its way with me, leading me from hobby to art.
“My work is an ode and influenced by the worlds of Tapestry and my love for craft. Using thread instead of oils has allowed me to bring new purpose to my painting process. Depending on what fabric I’m embroidering on, is compared to a certain kind of paint. When I embroider on canvas it feels like oils; it flows, it blends, and it’s rich. When I embroider on loose shear or silk, it’s like a watercolor; its delicate, the thread goes where it wants to go, and it moves with the fabric.
“My work blurs the lines between fine art and craft. I’d like to think I can reclaim the word “craft” which contains the idea of an unusual frame of knowledge and skill passed on from generation to generation. My art is what I make, my craft is the skills I have learned in order to make it brilliant. The use of craft such as embroidery fits my concept of domesticity, therefore my process and material becomes involved in the concept of my work. The idea of using embroidery permeates the feelings of my grandma’s home and the embroidery skills she has passed down to me. With that, I use embroidery to create the domestic feel to tell the story of life in the home and family.”
Simply put, I absolutely love this work. Stephanie Kelly Clark’s use of satin stitch in her Dwellings series is a simple concept yet something that I’ve never seen applied with such skill and effect. Not only does she create buildings filled with character, her minimal use of background elements effortlessly adds a simple narrative to the work.
There is an elegant surety to the work, and the seemingly effortless way she manipulates light and shade, and depth and texture, without overly complicating the stitching… well, it’s simply stunning.
Her mixed media pieces are equally impressive – the embroidery and painting sit together with ease, with both elements sitting in harmony yet with distinct identities.
It’s been a while since someone’s really blown me away with their work – a visit through Stephanie Kelly Clark’s portfolio will leave you breathless. And you can enjoy her other creative outputs on Instagram as well!