The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Michelle Hayworth

The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

This weeks post features the work of Michelle Hayworth. As with (it seems) most of the groovy stitchers featured on the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, Michelle currently lives in Brooklyn*.

Michelle Hayworth Family Hour

This is what Michelle says about her 2008 Retrofit Memory series:

I come from a family of undisclosed origin that relocated often. As a result, I have become occupied with reconstructing memory through family snapshots and embroidery. The photograph is scanned, enlarged, and printed on paper. The image is then adhered to canvas and I begin to draw on the surface of the photograph with a needle and thread. The stitching models the details that have been lost through time and by the enlargement process in order to reclaim their reality. This slow method of sewing on an image we normally associate with spontaneity embodies the relationship of time in the present to our reconstruction of time in the past. My attraction to the use of the snapshot and the stability of stitch is rooted in the feminine as well as being an attempt to salvage permanence from the fleeting nature of my history. When I look at these images, I have little memory of them. As a result, I feel a physical impulse to consume them, as a way of enveloping them into my identity.

Michelle Hayworth Family Hour Detail

Once you see the detailed pictures of Michelle’s work, you start to realise how amazing it is. The level of detail and stitching in each piece is intense.

Michelle Hayworth Retrofit Memory

Michelle told me that each of her pieces takes between 150 and 200 hours to complete, and once you realise the scale of the work, you can see why. Michelle’s pieces are generally 30″ by 39″, so the amount of work that goes into each piece is incredible.

Michelle Hayworth Retrofit Memory Detail

I imagine there’s great personal value in taking the time to revisit and embellish works that feature family members – you can’t help but explore your responses to the content matter whenever you craft, and this must have been an interesting experience.

I think these pieces are terrific, from a technical perspective you can’t failt to be impressed with the work. But the added value of them being an exploration of personal family history elevates the work to a much higher level. I just wish I could see these pieces in real life…

You find out more about Michelle on her website, where you can explore some of her work in other media. Highly recommended!

What do you think?

* Clearly Brooklyn is a nexus for stitch based awesomeness… If anyone has a map of ley lines and can check that out for me, I’d be grateful.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.