Craft Contexts

With Ink or Thread

Embroider by Marguerite Zorach, 1900

{ My Home in Fresno Around 1900, wool embroidered on linen, Marguerite Zorach }

I fell down the rabbit hole recently, scouring the interwebs for some visual inspiration in textile arts. Crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, applique, quilting–I’ve always loved a good fabric craft! I was recently reading about Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968), who was an American painter turned textile artist considered a pioneer for her rugs, tapestries, and other textile works. Though she preferred working in textiles–she said she could find more brilliant colors in wool than in paint–I found it much easier to uncover images of her oil paintings. Sadly, major art institutions and aficionados did not (and many probably still don’t) consider her textile works equivalent to her oil paintings. I disagree! Just look at these incredible pieces!

embroidered handbag by Marguerite Zorach

{ Handbag, wool embroidery on burlap or linen, Marguerite Zorach }

The Circus, embroidery by Marguerite Zorach

{ The Circus, embroidery on wool or linen, 1929, Marguerite Zorach }

detail of embroidered panel by Marguerite Zorach

 { detail of embroidered panel, polychrome wool on linen, 1925-28, Marguerite Zorach }

Maine Islands, embroidery by Marguerite Zorach

{ Maine Islands, needlework and pencil on canvas, 1919, Marguerite Zorach }

batik scarf by Marguerite Zorach

{ batik scarf, wax-resist dye on plain-weave silk, 1918, Marguerite Zorach }

embroidered rug by Marguerite Zorach

{ The Snake and Bird, wool on linen, 1937, Marguerite Zorach }

These next two pieces I found in an a New York Times article about rugs–they were made a little before Zorach’s time by unknown or anonymous artists. Beautiful and odd…

hooked rug

M.E.H.N., hooked rug, 1868, artist unknown }

applique table cover

A table cover, made of wool embroidery and cotton applique on wool, 1870, artist unknown }

Now let’s look a few contemporary artists working in textiles for even more fiber arts inspiration! Below are some of my favorite pieces I’ve found recently.

embroidery by Tracey Emin

{ Soft Blue, embroidered calico, 2012, by Tracey Emin }

embroidery by Joetta Maue

{ Asleep on the Couch, hand embroidered, painted, and appliquéd re-appropriated linen, 2012, Joetta Maue }

embroidery by Arimoto Yumiko

{ detail of embroidered bag by Arimoto Yumiko, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery by Stephen Sollins

{ Elegy (…and glad to be home…), embroidery, 2004, Stephen Sollins, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery by Ana Teresa Barboza

bordado y tela, embroidery, 2010, Ana Teresa Barboza }

cross stitch by Dina Weiss

Bowery, summer trash, needlepoint, 2010-2011, Dina Weiss }

embroidery by Jenny Hart

This Work Never Ends, hand embroidery on salvaged cotton, 2002, Jenny Hart }

embroidered linen by Joetta Maue

{ She Danced …hand embroidered, appliquéd, cut, and stained re-appropriated linen, 2011, Joetta Maue }

embroidered face by Stacey Page

{ Rachel, Stacey Page, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidered portrait by Daniel Kornrumpf

Line of Sight (detail), hand embroidered on linen, 2012, Daniel Kornrumpf }

embroidered portrait by Stacey Page

{ Henry, Stacey Page, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery on satin by Jenny Hart

Luck – 1972hand embroidery, sequins and appliqué on satin, 2003, Jenny Hart }

5 thoughts on “With Ink or Thread

  1. Hey! I just found your blog through my friend Ann Flowers (

    Love it! I esp. love this post! I work a lot with prints on fabric and then embroidery on top/quilting them together. I also do giant, abstracted crochet pieces of doppler radar storm project maps, oil spill maps, smoke clouds, etc. –So this post was great inspiration for me!

    Since you’re interested, you might also want to check out my friend from New Orleans Gina Phillips’ embroidery work:

    It’s pretty intense!

    • Hi, Hannah! Thanks so much for stopping by–I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I checked out your work and Gina’s. Wow! So great. I’m just so amazed when artists create pictures and such beautiful imagery with fabric and thread. Love!

    • Hi Veronica, thanks so much for reading! I just checked out your site — very cool work you have there. I especially loved the images on reclaimed doilies 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *