search /// embroidery

“the best work comes from experimenting”

Um, that’s embroidery. Yep. I am beyond thrilled to have Trinidadian – now Florida based – artist Nneka Jones on the podcast today. She finished her BFA less than a year ago, and her work has already graced the cover of TIME Magazine. Seriously. You can listen right up there under “Yellow Light”, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First, let’s take a closer look at that stunning piece above, along with more of her work that focus on abuse and the sex trafficking of women and girls:

Aren’t those insane?! Can you believe she just started working with embroidery in 2018?! Speaking of which, here are Nneka’s very first few stitches:

I mean, seriously. She is a genius! Her first attempt?! With a pack of floss from Walmart?!

Well, that experiment worked out really well. Would you like to see the other experiment? Bring on the CONDOMS!

The story behind her use of condoms is pretty awesome… hilarious and weird, but Nneka nailed it!

Soooo, when I graduated from art school, I don’t remember TIME Magazine asking me to create a piece for their cover. Maybe I was out when they called? Look at this stunner:

As I said during the episode, I WAS SO PROUD OF HER! What an accomplishment… and there are so many more fabulous moments ahead of this young woman. Speaking which, here’s something for her to be proud of too… the time-lapsed video of  Nneka painting George Floyd:


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So powerful. Using her paintbrush and her breath to “make sure the voices of those who are no longer with us are heard.”

Next, these are the zipper pieces we mentioned. The pink zipper is finished (+ a WIP shot), the pink / gold zipper is the painting Nneka said was painting highlights onto for HOURS:

See? That’s why I had to ask if it was a real zipper! So, so good.

And finally, the extra little bit that I recorded after we’d said “goodbye”. Dear Universe, if you’re listening, Nneka and I would like to make this collaboration happen:

Right!? Amanda Gorman reciting poetry while Nneka stitches & paints. I’m picturing a live event, beautifully filmed and set to music. How amazing would that be?! Okay, it’s out there now… let’s make it happen! Thank you so much to Nneka for coming on the podcast. I cannot wait to see where her career leads. And, as always, thanks so much to YOU for listening. Next week will be the 200th episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR, see you then! ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Nneka on Instagram, aka @artyouhungry
  2. University of Tampa’s Art + Design Department
  3. Time Magazine
  4. Save the Children
  5. Amanda Gorman, Poet


vanessa barragão

Oh my word, watch that video! Sigh. Well, she’s done it again. This dreamy piece is the most recent work by Portuguese textile artist Vanessa Barragão. It took over a year to complete, and a few trips around Portugal to gather all of the recycled materials* required, but it’s finished. I’ve written about Vanessa’s tapestries and installations before, but this is her first “rug tapestry”… and it’s stunning. The palette, the scale, and… you can sit on it {that’s much harder to do with wall tapestries}. Oh, and did you notice that little * up there? Here’s what it’s referring to:

*The process, techniques and materials used are a very important point in the studio as they are the main foundation of this project. The creation process is slow and it requires passion and dedication … The techniques are based on ancestral textile practices like latch hook, crochet, felt, weaving, embroidery and macrame. All the materials used come from wastes, leftovers and deadstocks of Portuguese factories. All the yarns are submitted to a cleaning and selection process before being used.

Fabulous! Happy Monday.

renee nixon

Found images ‘n embroidery… one of my most favorite combinations! Also one of my favorite things… work that focuses on empowering women. This is an ongoing series by Seattle based artist Renee Nixon titled “Recombombulated”. Here are her words about this project, and how you can purchase a piece:

“These ladies are, quite literally, my attempt to work through harm done to myself (and so many others) by callous, entitled, powerful men. They are also a direct representation of the work we have done, and continue to do, to stitch our lives and ourselves back together. There is no going back, but perhaps there is a new kind of beauty in the strength to move forward.”

So powerful. Now, if you’re thinking you’d like to buy one…  “I’ve had offers to buy some of my ladies, but it felt a bit like a betrayal to sell something so intrinsically tied to myself and my experience. Instead, I’ve decided to gift them in exchange for a donation to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, or something similar in your local area if you don’t live in Seattle. There’s no minimum donation, but I do hope that you’ll give (very) generously. Just tell me you donated today (or any future day), and I will send you a lady. Requests for specific ladies will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis.” Amazing.

“hidden mothers”

Today is a two for one episode … sort of. New York based artist Petah Coyne popped in for the first fifteen minutes to so we could tell you about IN TANDEM (yay!), and then I did a full interview with Philadelphia based artist Sarah Detweiler aka @sd_artifacts. Note: Sarah and I discovered that we are both OVER-SHARERS, so brace yourself. We covered everything from 9/11 and miscarriages, to mothers draped in tablecloths,  and whether or not we’ve skinny-dipped. Spoiler alert: we both have. You can listen right up there under “Hidden (Earth) Mother”, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and or Spotify.

First up, here are the images from my 2017 post about Sarah:

See? Already so dreamy and really starting to come together… and then, the HIDDEN MOTHER series! ps. the first painting/embroidery piece below is the first one Sarah ever did. It is titled, “Hidden (Grieving) Mother”:


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Ooooh, that glowing embroidered rainbow! Speaking of rainbows… how on earth did we not speak of rainbows!? Luckily I was able to do a little post-podcast research. This is the book, “The Rainbow Way”, that Sarah found when she threw herself down the “rainbow as archetype” rabbit hole, and the passages that brought everything together for her:

Creative Rainbow Mother. Seriously, how perfect is that?!

Next up, the fabulous piece that Sarah collaborated on with Kelly Kozma as part of their group show {that also included Han Cao aka @hanwriting} last July at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Here is Sarah’s painting, and the tapestry by Kelly that inspired it:

Ah, I love it! Amazing female artists working together to create even more amazing things!

Okay, there’s no way I could NOT include these super weird photographs in this post. Here are a few original, very Victorian, and totally bizarre ‘hidden mother’ portraits:

I mean, WHAT? Hilarious and creepy, and totally inspiring … in a super weird way.

And finally, here’s what I was looking at while we recorded:

Ah, so cute… and then she started doing the ‘pee pee dance’ in her chair {don’t worry, she made it in time!}. Thank you so much to Sarah for over-sharing with me, thanks to Petah for popping in at the beginning to share our ideas, and thanks to you for listening! ps. If you want to know more about “IN TANDEM” check out THIS POST on my site. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Sarah on Instagram
  2. Kelly Kozma, Artist
  3. Seth Clark, Artist {his AFYE episode}
  4. Tara Centybear aka centybearstudios, Artist
  5. Paradigm Gallery, Philadelphia
  6. Lucy H. Pearce, Author
  7. “In Tandem” Guide /  #intandemart2021
  8. Petah Coyne, my pARTner! {her AFYE episode}



You might know her as @mrsciccoricco on Instagram… that’s how I knew her for years before we finally met in person! My guest today is California based, Dutch artist Natalie Ciccoricco. Obviously we’re going to talk about her insanely beautiful/poetic “Nesting” series {born during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic}, but we’ll also cover important topics like day jobs, motherhood, qualities that make for a perfect stick, and the reasons why she loves David Lynch. Oh, and at one point she ended up interviewing me about my latest book, but I quickly got things focused back on Natalie! You can listen right up there under “Nesting No.64”, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

First up, a few images I posted of Natalie’s “Nesting” pieces, fairly early on in the series:

I mean, COME ON! I love them all so much. And can’t you picture little Lou finding sticks for his mama on their daily walks? So crazy cute. This is just a fraction of the pieces in the series at this point. Personally, I think Natalie has struck creative gold. Speaking of striking gold, did we discuss the circular paper she sourced?

Yeah. ROUND RAG. Ah-mazing! {I can’t remember if we talked about this, but had to include a few images. Clearly.}

Next up, the really big commission Natalie just completed earlier this fall:

Chunky cross-stitch + found drift wood = LOVE.

Moving along to this dreamy series… ‘Color Holes’. This is what Natalie was working on before COVID hit:

Beautiful… the work, and Natalie standing in front of this series at Rasmussen Gallery in California.

Now, I was wracking my brain before we chatted because I could not picture the work she did before the color holes! Ahhh, the mixed media fairies, of course:

So lovely. That shot in the middle is from “Plus One”, a show Natalie invited me to be part of. Each artist from The Main Gallery chose their “plus one” from outside of the gallery to show with, and Natalie picked me! So there we are, up on the wall together in the summer of 2016. Ah yes, simpler times.

Now, I asked Natalie to send a photo of her embroidery thread, because I wanted to see if she really is organized. She is. I, however, have a slightly different storage system for my thread collection:

Hm. Well at least my collage cutouts are organized… really! THEY ARE!

And finally, a little touch o’ Halloween to end the episode. Sadly, Natalie does not have a picture of herself as a singing banana, so instead please enjoy these photos of my first ‘trick or treating’ experience:

A 2 year old bride? Okay. The ‘after’ picture is actually my favorite … the sorting is always the best part! Thanks so much to Natalie for coming on the podcast, and huge thanks to you for listening. Have a safe and happy weekend, and I’ll meet you back here next Saturday for a brand new episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR.

Other Links:

  1. Natalie on Instagram
  2. Natalie’s Shop
  3. #30DayArtQuarantine {that has become a never-ending art quarantine}
  4. Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch {the book Natalie loves}


faye hall

Tiny sculptures… that you can wear! Oh my word, this is the work of UK based artist Faye Hall, and yes, it’s jewelry. Here is Faye’s description of her process and her pieces:

Originally trained in textiles, and with over thirteen years’ experience designing highly tactile fabrics for fashion and interiors, I now apply my perpetual curiosity for surface and materials to create bold pieces of art jewellery which marry my textiles practice and silversmithing. Influenced by my collage work, I am interested in finding beautiful solutions to combine materials of different weights and origins through embellishment and placement. I am very curious about the use of embroidery as both a decorative and construction tool within my work and I like to challenge that fine line.
Every piece of jewellery is handcrafted in my workshop and created in a very intuitive way; I like to be playful with my material choices and to juxtapose elements that you may not typically put together, such as linoleum and silk, or formica and gold. Working with found colours along the way only adds to the challenge of combining components that are inherently different in weight, structure and surface into an intriguing object which is tactile and harmonious.

Tactile – check … Harmonious – CHECK! Faye’s work can be found in her online shop. Happy Monday.

suchitra mattai

Gasp! What are we looking at here? Well, for one, VINTAGE SARIS woven together to create stunning sculptural textile pieces… not to mention the neon lighting and hair rollers in that “rainbow”. See, the *gasp* was very necessary. This is the work of Guyana born, Denver based artist Suchitra Mattai, and I could not love it more! Here is part of her artist statement:

“I am interested in giving voice to people whose voices were historically quieted. Using both my own family’s ocean migrations and research on the period of colonial indentured labor during the 19th Century, I seek to expand our sense of “history.” Re-writing this colonial history contributes to contemporary dialogue by making visible the struggles and perseverance of those who lived it. I often focus on women and employ practices and materials associated with the domestic sphere such as embroidery, weaving, etc. I re-imagine vintage and found materials that have a rich history as a way of creating dialogue with the original makers and the time periods in which they were cherished.”

So beautiful. ps. Suchitra’s latest solo show, at K Contemporary in Denver, just came down in mid August. Reach out to them re: her available work.

max colby

Apples and tassels and whales, oh my! These glorious pieces are the work of American artist Max Colby, and are all part of their “Elegies” series… and yes, every single one makes me want to MAKE something right this very second. There is so much to look at in each and every piece! Here is part of Max’s artist statement to give you a peek into why they do what they do:

“Through lush, detailed work in embroidery and textiles, Max Colby reframes traditional notions of domesticity, power, and gender through a queer and non-binary lens. Embellished with beads, sequins and other adornments, they rigorously explore identity through material histories. Touching on ceremonial and art historical iconography, the artist reclaims, transforms, and constructs objects which subvert the aesthetics of violent, patriarchal systems.”

Gorgeous! Also, you have to see the scale… in studio, and with Max at a show earlier this year:

Gah! So. Big! Happy Monday.

nneka jones


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Gasp! This is the absolutely gorgeous work of Florida based, Trinbagonian artist Nneka Jones… an artist who “paints without paint”. Yep, this is all embroidery thread. Insane. Also insane? Nneka just graduated from the University of Tampa’s Art + Design Department about two weeks ago. What!? That’s right, you’re looking at several of the pieces from her final show. Not only are they striking and beautifully executed, her work also focuses on a huge subject… the sexual abuse and sex trafficking of women and girls. Here are Nneka’s words refers to the series the first two images above are from:

“This hand embroidered series highlights women and girls of different ages. This series gives power back to these victims, emphasizing the importance of women and girls having control over their bodies. The side profile and focal point of the eye for each target, reassures the viewer that each figure is demanding respect.

This contrasts with my previous series where the target symbolism is stamped on / around the front facing images of young girls. [bottom two images in this post]

With a traffic light being such one of the most important sources of control and authority, I thought I would use this as inspiration for the color symbolism in this series. The red border on each circular canvases puts these victims at the same level of significance regardless of their age and is a call of action to STOP sexual abuse and sex trafficking of women and girls.”

So powerful. Seriously, I cannot wait to see what’s ahead for this talented young woman. Contact Nneka via email to purchase her work… you might want to hurry:

caroline monnet

Styrofoam, insulation, plexiglass, concrete, foam, wood … and that final piece? It’s is embroidery on Tyvek {a synthetic material used to wrap houses during construction}. What?! Yes. This is the very powerful work of Montreal based, Algonquin-French artist Caroline Monnet. Her show, titled “R-Value”, is currently showing at Division Gallery in Montreal. Here is the exhibition description:

“For years, the housing situation in Indigenous communities has remained grievously unchanged. In remote regions with harsh winter conditions, construction materials can be scarce and expensive. Construction financing is cannibalized for repair and upkeep, while residents and local councils are excluded from decision-making. The result is generic housing, unattuned to its environment and bearing no resemblance to traditional dwellings. Caroline Monnet’s recent work grapples with colonialism’s impact, updating outdated systems with Indigenous methodologies. Combining contemporary building materials and patterns transmitted across generations, Monnet creates hybrid objects. Resembling city maps and bar codes as much as they do traditional weaving and beading, the patterns she prints on, weaves into, or cuts from insulation offers a glimpse back and a path forward.

Meticulous, beautiful, powerful. This work will be at Division until July 1, 2020.