Los Angeles-based embroidery artist Michelle Kingdom  expresses unspoken emotions in scenes composed of women surrounded by plants or animals. Kingdom often depicts a solo protagonist, or multiple characters engaging in ritualistic activities. Her imaginative scenarios often blur the role of nature as part of the story, or simply use it as a decorative element.

The art of embroidery is no longer an art practiced only by ‘old ladies’. More and more artists embrace embroidery as a technique for telling their stories. One of those artists is Los Angeles based, Michelle Kingdom who describes her embroideries as sketches… only using thread instead of pencil.

Her work is deep and symbolic, exploring psychological landscapes and things no one talks about. When The Huffington Post asked Michelle why she’s chosen thread as a medium whilst studying fine art in college she responded: “I began what was essentially drawing with thread as a refuge away from all that, stitching purely for self-expression and exploration. There was something beautifully fragile, odd and otherworldly about the medium. Figurative embroidery seemed tailor made for expressing secret thoughts.”

Combining memories and imagination with literature, art history and mythology Michelle creates haunting scenes that make you wonder. Her pieces are quite small and by layering the thread, they turn from illustrations into three-dimensional pieces. The melancholy and mystery is enhanced by the small physique of the works, it’s like leaning into someone whispering a secret in your ear. Michelle’s secrets are certainly ones to remember, pieces that will give you a whole new way of looking at the art of embroidery.

Kingdom uses long stitches of thread in layered tonal colors to create texture and volume. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website: “I create tiny worlds in thread to capture elusive yet persistent inner voices. Literary snippets, memories, personal mythologies, and art historical references inform the imagery; fused together, these influences explore relationships, domesticity and self-perception.”

Kingdom has a solo show ‘Dearer than Truth’ at Foley Gallery in New York, on view through May 13th. You can see more of her work on Instagram.


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