There’s something undeniably moving about Michelle Kingdom’s miniature embroidered scenes, populated by miniature embroidered people. Literary snippets, memories, personal mythologies, and art historical references inform her imagery. Fused together, these influences explore relationships, domesticity, and self-perception.
“Embroidery also comes with a lot of baggage,” remarked Kingdom in an interview with Textile Artist. “It has often been dismissed and overlooked; perceived as decorative, a school-girl craft, fussily old-fashioned, small. And that is precisely what attracted me to it.”
Having studied fine art, she began using thread as a sketching tool to pursue both of her greatest passions: embroidery and drawing. “It’s deceptively pretty, unapologetically female, traditional and naive,” says Kingdom, describing the qualities of embroidery. “My work tries to capture murky ideas brewing around in my head, and the evocative nature of figures in stitch better conveys those ideas than other mediums can.”
Using a thread as a sketching tool also allows her to simultaneously honor and undermine the tradition of needlework that came before her. “Embroidery became my own private refuge,” she explains. “The effects of embroidery seemed otherworldly and captured my imagination as the perfect way to explore secret thoughts.”
Take a closer look.