Favourite artists of 2021

Discovered any new artists in recently? These are my favourites from 2021. Follow the links to see more of their work – enjoy!

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Tina Berning

Highly saturated, modern portraiture. Tina’s spectral subjects are rendered in intense, richly pigmented colours. Works communicate a narrative, photographic quality as figures stare directly into camera. Prints and originals are available to buy online here.

Molley May

Low-key visual poetry. Molley’s art shifts between charcoal, ink, and oil pastel. Subject matter includes the artist’s clothes and personal effects, plants, the washing up, and portraits of strangers – a quiet tour de force in making shapes out of lines. View Molley’s shop here.

Rambling Sketcher

Tiny watercolour tributes to New York, New York. Katie specialises in skylines, bridges, and sunsets, capturing perfectly the layered infrastructure of a historic city. Original paintings can be found on Etsy. Head over to Society6 for a huge range of affordable prints.

Evie May Adams

Despite shifting between 2D work and ceramics, Evie’s pieces are instantly recognisable for their distinctive style and recurrant motifs of ribbons, chains, and stars. Ceramics are listed in small batches with prior notice given on Instagram. Prints, paintings, pins and more can be found here.

Claire Fletcher

Claire is an accomplished watercolourist whose work effortlessly relates all the charm, sensitivity, and imagination of the most celebrated children’s illustrators. Prints and original paintings are available through the Made in Hastings online shop.

Foraged Fibres

Suzie uses traditional basket-making techniques to create these tiny, (and presumably very fiddly!) woven vessels. Her work is an artful, sensitive meditation on a craft that was once absolutely critical to everyday life and commerce. Check out her website here.

Melodie Stacey

Melodie’s work focuses largely on portraits of female figures, curious landscapes, and scenes reminiscent of folk and fairytales. Her landscapes in particular are both strange and familiar, sitting somewhere between the imagined and the real. See more of Melodie’s work here.

Mirtle Makes

3D illustration. Mirtle appeared in my 2020 article 10 Contemporary Embroidery Artists – I had to feature her again! Mirtle’s tiny, sensitive companions are made in small, carefully curated batches. Follow on Instagram for news about shop updates – works sell out fast!

Luiza Holub

Luiza is another familiar face – I featured her Christmas cards in one of my 2020 holiday gift guides. Her prints are perfectly executed – masterfully composed whilst also conveying all the quirks and foibles of the printing process. Visit her shop here.

Clover Robin

Clover’s collages, or ‘snips’ are created by colouring, cutting, and layering tiny pieces of paper. Works are jaunty, detailed, and highly illustrative. A selection of eco-friendly cards and prints are available here. Originals sell in seconds, so make sure you keep an eye on shop updates!

Kasasagi Design

Delicate paper sculptures inspired by scientific illustrations and museum displays. Kate’s life-like pieces are made using a variety of techniques including carving, wire-work, and embroidery. Visit Kate’s shop here; selected works are also available at Made by Hand Online.

Andrew Graves

Andrew’s painting have a taxonomy of their own, allusively describing anything from landscape and botanical forms to soft furnishings and still lifes. The shapes and colours are always insistently familiar, made strange only by abstraction. www.andrewjgraves.com

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10 Contemporary Embroidery Artists

Contemporary embroiderers make use of an ever-expanding array of influences, materials, and techniques. From thread-painting to machine embroidery, each of the artists below has their own distinct sense of style and design. Follow the embedded links to find out more!

Chloe Giordano

Chloe’s needlework is astoundingly detailed. Woodland fauna—deer, rabbits, badgers, mice—are her most common fare. These naturally shy creatures are stitched on hand-dyed fabric and often delicately encircled by embroidered foliage. See Chloe in action here.

Megan Ivy Griffiths

Combining a soft muted palette with an exceptionally strong sense of design, Megan creates whimsical figures embroidered with oak leaves, radishes, and toadstools. An illustrator by trade, she uses watercolour to delicately dye her figures’ folk-inspired clothing.

Eira Teufel

Eira’s creative process is beautifully documented on instagram. Her painstakingly-sequinned fish are a signature crowd-pleaser. Detailed micro embroideries (thistles, ferns, skulls) are turned into dainty, victoriana-esque pendants and brooches.

Sheena Liam / Times New Romance

Quiet, everyday moments captured with intuitive simplicity. Sheena’s pared-down style perfectly conveys a sort of neutral quotidian aloneness as figures eat, read, and dress. Collectively, works feel like a series of candid photographs – affecting in locked-down times.

Nadezhda Kulikova

Nadezhda‘s unusual pointillistic technique lends her work an almost tapestry-like quality. Her small botanical pieces are particularly painterly: discrete, expertly-placed stitches blend seamlessly to form beautifully observed renditions of spring bulbs.

Cathy Cullis

Dense stitching and fluid, overlapping forms are skilfully marshalled into an undeniably charismatic style. Line and blank space combine to reveal Tudor ladies, angels, and foliage in these small, frameable pieces. Cathy also creates mixed media collages.

Emma Mierop (Skippy Cotton)

Quirky machine embroidery inspired by vintage materials and motifs. Visit Emma’s Shop to check out a unique assortment of embroidered dolls, lavender bags, and vintage decorations. The inspired ‘fun-fair meets children’s storybook’ vibe runs throughout.

Lyndsey McDougall

Delicately expressive works made using natural fibres and dyes. Pieces have names like Racálach (‘cast-up seaweed’), Bláthanna Fáine (‘wild flowers’), and Sliabh (‘mountain’) – sensitive, tonally muted hymns to the landscape, wildlife, and folklore of Ireland.

Mirtle Makes

Mirtle has developed a unique identity for her art, celebrating small pleasures, and cultivating a sort of quirky, joyful minimalism. Her colourful little pocket people brim with quiet, matter-of-fact charm – talismans for introverts everywhere.

Becca Nicolaides

Synthesising the freedom and energy of pen and ink with the compact deliberateness of stitch, Becca’s fluent use of line and shape is deployed to create a series of beautifully spare botanical ‘drawings’. A case in which less is absolutely, emphatically more.

Images used with the artists’ permission.

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Coming soon: ceramics, printmakers part 2, and places to shop small this Christmas!

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