South African fiber artist Danielle Clough takes embroidery to the next level, creating eye-popping designs that are embroidered on anything from cloth to fences and even tennis rackets.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Clough completed her studies in art direction and graphic design at The Red and Yellow School before embarking on a career in visual art, digital design, and what she calls “thing-making.”
After working in photography, graphic design, and VJing, she turned her hobby of embroidery into a full-time occupation. Her clients include giants like Gucci, Adobe, the United Nations, Nike, and even Drew Barrymore; with her work featured in publications like the New York Times and the Evening Standard, as well various exhibitions across the country.
“Most of my pieces vary, but for my ideal piece, I start by taking a photograph of the subject, and then I edit the image —for me, contrast is really important, as are the colors— and then I usually work from a black-and-white reference,” she explains her creative process in an interview with Rebel Girls Boundless. “I trace the line work onto whatever surface I’m embroidering on, and then I start ‘coloring it in’ with thread. I just think of it as, you know, tracing and coloring in. Which is like a child’s dream.”
“I also love the idea of just being a crafter,” she adds. “It’s like being an artisan—being a baker or being a sign painter. There’s so much freedom in being able to make something without there having to be more significance, without the critique. I think we often say, ‘I want to be seen as an artist,’ but why are we so hard on the fact that something is a craft when we can be badass crafters?”
Take a look at some of her badass creations: